Research byte relevant to .NET or C# professionals or the .NET market.

Why do .NET Engineers look for new opportunities?

Published by Profile picture of Jordan Barker from Talent Point. Jordan Barker on the 23rd March, 2019

Keen to improve retention in your .NET engineering team? Assume that earnings are the key motivation?

On average, .NET professionals stay in their jobs for just over a year. In the past year alone, 57.7% of London’s .NET talent pool switched roles.

Retention, therefore, is a far greater challenge than attraction.

To provide insight into the motivation behind these moves, we surveyed 1803 .NET engineers who have sought work in London in the past 6 months, as to which single factor most impacted their decision to move on.

This is what they said:

26% = I wanted to escape legacy tech and/or support:

For many .NET Developers, careers are a constant battle to avoid skill sets becoming redundant. A spell in a business that doesn’t allow them to work with current technology can make finding future work very challenging.

“I couldn’t see any vision for how our
technical debt would stop restricting my work”
“I’ve been told the current stack
won’t change
for at least another year”

23% = No possibility of promotion:

These applicants felt they lacked an opportunity to progress in seniority. This was typically due to an engineering team perceived as static with all senior roles currently occupied, a flat structure, or a manager that directly rebutted requests for advancement. Team structure, size and lack of formal performance reviews were often direct causes.

“There were no opportunities
for advancement to leadership”
“Other team members were
promoted before me”

18% = Salary:

Interestingly, salary reviews appear not to be either regular or a formal part of an individual’s performance review in most teams. This can result in salaries becoming out of date as an individual’s ability and seniority develops, particularly in flat-structured teams.

“I’ve not had a pay-rise
in two years”
“I don’t know how salary
increases work here”

16% = No new projects/initiatives:

It’s not always within the capacity of the business to grant new projects or budgets to tech when no obvious benefits will be realised by redeveloping or build new systems. Given how fast new technology emerges, the lack of opportunity to work with it will always have a marked impact on motivation.

“The migration to microservices
has been put on hold”
“The new product range we were scheduled
to build has been pushed back”

10% = The job wasn't what I was promised:

This realisation came anything from a few weeks to six months following start and appeared to be typically caused by multiple sources of information becoming confused or blurred in the minds of applicants who didn’t necessarily clarify their assumptions at interview.

“The promised migration to Cloud definitely
can’t happen for at least a year”
“The role required VB.NET support which
the recruiter promised I’d be exempt from”

7% = personal circumstances changed:

This isn’t typically within the control of an employer – moving house, right-to-work being lost, change in a partner’s circumstances.

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Key takeaways:

Use (minimum) twice-yearly Personal Development Planning meetings to encourage conversation.

Knowing which work to give to which individual is typically a bigger obstacle than actually having that work.

Create a smart team structure that distributes responsibility for support, new development and legacy based on career-level.

Graduates can learn on legacy and support, seniors will damage their career doing so. Design a work structure enabling retention via position-appropriate career growth.

Ensure everyone has a job description that matches their actual role.

Including a clear learning curve into their next one, and refer to it. This might sound self-evident but 80% of people we spoke to hadn’t looked at their job description since joining.

Implement a structured, non-flat progression structure.

Flat structures are great in theory – a team of peers – but the reality is they make progression unclear and require consistent, open conversation to be effective.

Know the market.

If you do not know typical career, salary and learning paths within the .NET employment community you’ll find it hard both to act as a trusted career-coach to team members keen to progress and to ensure salaries are actually competitive.

Encourage ideas and learning, stimulate external interaction.

An ideas survey for product or ways of working, organising meetups to attend/host and making a big deal of ideas that are implemented all stimulate discovery of challenges in teams where the business doesn’t naturally create them.

Provide absolute clarity and transparency.

Particularly about the specifics of each position before an engineer even joins your business. Don’t rely on an agency to put your message across or blame them when it isn’t. Create hiring collateral that factually lays out the current needs of the business, the resulting engineering pipeline, and potential future opportunities associated with every role.

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