The Real Reasons CEOs Aren’t Happy With Their Engineering Teams
Amanda Walgrove

By: Amanda Walgrove on October 12th, 2016

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The Real Reasons CEOs Aren’t Happy With Their Engineering Teams

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Tell us if this sounds familiar: You’re getting ready to launch your product or make some major updates to your system. To get this done, you need to either build a development team or patch holes on the one you already have—and you need to do it fast. In a hurry, you circulate job listings, quickly onboard new engineering hires, and get them started on a project as soon as possible. Great. Done. All set, right?

Not exactly. It’s rarely that easy to find high-quality talent. And if it was, companies wouldn’t be having such a hard time building their development teams.

According to a recent study by the job listing site, Indeed, Engineering Managers, Front-end Developers, and DevOps jobs are the most in-demand in the tech industry. In fact, in just a year, job postings for DevOps and Full Stack Developers grew by 24.2 percent and 44.7 percent, respectively. And yet, these jobs also have the highest talent deficit, meaning they’re the hardest to fill.


If these stats feel a bit too real for you, you’re not alone. Too many CEOs are unhappy with their engineering teams, and they’re struggling to find top notch talent for their companies.

These are the biggest reasons why.

They’re frustrated by a lack of talent availability.

It’s true: There is a tech labor shortage in the US. Just look at these jobs, which receive far too few clicks per posting on Indeed.


As a result of this shortage, companies are fighting tooth and nail to recruit top talent, usually by offering absurdly high salaries for jobs that can be done for less money. While major brands might be able to afford those price tags, where does that leave everyone else? Well, it either leaves them without the talent they need, or it forces them to break the bank in order to make some simple development hires.

They’re trying to recover from high turnover rates.

Even after businesses shell out expensive salaries for in-demand engineers, they often can’t retain them for long. Given the fast-paced and competitive industry, it’s common for developers to work on a project and then leave to go find another one, or even bolt for greener pastures before they’re done.

Still, engineers aren’t the only ones to blame. It may be tough to hear, but according to Harvard Business Review, nearly 80 percent of employee turnover is the result of bad hiring decisions. This means CEOs and hiring managers are likely using broken or problematic processes to select their new recruits.

They’re hiring individuals—not project-oriented teams.

This might sound familiar, too: After onboarding your new hires, a couple of months (or even weeks) go by, and you realize your product is still buggy. It seems your developers are either unprepared for the workload or unable to collaborate as a team. On top of all of that, you’ve been spending money for an initiative that hasn’t delivered. In other words, you’ve just wasted a chunk of your budget, and you’re still not ready to launch your new product or feature.

So, you head back to the drawing board (or rather, the job board) and start searching for new talent, knowing that you could just end up in the same tough position.

The good news is, hiring managers can avoid repeating these mistakes if they focus on hiring comprehensive teams of developers rather than just individual cogs in a wheel. By bringing on teams of people together, project managers can more easily foster collaboration and productivity, in turn driving success for the business.

They’re ignoring the solution.

There’s an easy fix to these issues, but it’s one that many CEOs are hesitant to try: hiring teams of remote workers. Of course, it’s understandable why some companies aren’t jumping on this strategy. They fear loss of control and security by relying on outside talent. But consider the alternative—meaning, the major issues listed above.

As long as there’s a tech talent shortage in the US, these problems are going to remain, if not worsen. By expanding their reach to a massive pool of global talent, CEOs can effectively lower their costs, improve retention rates, and build talented, project-oriented teams.

If it seems to good to be true, think about the fact that even the most highly skilled job seekers want the freedom that remote work provides. As Indeed Hiring Lab found, the most qualified workers are ditching the 9-to-5 grind in favor of more flexible schedules.


As such, CEOs that jump on this strategy now will quickly go from sifting through slim pickings of engineers to hand-choosing the most talented developers in the world to work for their company.

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