Uncovering Insights Into The Java Developer Job-Hunting Market

5 minutes

I recently released a 6 question, multiple-choice survey to my Java Developer network to uncover some insights about the job-changing market for Java Developers in the UK. I was inspired by Stack Overflow’s annual software developer survey to explore my market in greater depth. In this article, we’ll be looking at current trends and comparing data across workplace and job-hunting experiences for Java Developers.


1. Current Workplace Experiences

‘Tech stack’ was rated most highly by Java Developers when asked about their favourite aspect of their current work. These results corroborate Stack Overflow's 2019 developer survey. ‘Opportunities for self-development’ were also valued more than ‘company culture and values’. Instead of internal recruiters marketing their offices as being ‘dog-friendly’ and ‘newly refurbed’ – what the market is actually telling us is that, as recruiters (both internal and agency), we should be proactively highlighting career-progression opportunities and aspects like training budgets.

Surprisingly, the graph makes for some interesting interpretations as no respondents brought up flexible/remote working options as one of the best aspects of their current work. Either not enough companies are currently introducing these options into work practice or, contrary to current market demand, other factors are still favoured. Realistically, are there any major benefits to working from home if the project/tech you’re working with daily is boring?

2. Challenges to Productivity

Three key answers account for approximately 75% of respondents' opinions when asked about their biggest challenges to productivity at work:

  1. Lack of career progression opportunities – this is one of the many reasons why the average Java job cycle lasts 18-24 months. It is typically easier to move as a Mid- or Senior Level developer via a company change.
  2. Distracting work environment – increased meetings and noisy environments.
  3. Being tasked with non-development work – a lot of the Java Developers I’m talking to now are looking elsewhere because their employer has been pushing them towards more hands-off responsibilities. Interestingly, 10% of respondents said that their teams are currently understaffed for the workload. The software development market is notoriously competitive and candidate short. With a record £5.5bn investment in the London tech scene so far in 2019, it’s no wonder most tech companies are looking to hire!

3. Most Important Factors in Decision Making

The survey shows that ‘opportunities for professional development’, ‘tech stack’ and ‘remuneration’ are the most influential factors in decision-making processes for Java Developers. This corroborates the data discussed for questions 1 and 2.

I was surprised to not see ‘company values and culture’ with a higher number of votes. A lot of Java Developers I have spoken with recently have highlighted the struggle to progress in bureaucratic environments where decision-making is out of their hands/too top-down. My own insights from conversations within this market would rank ‘tech stack’, ‘company values and culture’ and ‘remuneration’ as top factors steering job-decision making.

4. Approaches to Looking for Opportunities

There were few surprises here with 46% of respondents mentioning something LinkedIn related as a tool for finding a new opportunity. Whether this is ‘opening yourself to new opportunities’ or applying to the jobs posted on the social media platform, it’s no wonder that LinkedIn is becoming increasingly popular for developers to find jobs that match their specialism. It currently has 20 million jobs listed on its platform!

Arguably, 5 years ago this graph would have looked very different as the ‘job board’ option has drastically reduced but does remain present nonetheless with 22% of developers using them! I was expecting slightly more responses for the use of personal networks given the number of forums, slack communities and blogs in the programming space but understand that developers are most probably interested and curious about market insights on various projects and salary info which they would discuss in greater detail with recruiters. Reaching out to recruiters accounted for 12.2% of responses.

5. Working with Recruiters?

Good news for all recruiters reading this! Over 36% of responses highlight the value of working with recruiters. This is due to our direct contact with hiring managers and key members in the recruitment process to keep track of applications, prepare candidates for interviews and what questions to expect and provide relevant feedback which can help with the rest of their job searches. Approximately 1 in 4 Java respondents use recruiters as a tool to find out more about the job market and industry insights. From speaking to software developers and hiring managers daily - recruiters (in general) have beneficial knowledge about salary expectations, new projects/tech worth getting experience with and opportunities across various industries.

6. What about Specialist Recruiters?

An overwhelming 70% of Java Developers who took part in the survey said that they would work with a specialist recruiter. With the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) predicting that 56% of vacancies in the next 12 months will be filled by agencies, the role of the recruiter is pivotal. Insights around salary ranges, ‘up and coming’ technologies that are worth getting your hands on and specific information about career progression opportunities are just a few things that you won’t be able to get from a LinkedIn advert. Specialist recruiters (in any sector/industry!) speak to many candidates with similar profiles and can have invaluable knowledge on how you compare to others within your profession and importantly, which companies are looking for someone exactly like you. We know the interview processes too, have direct relationships with hiring managers, have case studies of candidates we have placed who have been promoted, negotiate salaries for you – and best of all, our entire service is free! Why wouldn’t you use a specialist recruiter?

Overall, for the first survey I have done on my Java market, the research across the Java Development conducted makes for some interesting talking points for both hiring managers and recruiters (internal and agency). Tech stacks and opportunities for career progression are pulling factors to new opportunities whilst distracting working environments are pushing people to new projects. Next time you’re interested in a new role, why not use a specialist recruiter to give you some insights? You could really be missing out if you don’t!