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Dan Kelsall is the IT Recruitment Consultant for The Candidate, Manchester's leading Digital, Marketing and IT Recruitment Company. In this blog, Dan offers his unique insight into filling IT contract jobs in the North West. Whether you're a contractor looking for Ruby on Rails projects, or an employer searching for Magento Developers in the North West, we'll give you advice and guidance on the best way to go about it.

It's almost that time of year again. The time where, after snogging your mate Gary when the clock strikes twelve and screeching Auld Lang Syne at the top of her voice, Julie from next door turns to you with a drunken grin.

'I'm going after my dream job in the New Year,' she'll say, spattering your shirt with crumbs of mince pie.

Thing is, Julie's a Java developer. Turns out, in 2016, Java was frequently sighted as the most searched for skill set by employers. And it had nothing to do with searches for fancy coffee. Julie's in luck.

'Sound Julie,' you'll say. 'Good luck with that.'

Only she won't need luck. She'll be inundated with requests, both from employers directly, and recruiters looking to start the year with a bang.

'Why are you wanting to leave your current place?' you'll ask.

'They don't pay me enough, and I'm looking to build on my skill set,' she'll say, whilst accidentally pouring prosecco on your suede brand-spankers.

You'll warrant a guess that they're paying Julie about £30,000 to £35,000. Yet, in a recent survey by Adzuna, developers in general are looking at an average advertised salary of £39,141. £30k is a recession level salary for a developer. The market's moving.

But there's more to it than that. It's not just about the money. It's about the whole package.

So how do you, as an employer, ensure that you attract the best developers in 2016?

Here's The Candidate Ltd.'s top 5 tips…


It's important that you attend events that are important to the industry and begin to understand market trends and the latest technologies. Even if you're a recruiter (internal or external) you need to understand what interests these people and why. Use sponsorship and incentives to get the developer communities talking about your brand. If you don't have the budget for that, give them a lollipop and a business card.

Create an awesome work environment.

Seems pretty obvious, eh? But seriously, developers talk to developers, so if you don't put a beanbag in the corner and offer them places on the latest courses or conferences, they'll tell their friends or, worse yet, they'll talk to a recruiter. The work environment is majorly important to any employee, but for a developer eyeballing code for eight hours a day, a relaxed culture and the chance to breakaway is crucial.

Create a (not so) corporate video.

Visuals are everything. People need to see your business. They need to see why you stand out. The video doesn't have to be produced by Spielberg but it does need to display why your company's such a great place to work. You can't just post a generic job ad anymore and expect candidates to come to you. There are plenty of developer jobs out there so that Ruby-on-Rails specialist needs to want to work for you.

Content, content, CONTENT!

Don't just approach candidates with jobs. This goes for both employers and recruiters. Send over relevant industry articles on the latest web development techniques or ask them to personally contribute to your blog, even if they don't yet work for you. Set up and invite them to round tables for specialists to discuss trending topics, or create case studies on recently hired staff.

Raise your pay.

We're not saying you have to go overboard here, but paying the same salaries that you were paying during the recession just won't cut it anymore. Raising your average salaries by £5k will massively increase your chances of attracting the right talent. Remember, the developer market is predominantly contract, so permanent salaries have to compensate for this and give that .NET behemoth a reason to make a commitment to you.

And that's it! There's a lot more to attracting developers than listed here, but it's a good start. Here at The Candidate, as market specialists, we can help you with any of these points…not just recruitment. So for advice and guidance in the New Year on attracting the best IT talent, pick up the phone and call us. There might even be a coffee/beer in it for you!


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