Software developers want total compensation: What does that mean and how do you get it?
Greg Gunn, co-founder and CEO of Commit, on how the future of work is about building employee-centric employment.
We’re in the midst of one of the biggest shifts in the hiring market, where skilled talent is at a premium and old workplace norms are being challenged and reevaluated. Developers in particular are in a prime position to negotiate for their needs and help their organizations evolve and grow with a rapidly changing employment landscape.
Our new study of software developers from across Canada with Angus Reid Group revealed that, now more than ever, software developers are looking for total compensation.
What’s considered total compensation? Aside from a competitive base salary, engineers are looking for progressive, holistic benefits packages combined with supportive remote and flexible work policies that altogether prioritize their overall well-being while actively preventing burnout.
Advocating for better benefits
When it comes to workplace benefits, our advice is to be bold! There’s usually leeway for negotiation around benefits, most people are simply too shy to ask for what they really need.
Our report showed that learning and development stipends and fitness/health reimbursements are still among the most common and popular workplace benefits offered today.
But close in the running just behind them are things such as: Work from home or coworking space stipends, cell phone plan coverage and home internet plan coverage. Vacation days are holding steady at 2-4 weeks paid vacation per year.
Seems to us like there’s a lot of room for improvement and innovation in these areas. Here are some suggestions for developers on how to beef up your benefits package.
Your well-being outside of work should be a priority, not a perk. Apart from providing proper healthcare coverage, what else does the company do to support the overall quality of life of its employees? Is there wiggle room on their paid vacation policies? Do they have progressive family leave policies for new parents? Do they provide employee resource groups for folks from underrepresented groups? Do they offer additional mental health support or coverage beyond the usual? (Hint: a one-week-a-year mental health “holiday” may not be the enduring support you’re looking for.)
Ask about remote work policies and how employees are supported. Does the company allow you to expense equipment and tools that improve productivity while working remotely? Are there tools and systems for working asynchronously and coworking with your team?
Remote work or bust? How to navigate the workplace/workspace conversation
83% of developers we surveyed said they’re likely to seek out new opportunities if remote work was no longer offered by their workplace. What this proves is that the ability to work remotely isn’t some kind of occasional perk and it isn’t just a trend spurred on by the pandemic.
Developers are especially adept at flowing between two seemingly disparate states: deeply solitary autonomous work and collaborative group work and problem-solving.
While it might seem counterintuitive to hiring managers, remote work actually fuels engineering productivity because it allows developers to have more control over their work environment and greater flexibility in terms of how they work with their peers. Trying to micromanage developers’ interactions by forcing everyone into a communal office space is no longer a viable option for developers.
For developers who highly value working remotely, here are a few tips on how you can advocate for your remote work needs and assess whether your prospective hiring manager is willing to accommodate.
State your case for working remotely: The interview process is still very much the “getting to know each other” stage of things between you and your prospective employer. The more open your dialogue about needs and concerns, the better. If working remotely is important to you, state your case by sharing how working remotely can make you a more productive team member. Don’t forget to also reassure your prospective manager that you value teamwork and have strong enough communication skills to succeed.
Prepare examples to back up your case: At this point, most people have experience working remotely and are keenly aware of the challenges that it can present. Being successful at remote work can be considered an essential skill these days, so come to interviews prepared with examples of remote work success. You can highlight your strong communication skills or maybe you have a story of a time you led a team through a crisis completely asynchronously.
The future of work is about building employee-centric employment. This requires even more collaboration between employees and employers to make sure their organizations evolve and grow with a rapidly-shifting job market.
We hope this study will be a useful resource to senior engineers who are avidly looking for work that’s worthy of their skills and experience.