Software engineers on Hired received more than double the interview requests in 2021 than they did in 2020. This surprising statistic is a surefire indicator to employers that the hiring market is growing increasingly competitive.
To recruit and retain tech talent, companies are compelled to offer more attractive salaries and benefits and build globally distributed teams by expanding their hiring efforts beyond big tech hubs to include remote workers.
The 2022 State of Software Engineers report by Hired.com provides both actionable takeaways for employers keen to hire tech workers and sharp, data-driven insights to software engineers looking to advance their careers.
For this report, Hired analyzed data from over 366,000 interactions between software engineers and companies on their platform. Additionally, they surveyed over 2,000 software engineering candidates on the Hired marketplace. They gleaned their insights by examining interview requests and salary data from January 2020 to December 2021.
Here are some of the key findings from the report:
- The fastest growing skill was Golang, with interview requests for ‘Go-skilled’ software engineers being 1.8x more than the marketplace average.
The highest demand was for full-stack software engineers since they offer companies the opportunity to maximize efficiency.
- Security engineers commanded the highest average salary among all software engineers, given the greater incidence of cybersecurity attacks.
- With companies being open to remote software engineering roles, there has been a shift towards global hiring. Consequently, smaller cities have experienced higher salary growth beyond popular tech hubs.
- Software engineers seek supportive managers and colleagues, flexible work hours, and the opportunity to work on challenging and meaningful problems. Therefore, companies must prioritize company culture and incorporate flexible work hours to retain top talent.
- There has been a consistent shift toward non-traditional avenues of education for software engineers, such as boot camps and self-learning.
Top Software Engineering Skills
The top reasons for this preference for languages include the well-developed ecosystem (64%), personal familiarity (63%), and availability of learning resources (61%).
The data showed that engineering managers' in-demand skills were slightly different from the skills employers sought in individually contributing software engineers. The top skills sought for managers were Ruby on Rails, Scala, and AWS.
In fact, coding assessments were found to be less useful in the hiring process for engineering managers than for individual engineers, based on an informal LinkedIn poll conducted by Hired.
Their survey found that to succeed in a globally distributed work environment, engineers needed to develop soft skills, the three most important ones being the ability to work independently (3.79), strong communication skills (3.45), and time management (3.28), rated on a scale of 1-5.
Top Software Engineering Roles
Of all the interview requests on Hired, the demand was highest for full-stack engineers (33.4%) and backend engineers (33.2%), followed by frontend engineers (17.2%).
While this was overall matched on the supply side, more back-end engineers were available than full-stack ones. Demand and supply were the lowest for gaming engineers and computer vision engineers.
The highest paying (measured by average salary) sub roles, on the other hand, are security engineer ($165,505), search engineer ($160,392), and NLP engineer ($160,227), with security engineers enjoying the highest salary growth (+7.6%) among all software engineers compared to 2020.
Hired found that candidates looking to upskill or reskill to become security engineers should focus on these top three skills: Ruby, React, and Angularjs. AR/VR specialists also made the top 10 list of sub-roles, reflecting companies’ interest in dabbling in the metaverse.
Salary & Demand Trends by Market and Company Size
The highest software salaries are offered by the US, but Canada and the UK are catching up to stay competitive. Between 2020 and 2021, Canada showed a tremendous 9.2% growth in average salaries, followed by a 2.7% increase in the UK.
With companies increasingly hiring for remote roles post-pandemic, software engineers in all markets received more interview requests for remote roles than for local ones in 2021 compared to 2020. Candidates in San Diego, Denver, and Minneapolis saw significantly more remote interview requests than local (about two-thirds of all requests received).
However, London and Toronto led the way in demonstrating a stronger preference for local talent, based on 75-80% of local interview requests seen on Hired’s platform.
The survey noted the interesting trend of accelerated remote hiring by small companies in large tech hubs. Such companies showed a 15% jump in remote interview requests between 2020 and 2021, no doubt a move to hire top talent.
Given the Great Resignation, small companies, fueled by unprecedented funding and growth, showed the highest average salary growth - a 1.7% increase from 2020 - to remain competitive. This growth brought them on par with enterprises offering average annual salaries of $155k in 2021.
The 2022 State of Software Engineers report offers the following helpful tips for hiring companies as well as software engineering candidates.
Here are the best ways for employers to attract and retain talent:
- Prioritize Supportive Company Culture and Flexible Work
According to the surveyed engineers, the ideal work environment would have flexible working hours, few meetings, and great managers and co-workers.
- Optimize Your Remote Work Environment
The greatest benefits of a remote work environment are the flexible working hours, not having to go into an office, and reimbursements for home office equipment – so if you’re hiring remotely, ensure you provide these perks to employees. In addition, avoiding unnecessary virtual meetings and adopting tools to enable asynchronous remote work will go a long way toward helping your team thrive.
- Hire for Skills, Not Pedigree
Every year, an increasing number of software engineers develop their skills through non-traditional means such as boot camps and self-learning. As an employer, focus on identifying the right candidate by assessing skills through performance in test assignments instead of filtering by formal education qualifications.
According to a survey by Stack Overflow, around 25% of developers have less than a Bachelor’s degree. Ignoring this large subset of the workforce means hiring is going to be challenging and you will often miss out on the best candidates.
If you have struggled with testing technical skills on a large-scale level, look no further. Our 3,000+ experienced technical recruiters are ready to help you from the get-go. With 300k+ interviews under our belt, we have helped several leading organizations including Deloitte and Wipro close technical positions with quick turnaround times.
Additionally, hiring companies and software engineers must stay updated on current and future trends in the tech industry. According to Hired’s survey, future tech trends to keep an eye on include artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and cybersecurity.
The survey also found that 72.2% of the survey respondents were most attracted to a career in software engineering because of the opportunity for continuous learning and new challenges on the job. The report went on to catalog several excellent resources for learning new skills in software engineering:
- Tech communities and networking:Baddies in Tech and Diversability
- Workshops and upskilling:Blockchain Training Alliance and Educative
- Career services: Exponent and TopResume
- Bootcamps and coding schools:Makers andCode Your Future
These are just a few of the options listed by the report as resources for upskilling.
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