Why Do So Many SMEs Find It Difficult To Retain Junior Level Developers?

Why Do So Many SMEs Find It Difficult To Retain Junior Level Developers?

Why Do So Many SMEs Find It Difficult To Retain Junior Level Developers?

Small and medium enterprises in the digital tech sector recruit junior talent using a range of sources and initiatives, but one of the driving forces in finding junior level developers is social media. This comes as no surprise with the increasing numbers of social and professional networks available to them. Another very successful method of attracting young workers with basic qualifications is by word of mouth or personal recommendation. It’s not uncommon for new employees to talk, text or tweet about a new job and its many advantages, which in turn encourages their friends or acquaintances with similar professional interests to look at the company. However, with the majority of SMEs recruiting individuals from the local area, the situation can just as easily be reversed, as entry-level candidates set their sights on other competitors in the region.

Junior level developers still high in demand

A recent survey carried out by the Auxin Partnership found that over half of the digital enterprises within the Newcastle and Gateshead region currently recruit junior level roles. These figures show that candidates with basic skills are almost as high in demand as those with more experience (52% employing trainee or basic professionals compared to 62% employing intermediate and leadership roles). It goes without saying that skills are vital in driving the success of a company, but SME owners recognize that skills don’t necessarily need to come with vast amounts of experience. By nurturing and encouraging workers with basic or no qualifications, companies could cleverly be filling their more advanced roles ahead of time. At least, that is what they are hoping for so long as the junior level staff stay long enough.

SMEs find junior staff difficult to retain

The figures above may provide an explanation in themselves for why junior level developers are so difficult to retain. No sooner are trainees welcomed onto teams, than they are gaining valuable experience and developing into prime candidates for those intermediate positions that are in even higher demand. As such, a steady stream of individuals with basic experience is required by technological companies to ensure that those entry-level roles remain occupied. This is why having and maintaining affiliations with universities and colleges, as well as offering internships, is a step towards resolving a shortage of junior level developers.

The size of businesses has been proven to impact how hard or easy they find it to retain junior level staff. For instance, companies with a turnover of less than £250k find retaining these members of staff to be a slight issue, with those turning over between £250k and £1m find it even more difficult. For companies with significantly higher turnover, the problem does not seem to be limited to basic level positions. These figures indicate that businesses with less turnover are better at retaining staff – smaller enterprises are more attractive to some employees, providing a more challenging workload and better job satisfaction. Some of the more financially successful brands may struggle to retain staff across all levels because of
they, on the contrary, have far more staff, less stimulating work and may lack the personal approach.

Why do so many junior developers jump ship?

Working, along with the perks (and downsides) that come with the job, are new to many trainees or entry-level candidates. Therefore, employees such as developers in junior positions may find themselves more easily influenced by their peers or by company owners approaching them. Companies turning over less than £1m often report seeing first-hand many entry-level staff starting jobs, only to leave a short while later. The principal reasons for such a high turnover of junior level employees appeared to be a) not fitting into the job or environment, b) following friends working at competitors, and c) moving to larger companies (often further afield) in order to get paid a better salary.


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