Graduate developers: what they really want from employers

It’s more competitive than ever to hire great graduate developers. With a tiny talent pool for potential employers to fish from and a seemingly never-ending demand for IT specialists, developers can afford to be picky.

If you want best-in-class grad developers, it’s no longer enough to provide a decent salary, coffee in the office and a summer lunch – no matter how much free alcohol there is!

So what is it they actually want?

Luckily we have a couple of recent grads on hand to ask. Straight from the source:

Here are the top 5 things graduate developers are looking for when they start a new job


A flexible work-life balance

A real work-life balance

Despite what some startups would have you believe, a good work-life balance does not constitute taking a 10 minute break to beat your boss at table football. Neither does trying to eat a sandwich, answer an email and balance an extra-hot, double-froth, super-tall latte on your laptop as you run between lunchtime meetings.

Most developers are hard-working by nature, and will be happy to put in the extra hours when a project sprint is at a critical point. But abuse their dedication and they will either burn out or leave.

Although employee benefits packages vary between countries, offering potential recruits a decent holiday allowance and perks such as early finish Fridays in summer or the ability to take a sabbatical after three years may just be the icing on a candidate’s cake.


Flexible working 

Flexible working

Flexible working used to mean letting an employee work from home a few times a year when their boiler needed fixing or their bathroom flooded. In 2017, it actually means what it says on the tin: being flexible about when, where and how employees get their work done.

To graduate developers, genuine flexibility means offering all employees – no matter what their level of experience – the ability to determine their own schedule, holding them to targets rather than their ability to arrive in the office by 9am.

The more trust you place in your graduates, the harder they’ll work to fulfill and surpass expectations.


  Opportunity for growth

Opportunity for growth

Despite the rumours, developers don’t actually spend all their time watching South Park. OK, maybe they sneak in the odd episode… but they also work incredibly hard, and a key factor when it comes to picking one role over another is opportunity for growth.

With new technologies and coding languages being developed all the time, tech graduates are eager to learn new skills and want the space and flexibility to try them out.

In our experience, a major reason why why new tech talent decide to leave is because they feel like they’re stagnating. Grads – like specialists at any level – need the opportunity to learn and grow, in a collaborative and supportive environment.

Training days, hackathons and conferences help graduates feel like they’re close to the action, and should form part of your recruitment strategy.


Inspiring leadership 

Inspiring leadership

Gone are the days when junior developers looked solely to one senior figure to deepen their skills. Now, graduates understandably want to take experience from as many sources as possible.

Having a network of inspiring leaders and managers who are prepared to commit time to advise and support new recruits is perhaps your company’s single most important asset.

Offering a career development session with a more senior employee as part of a new hire’s onboarding programme is a surefire way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to growth.

In the words of the universe’s greatest mentor:

             “Always pass on what you have learned.”

              Yoda (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) 

If you need a little more Star Wars wisdom in your life, check our our Jedi Guide to mentoring. 

 Entrepreneurial spirit

Entrepreneurial spirit

This works both ways. Graduates cite both the opportunity to take risks in a supportive “fail fast” environment and a company’s drive to adopt new technologies as values they want to see in future employers.

The backbone of a successful company is innovation, which is only fostered through collaboration and creativity. Companies that create environments where it’s safe to make mistakes encourage employees to push the boundaries, which ultimately leads to growth.

Millennial developers are naturally tech-focused and progressive, and they expect the same from the company they work for.


Now you know what future candidates are after in a new company, find out how to evaluate potential candidates’ CVs. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *