What Techies Want – how to attract (and retain) digital talent in 2021

    Digital Employee benefits Talent

All companies struggle with hiring the right minds from time to time. But the challenge is particularly hard for the tech industry, where demand is high and the availability of talent is low.

Speaking to techies is a large part of my job and one thing I’ve noticed recently is a shift in what new recruits are looking for in their employee benefits packages. Gone are the days of free snacks and entertainment in the office, as so many of us now work from home and may continue to do so. What people want from their workplaces nowadays is vastly different.

From conversations with candidates, and keeping an eye on the news, I’ve noticed that current concerns focus on the negative effects of lockdown on mental, physical, and financial health, and job seekers are looking for organisations that offer programs to support these issues.

In my opinion, companies that want to hire exceptional engineers and developers will have to start incorporating these changes and reflecting them in their job offers – otherwise attracting the right talent will only get harder and more expensive.

With this in mind, I’ve put together some research on the top benefits candidates are looking for in their next role, along with the numbers behind the ideas.

1. Financial Wellness

With three quarters of UK workers saying money worries impact them at work, it’s no wonder financial wellness tops the list of employee benefits.

As productivity is lost, the cost of financial stress to employers is huge: a 2017 study by FirstCare found that employee financial strain could cost UK employers £26 billion by 2030. Additionally, two in five bosses have seen employee’s financial issues affect their business negatively – an increase of 26% since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Taking proactive steps to implement an employee financial wellness program is more important than ever – whether people recognise it or not – as 87% of employees report that being in control of their finances is more important than earning as much as possible. Implementing initiatives such as retirement planning, financial education, and save-as-you-earn schemes can all add up to reduce financial stress for your staff. 

2. Well-being and Mental Health

Mental health has become another focus area for employers, as the issue is increasingly shown to be a major business risk. The Centre For Mental Health has calculated that mental health problems in the workplace cost UK businesses £34.9 billion a year.

Mental health issues are now the world’s leading cause of disability, and employees are increasingly experiencing burnout, putting more hours into their workday, and facing financial stressors that impact their daily lives. Global health services company Cigna found that two thirds of workers are ‘desperate’ for employers to find ways to help them cope with life’s challenges.

Potential hires are taking well-being support into careful consideration when searching for new roles. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for major mental health reforms in the workplace, so it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re offering sufficient support – both for the health of your employees and the benefit of your business in the current environment.

3. Flexible and Remote Working Benefits

Flexible and remote working is an incredibly popular topic at the moment, for obvious reasons. The big remote working experiment has become the big remote working norm, and it’s not going away any time soon. More and more companies are looking to continue this trend even after it’s safe to go back to the office.

There can be a cost associated with remote working, as many want their employers to pay for equipment such as laptops, phones, and printers. However, the benefits of offering location flexibility can far outweigh these costs: employees are more likely to stay with companies that offer remote working arrangements, and over fifty percent say they are less likely to take time off when working from home. Added to that, two thirds of employers report increased productivity in their remote staff.

In addition to helping your existing workforce, the offer of flexible working can also improve your company’s competitiveness when it comes to hiring future talent. Gen Y candidates and tech professionals are particularly attracted by remote working benefits, with many saying they’d be willing to take a 10% pay cut if they could work from home.

4. Telehealth

During the pandemic, many of us have kept our medical appointments virtually as telehealth is more readily available and reduces the health risks of attending clinics. The trend is taking off, with the Large Employers’ Health Care Survey indicating that more than half of employers are increasing their telehealth benefits.

The reasons for this are clear: online GP services could save UK businesses up to £1.5 billion by reducing the time employees spend travelling to appointments.

In addition to simplified healthcare access for your staff, the savings in cost and time are worthwhile business benefits that should encourage you to consider making telehealth a core part of your company’s employee package.

Looking at the ideas above, it’s clear that the world of digital work is shifting towards an employee-first focus, and the research clearly demonstrates the advantages in this shift for employers as well as workers. To attract and retain top tech talent, you’ll need to prioritise benefits that concentrate on mental and financial wellness, health technology, and work-life balance.

By incorporating these trends into the working lives of new and current employees, you can kickstart employee engagement and make your dispersed teams feel nurtured, fulfilled, and valued – helping them to give their best in these trying times. In return, you can expect to see productivity and performance remain constant throughout the changing work landscape and even start to soar. And that’s a benefit to us all.

Harrison Vincent-Hayden is Native Gravity’s Lead Tech Consultant. With ten years’ experience in sales and recruitment, he has a keen sense of the digital landscape and takes a people-first approach in his work. Harrison has built a strong network of top digital talent and recruiters, and he specialises in matching exceptional employees with leading-edge tech companies.

For a confidential chat with Harrison about your digital and tech recruiting needs, call directly on 020 3800 0488 or email harrison@nativegravity.co.uk.