Stack overflow survey finds: 17 % of developers unhappy with current job


How happy are software developers with their current jobs and what do they look for in a new employer? Stack Overflow have just published the results of a survey that quizzed nearly 3,000 developers from across the Nordic countries on their current jobs and career aspirations.

We know that most employers tend to take good care of their developers. That is why we were unsurprised to discover that 66% of all respondents reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their current role. What the results also reveal, however, is that 17% of respondents are somewhat, fairly or extremely dissatisfied with their current role.

If you were to apply that result to the country as a whole, it would mean that of the roughly 45,000 developers currently working in Finland, around 7,500 are not happy in their present roles. And that is quite a number! What it means is that it’s definitely advisable for employers to have a very good idea of what developers looking to make a career move are really after.


According to theStack Overflow findings, the three things developers value most highly in an employer are the tech stack on offer, the professional development opportunities available and the overall company culture.


I work as a talent agent at Barona IT’s Northstar service.My team comprises more than 30 IT recruitment specialists based across Finland, Sweden and Denmark. My colleagues and I meet hundreds of developers every year and, in my experience, the technology available to them is rarely the main reason that prompts them to consider a career move, though obviously they will be looking to have the right stack available at any new job they move to.


What usually matters more than the tech is the role and remit they can expect to be offered by any new employer. Few people would choose to go through all the hassle and upheaval of a job change just to end up making a sideways move. Usually, what prompts people to make the leap is knowing that the move represents a genuine learning and development opportunity, and that they will have the chance to specialise in the areas they are interested in.


The company culture obviously matters, too. Flexible working is a good example of the sort thing people are now starting to expect to have offered to them as standard. One particularly interesting point to note is the appetite people have for new technologies – some people are simply not happy unless they are the first to pick up and adopt the latest trends. At the other end of the spectrum are a number of highly experienced developers who tell us that they would rather take their time and evaluate new developments in consultation with their wider team.


People’s wishes with regard to company culture can also vary widely. Some rate a more inspiring office setting and the opportunity to spend time with their colleagues outside of office hours, while others seek to balance their work and private life and prefer to focus on longer-term projects.


According to the results, the survey respondents ranked salary in fourth place and it generally makes no sense to take a self-inflicted pay cut. My own take on pay is that, as recruitment professionals, we should always take a respectful approach to jobseekers’ salary aspirations and only offer them opportunities that match their expectations, unless of course a pay cut has the potential to deliver something that money truly cannot buy.



Let’s get back to that unhappy 17%. Do you count yourself among this surprisingly large group of developers? The result should give us pause for thought because all of us have the right to enjoy our jobs.


The best way to get the feelers out there is to chat to people you know who already work in businesses you are interested in.

“People you already know are much more likely to give you their open and honest opinion.”

If you don’t happen to know anyone with the right connections, it doesn’t mean that you automatically have to settle for less. There’s always more than one way to get where you want to be. One option is to turn to a Northstar talent agent, who will offer you a bespoke recruitment service.


The way we work at Northstar is that we first find out what you are looking for and once we have a good understanding of what you are really after, our highly experienced IT recruitment specialists will get to work to find the right opportunities for you. We meet with countless companies every year, ranging from up and coming startups to established industry leaders, and we pride ourselves on developing a thorough knowledge of the way they do business. Our concept is to provide you with a career sparring partner and talk you through the options available. When a business catches your eye, we will negotiate on your behalf and set up meetings with your potential future colleagues and line managers. If all goes to plan, you will soon be joining the 83% that are happy with their jobs.

If you feel it’s time for you to take the next step but your dream job is still eluding you, get in touch! Together, we will figure out where you’re coming from and where you want to be, and identify the best way I can help you get there.

Joel Kinnunen

Tags: developerscareer

Topics: career