Lionell Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Neymar. What do the world’s highest-paid players have in common with computer scientists, such as Java developers? Even if IT professionals can’t boast annual salaries in the hundreds of millions, they’re still almost as coveted as top athletes.
According to the latest STEM Spring Report*, the STEM gap grew once again, increasing by 13.1% year-over-year with approximately 486,000 job openings in so-called STEM occupations. The advance of digitization in particular means that companies are desperately seeking software developers. As a result, there is a real war for talent on the labor market: companies are scrambling for IT specialists and are willing to pay good money for good specialists. The study by the F.A.Z. and the online portal Gehalt.de proves the trend: salaries in IT professions are rising continuously from year to year. And here we are again with our soccer comparison. If clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona or Real Madrid are willing and able to spend millions on stars, the smaller clubs can only dream of that. The situation is not much different for companies. Large corporations lure IT talent with high salaries and a prestigious name. How can small and medium-sized companies even keep up?
Our experience shows that, unlike in soccer, money and prestige are not always the decisive factors when choosing an employer. Meanwhile, developers prefer companies that give them the opportunity to work with the latest technologies and tools, focus on agility, and value work-life balance. While employees in large corporations often have to contend with rigid structures and long decision-making paths, startups and smaller companies can react more quickly to the latest trends and respond better to employees’ wishes and needs. The Stackoverflow developer survey from 2017 also confirms this development. After all, the three most important factors for IT professionals when evaluating a job are the following: professional development opportunities; programming languages, frameworks and technologies used; and the office from which work is done. This means that small companies with foosball tables and fruit baskets, which are often ridiculed by large corporations, can score points with developers after all.
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