How Employers can Tackle the Demand for Software Developer Talent

In the UK, there are currently over 60,000 vacancies for software developers and not enough talent to fill them. It’s estimated that Software Engineering accounts for over 10% of all jobs advertised in the UK, and that number is growing.

The heightened demand for Software talent was accelerated by the pandemic, as employers rapidly adapted or evolved their online delivery, but the problem is the supply of newer talent is a major issue having serious consequences on business.

In fact, 76% of firms noted that this lack of digital skills would hit their profitability.

Demand for Software Developers

We’ve written extensively about the Digital Skills gap – the lack of digital skills in both existing workers and new talent joining the workforce after education.

But even before the pandemic, the demand for Software talent was reaching a critical point – between 2011 and 2020 the number of Software Developers and Programmers almost doubled, rising from 224,000 to 408,000.

The pronounced demand for Software Developers is having a significant impact on employers of all sizes. As the number of available candidates with the right skills is significantly below demand, the impact is that the process to attract, hire, and retain these experienced Software Developers is costly, and often ineffective.

The story is similar in the Graduate entry marketplace.  With an average of 95% of software developer graduates employed shortly after graduating,  there is little excess talent which means employers are being forced to reconsider where they find their talent beyond traditional means.

Pipeline for the future

Many employers have deployed apprenticeship programmes to support their other hiring strategies, investing in the learning of a candidate, and offering them a springboard to launch a well-paid and exciting career. This investment is not ignored – the number of apprentices that stay on with their employer after completion is over 64%, making this an effective investment of time for both parties.

While apprenticeships are one of the government schemes intended to bridge the Digital Skills Gap, they aren’t the only option. To combat the demand for talent, employers need to consider all options that can form their talent acquisition strategy – including Skills Bootcamps.

Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, an initiative to train thousands of people across the country, to fill the most in-demand skills that employers struggle to hire for. Just IT are delivering Skills Bootcamps in Software Development, with learners based in and around London.

A Level 3 Skills Bootcamp in Software Development can provide a perfect foundation for our Level 4 Software Development apprenticeship – giving you a fast-track to high-level developer talent. This will allow you to overcome the significant competition for developer talent, while also recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates.

Hiring entry level developers

The most immediate solution would be to deploy Skills Bootcamps in Software Development to hire entry-level developers. These are engaged candidates who will have completed a rigorous 12-week programme covering; System Development lifecycle & Methodologies, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Database Design and Python.

With this broad foundation across multiple branches of development, candidates are able to hit the ground running and quickly deploy their skills to generate an immediate benefit in almost any organisation.

This is particularly valuable to larger organisations that need a renewable pipeline of developer talent – as candidates become more experienced and branch off into specialisms, a consistent source of entry-level candidates able to grow their confidence and support key projects is essential.

Developing your Team

Another option is to use the Levy or Skills Bootcamps to upskill your existing staff. This could mean team members who are looking to enhance their existing foundational skills in development, or those who work in other areas and are considering a shift in career. By upskilling your existing staff, you sidestep any potential challenges around social fit, and are investing in team members who know your organisation, are aligned with your values and have a proven record of work.

As well as giving the developers within your organisation an opportunity to develop mentoring and leadership skills, the link between investing in your staff’s learning and retention is well documented.

Will the problem go away in the short term? The simple answer is no, because:

  • The number of young people choosing IT related subjects at GCSE has dropped by 40% since 2015.
  • 76% of firms noted that a lack of digital skills would hit their profitability.
  • Over three in four UK executives claim that it’s difficult to recruit people with the right technical skills.
  • Add to this research from the Learning & Work Institute, which shows that 70% of young people expect employers to invest in teaching them digital skills on the job, but only half of the employers surveyed said they were able to provide that training.

For employers, the long-term strategy needs to be just that – long-term. Short-term success won’t mean much when your organisation is faced with further skills shortages a year or two down the line. By planning ahead and considering all the options available to you, and how each can be used in synergy with each other, you can reimagine your company’s approach to talent and build a renewable skills pipeline in Software Development.

Interested in Skills Bootcamps? Find out More.