Is it possible that this experience was influenced in any way by the fact that they're trying to find a "Senior iPhone Developer" for under £40k? That's ~$65k, and thus roughly $100k shy of what you'd need to offer before you started to pique the interest of any good iPhone Developers in the current market.
This is the same thing I think every time someone says "Why is it so danged hard to find a developer that knows SEO or an SEO who can program their way out of a paper bag. It's like nobody has even heard of any, when we'd gladly reward any with $80k and all the soda they could drink!"
If you think you are paying market, and you can't find a candidate despite using all the normal channels, you by definition are not paying market.
I've been in this field for too long, and can bring too much value, to sell my services at way under value, even if it includes a lot of free drinks.
It's hard for companies to recognize extra value they could possibly be getting from senior/older developers, but also requires a commitment that they actually try to get extra value from them. Whether that's proactively, or just reacting positively to observations/input, and I've not found many companies interested in doing that. It's cheaper/easier/faster to hire the younger kids looking for their first or second job. That used to be me, and I understand those advantages, but I also see the problems associated with those sorts of hires. An ideal org would have a nice balance of all experience levels, but few that I run in to have that balance.
Irrespective of the appropriateness or not of the rate actually offered, the edited version is quite simply a lie perpetrated by lying liers and unfortunately this sort of behaviour seems to be the norm for the recruitment industry in my limited experience.
The amount of blatant untruths I've had to be polite about as I've taken calls from recruiters trying to hawk their wares. Actually, I've stopped being polite: responses like "speaking to him an hour ago were you you lying git? Only he is sat opposite me all morning and hasn't taken a single call. Would you like to start telling the truth or just hang up now and save us both some time?" are common from me.
Next time I'm looking for work I plan to try stay as far away from that sort of company as possible - I'd feel morally dirty just thinking abut dealing with them. Unfortunately I'm not sure how effective other paths are, but fortunately I don't expect to need to know for some time! Opus is most definitely on the "would not deal with even if desperate" list after having read this post.
Recruiter repostings are completely irrelevant to the problems they are having. The article makes it as if that is the problem they are having, but their woes have nothing at all to do with recruiters.
That recruiter that reposted "up to £40k" was a good guy who was doing them a big favor by making clear that the biggest problem with their ad, that which most needed to be changed was the salary offering. And he didn't even charge them for that insight. What a nice, generous fellow.
No sarcasm at all. What is the problem the author has? The problem is he is unable to hire a senior iPhone developer with a deep and broad skill set.
What is his analysis of the problem? His analysis is that recruiters are to blame.
Recruiters are not the problem. The salary is. The recruiter that changed his ad gave him free information about what the problem is.
The flaw in this article complaining about recruiters being responsible for his problems is that recruiters are not responsible for his problem. His problem is that his offered salary is not even close to be in line with what he would need to offer to attract the candidate the ad indicates they require.
While he may have been wrong to start with, that doesn't excuse the recruiter's behaviour in any way. If I applied on the basis of an offer that did not actually exist I would be most annoyed. I would direct my annoyance to the recruiter (who now has my details through nefarious means and will probably lie about me to hundreds of employers even if I ask them not to, potentially making me look bad in a similar way), where it should go, but many would blame the employer.
The recruiter is not helping the situation in any way what so ever, aside from very slightly increasing their own chances of getting a finder's fee.
Sure, it doesn't excuse recruiters, recruiters are scum, etc. I agree with you completely on that. But it's not relevant to his problem. He is trying to solve a problem. His analysis has gone awry because he is focused on something that is not part of the problem. The best thing anyone can do to help this gentleman is to educate him regarding the true source of his difficulty. Recruiters doing this-and-that doesn't change the fact that the salary range is far too low and the two are not related excepting that one of the recruiters, by changing a single part of the ad, sent a strong signal about what the main deficiency of said ad was. That was a good message from the recruiter and one wise to take heed to. But instead, the author focused on his hatred and resentment towards recruiters. That is fine, he can have a pity party and we can call the waahmbulance if it gets too burdensome, but after his cry he still hasn't hired the talent he needs and his obsessing and focusing his attention on dealing with recruiters hasn't led him any closer to his goal. The necessary first thing for him to do if he wants to accomplish his goal is to increase the salary range offered substantially.
The salary is inline with market rates. It's crazy to compare salaries across cities and sectors let alone across countries without taking into local factors (for example paid holidays and sick leave).
Plus I think you have a vastly skewed market view, even in places like SF and NY very very few companies are hiring iPhone developers for $165k USD (feel free to post examples if you disagree). What do you think the average salary for a developer in the US is ?
(disclaimer: I run a developer job board; the company in question Engine Room Apps advertises with us)
75% of developers in the US earn less than 100k/year.
10% of developers in the US earn more than 130k/year.
To get in the top 10% of developers in the UK you need to earn £60.5k (about 100k USD). So developers do earn more in the US than the UK (although once you take into account things like greater holiday allowance, etc. the difference comes down to about 10%).
Indeed, that's the range you get if you include PHP devs and corporate IT folk. For specialist iPhone devs who are provably good at what they do, however, $150/hr is a pretty good starting point, and there are plenty of companies willing to pay more than that.
With that in mind, I don't imagine you'd find many good devs with solid iPhone experience willing to work for less than $75/hr, which coincidentally translates to about $165k/year.
Incidentally, if you're a company looking to put out an iPhone app, you absolutely should seek out a guy who's good enough to demand $150/hr. Given the esoteric nature of the platform, you'll probably find you save money in the long run going with a guy who doesn't need to train himself up on your dime. He might be 4x as expensive, but he's probably also >4x as fast.
I would say a Senior iPhone Dev in London would be £60k+ but since the number of com's who need ObjC is pretty small (even though London has a lot of Mobile dev's) then I wouldn't be surprised if it topped-out at £50k.
In London, a £75k job is very well paid, even in finance, therefore a £100k job (I assume you meant $160k) is getting into higher-management or Contractor territory, not Senior Dev.
Your point is valid, but those in the US often have a highly distorted view of IT salaries anywhere else if you just translate US dollar salaries into the native currency.
The going rate for a senior software engineer who is decent but doesn't have particularly specialised skills, in the UK but outside London, is probably somewhere between £45k and £60k depending on where in the country you are. In London, you probably shift everything up by £5k-£15k depending on the job and conditions.
Those in the US have a highly distorted view of IT salaries in the US...
There's a bias effect caused by the fact that the only people willing to talk about salaries are those with high salaries. Government based salary data often shows much lower salaries than sites like GlassDoor report.
Even in the US there are only a few places where you can get that kind of money. I hear Silicon Valley is having a massive shortage of devs right now, so maybe you can get ~$150k right there right now. But what about buttfrack ohio? Or outer michiganstan? You ain't gonna see 150k dev jobs out there.
It depends where you are living. In London 40K is a lot less attractive than in York (where I live and work) where it is probably very good, and in somewhere like Grimsby it might be considered particularly high. The cost and hassle of working in a particular place (i.e. either rent or property purchase prices, and/or the convenience/availability/cost of transport options, access to good social facilities, and so on) make a huge difference and vary by a surprising amount from place to place even within a relatively small country and this factors into what an acceptable salary is. Of course a good benefits package can affect the acceptability of a given rate significantly too, potentially offsetting the geographical differences - you need to consider a lot more than the one headline figure when judging if the offer is fair.
The tax system is also considerably different. Danish nominal salaries are higher than the UK, but take-home pay is much closer and sometimes actually lower, because taxes are about twice as high in that bracket. Someone making 40k pounds in the UK, for example, will take home around 31k. To take home 31k pounds (265k kr) in Denmark, you'd have to make over 60k pounds (500k kr) nominal salary. However, the social services the two countries provide differ as well.
$165k is indeed the minimum rate for iPhone developers with experience, as employees with benefits. Realize though that taxes come out of that, whereas I understand that in EC salaries are posted as after-tax values.
For an iPhone consultant with experience shipping real products, expect to pay $150/hr minimum. Top guys are quite a bit more.
> I understand that in EC salaries are posted as after-tax values.
We wish. :-/
A senior software engineer outside London with a £50k salary actually takes home around £3k/month after tax and National Insurance payments in the UK, give or take recently applied and/or soon-to-occur changes in the tax rates and allowances.
I meant link to job ads, etc. which provide backup for the statement you're making ?
For example Facebook on Glassdoor (which tends to overestimate salaries), doesn't have a single developer on $165k+.
As it happens I've got Apples H1B filings for last year handy, of all of their H1B employees the highest paid software engineer is at $155000 and he's a specialist in wifi technology. The average H1B developer at Apple makes $88,000/year.
That and there was no mention of any equity. Is that normal for UK startups? Also, for me at least, I always find some way to exclude myself going through those "everything we want you to be an expert in before we'll even consider talking to you" laundry lists.
The UK has relied for too long on relatively cheap but willing tech. labour.
I believe one major factor that enabled this was the boom in home computing in the early 80s. I don't know whether it is fair to call this unique (to the UK), but it certainly helped to have the BBC heavily involved with the BBC Micro effort and even TV coverage: 'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Computer_Programme. I remember back then even the shallowest computer user might have had a go at typing in a program from the back of a magazine.
This provided two generations of willing workers, the first being the adults taking up computing, a few would become entrepreneurs and many of the rest would see it as a career transition and happy enough to get a "bump" in wages for skills in a new domain.
For some, this "bump" was pretty significant for them personally, I've known good people in the UK tech sector who started out as car mechanics, waitresses and the like where IT has improved their personal circumstances no end.
Then there's the second generation, these are the kids who grew up in the 80s boom time and it would seem natural for many of these people to make their hobby their career.
But the problems start here.
Firstly, there was no third generation to follow on, both mainstream culture and even schools completely forgot about programming. Kids grew up with consoles, with few having an idea what it takes to make the games they play. Schools replaced programming with "IT skills", meaning spreadsheets and Word docs, ostensibly because it was easier to train teachers to 'teach' this.
Secondly, there is often a working class attitude in UK tech which shares some similarities with Jante Law. This is debatable, but I do think part of that comes from the first generation, who never thought they would be doctors or lawyers so had lower aspirations and feel pretty grateful for having a 'decent' albeit moderate wage.
However, for the second generation, they would more likely have gone to university and studied Comp. Sci. or a.n.other course and entered the industry. When they look at their similarly educated peers, they will often find themselves on a lower rung than those who chose to go into management or one of the older traditional professions.
That second generation now have kids going to University, and I am guessing that they have a slightly less rosy perspective on the IT sector than when they first started out.
Yeah, programmer salaries in the UK seem very low. I'm Canadian, but my husband also has UK citizenship. We were contemplating a move to the UK, but it would have meant taking a significant pay cut, even though the cost-of-living was much higher and software jobs were clustered in the most expensive areas.
Ultimately it's the same problem that pushed my father-in-law, who was a programmer in London until the seventies, to emigrate to Canada. Not much seems to have changed.
> The UK has relied for too long on relatively cheap but willing tech. labour.
I'd love for software developer salaries to be higher, but frankly, I don't see why they should be. If everyone applying for mid/senior level software developer positions actually came with the kind of skill and experience you would expect in terms of theoretical background and practical experience, that would be one thing, but most of them don't. Heck, a very substantial proportion don't even have basic design and coding knowledge and fail the elementary programming tests at interview.
It does suck that the higher-end guys who really do have those skills and really can be several times as productive as the typical candidate still don't get paid a salary commensurate with their value, but to some extent that is a function of economics in the employment market. Those guys tend to have other options beyond simple employment, though, and contracting/consulting/entrepreneurialism can pay significantly better.
The boom had an effect, although the number of IT professionals grew (slowly) after the boom (see page 4 of the link), and I'm fairly sure it doesn't solely explain the collapse in Computing degree applicants.
Also, when looking at average salary consider the continuing growth in the number of people going to university. Also simultaneous collapse in the number of CS grads is likely to help maintain the higher average.
The papers actually quite weak, as there a strong distinction between IT and software development (and CS (G4xx) and IT degree), which the paper doesn't really pick up on. They make the mistake of using HESA data which classifies all IT degrees as computing.
Non-development IT roles in the UK have been dropping dramatically over the last decade due to outsourcing and automation while developer roles have been increasing (roughly 10,000/year).
Salary data in general has a relatively small impact of choice of subject. Most 16-18 years old have a very limited understanding of salaries by degree subject and are often under many false misapprehensions (for example thinking most law students will become lawyers). Choices are far more driven by cultural trends.
I think you're splitting hairs in the first point, it's also strange though that CS grads also have the highest unemployment rate:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10477551. Which seems to contradict your point about developer roles, or speaks to other issues.
However, I absolutely agree that it is cultural trends that drive the choices, which goes back to my original point that now there is a broader cultural understanding of what life is like in the tech sector and that tech hasn't woke up to this yet.
I'm not splitting hairs this is actually a major issue. I run a developer job board, before that I founded a social mobility non-profit that specializes in understanding university admissions and outcomes. I'm intimately familiar with the data.
The BBC article is based upon the JACS classification of Computing which incudes IT subjects. From anecdotal evidence CS has very low unemployment and IT has high unemployment, but due to HESA using the JACS classification a graduate in Business IT is considered the same as a graduate of Computer Science.
If you split universities which only teach CS from those that teach IT, you can see very clearly in the HESA data that Computing has a much higher employment rate at universities which don't teach IT (this isn't clear cut evidence as universities which don't teach IT tend to be academically stronger universities; but it does back up the anecdotal evidence).
I wrote to the universities minister asking him to get HESA to split CS and IT data after he gave a talk at TechHub, but sadly he didn't respond.
Maybe £40k is too low for London, but they're in Leeds which is a different story. It you look on itjobswatch.co.uk for "developer" the average in London was £50k, in Leeds £32,750. (I don't think you can use "iPhone" as a keyword sensibly given that most of the ads for Leeds are probably this one and its clones)
How much developers make on average in Leeds (a town not known as a center of innovative high tech development any more than Detroit currently is) is not relevant to the acquisition of highly skilled and sought after talent that does not exist in Leeds.
This has been going on for a quite some time. There's another side-effect of this strategy that the author doesn't explicitly mention. Even if you're willing to pay the recruiter's fee, you'll sometimes get to the point of making an offer to a candidate and they'll essentially be offended by the offer, since it's lower than the amount listed in the recruiter-overhauled job description that they saw.
I had one candidate ask me point-blank if I was low-balling him because I thought he was under-qualified in some way. It turns out that perception was based on the job description he saw and after I explained that the number he saw wasn't ours, he accepted the offer. But I refuse to work with that recruiter any more.
That cuts both ways, though. A certain company around here was, at least for several months, advertising a large number of job vacancies with far above-market salaries quoted that got them to the top of the various agency lists. However, it became clear during the interview process that they had no intention of offering anything close to that level of salary under normal circumstances. They were also the kind of place that got very stressed if you declined to disclose your current compensation arrangements (as opposed to discussing what sort of compensation you might consider accepting if they offered the job). I'm not sure what happened with that round of recruitment; they were still advertising for a lot of similarly generic positions last time I looked, but all the specifics about salary etc. seemed to have disappeared.
An agency that cut through that level of deception and advertised with a more realistic salary indicator might not have attracted as many initial candidates, but would probably have been more efficient for finding candidates who might actually accept a position if an offer was made, and it would have avoided degrading the employer's reputation in a "small world" employment market, too.
Seems pretty clear that the recruiter provided you with a very valuable service, that the qualified candidates you really wanted to make offers to weren't willing to respond to ads citing the insulting salary range you thought you could get away with.
The simple fact is that if you can not afford to hire qualified developers, you should not be in business. Please leave software development to the professionals who are able to make money at it.
Are you a recruiter or something...? This seems like a pretty hostile comment which is based on a number of assumptions by you.
Why do you assume that we can't afford to hire developers or that we offered an insulting salary? The developer accepted the offer -- he was initially disappointed because of the unrealistic range that the recruiter advertised.
Also, the fact that the candidate responded to the recruiter's ad is indicative of nothing. If I post an interesting job description and 3 recruiters repost it with the details tweaked, many candidates (I know some avoid recruiters) are apt to respond to the first one of the four that they come across.
Your comment about making money seems completely out of left-field. We do make money (been in the black for a decade or so) and if we didn't, your comment seems unnecessarily harsh. So with that comment you ran the risk of being wrong, a jerk, or both.
I’ve got Google alerts setup for our ad, and I’m seeing it being cloned all over the place by different recruitment agencies. Basically, they copy your ad, remove all your details so candidates don’t know who you are, and then post it up all over the place.
This happens for people who post resumes, too. My experience was so bad that I ended up removing my entire profile from LinkedIn after one-too-many harassing phone calls from agencies. They are evil, but I haven't found a way around them yet. My current employment gig is one where an agency is marking up my hourly rate 100 percent; they indeed charge the company double what they pay me. It infuriates me, but there is very little I can do. Agencies specialize in one thing only and that is: information distortion. Doesn't matter if it's a recruitment agency, real estate agency, or "talent scout" for one of the glam professions like music or acting. The wider the distortions become between buyer and seller, the more the agency can leech.
They're good at it too: flooding job boards, cloning candidate resumes or company job descriptions and twisting them however they wish.
And it works! Good for them, crappy for us. Agencies are very good at convincing one party that a "Senior iPhone developer" or an "MBA who knows Linux and is an accounting whiz" is an elusive and rare creature, while simultaneously shaking their heads at "this job market" where any job offer is a good offer, and by golly -- stick with the agency, and they'll find you something better; once they're done sucking you dry for an hourly rate, they find you something "permanent" for 30-40 percent of your yearly salary offer, of course.
P.S. I think the agency doesn't know I know how much they're robbing me: they're big on "keep this [hourly rate] confidential" which I am, technically . . . the number is; the percent is not. The only party that confidentiality benefits, though, is the agency. Makes no sense.
For salary comparison, in 2001 a TRAINEE manager at McDonalds in London could earn £21,000
Now, back in 2001 when the tech bubble popped it was like one of those games where the music stops and there are too few chairs. All the people who'd been riding the contracting gravy train suddenly realised there were no more contracts† and they panicked. At that stage you would see the computer programmers who had a wife, girlfriend and a mortgage to support leap at a £25k job.
On the other hand, Leeds (where I have also lived and worked) was enormously much cheaper than London in a couple of respects, such as real estate. One of the places I worked had an intern, great young guy, real go-getter, would do any dirty task you set before him (like network admin ick :D ) ... and he was on £10k. When I found that out, I was amazed. I asked him how he could afford that. turns out he lived in a shared house with lots of other students or recently ex-students, and they couldn't afford to turn the heating on in winter††.
†They say that when New York sneezes, London catches a cold. They're right. All the big institutions slapped down an immediate ban on new hiring and no new contracts except for critical projects. Then after a couple of weeks it got upgraded to at least a six month ban on all hiring, even for critical projects (presumably for those they could fill them from people they already had). As contracts ended, they weren't renewed. It was brutal.
††For reference Leeds is one of those places where they get snow on the ground during winter
I find that perhaps 1 in 10 or 15 calls I get from a recruiter involves someone with a clue. Sometimes they know the tech and can talk about the client's architecture and needs, other times they will admit they're not technical, but they have had some dealings with the company directly (often for extended periods) and have a good idea about the type of person who would be a good fit. But it's still rare that I'm talking to a recruiter who, imo, is actually providing some degree of service to the hiring company (let alone my side of the equation).
More companies might be able to 'go direct' without needing a recruiter, but many don't know how to sell their own company to a potential employee. Money helps, certainly, and they'd be able to offer more if they weren't involving a recruiting agency, but it typically takes a committed involvement from the company to do the initial screening.
I used to think recruiters had no place, and that companies should always go direct. I've found that strategically, it makes sense in a few cases if they need a specific skill and don't want to broadcast to the wider market (their competition) about upcoming plans. However, those instances are pretty rare.
Exactly. Take the time and small expense to officially register the copyright. When they clone it and slap their name on it you can sue for damages and you'll win. It might even be a profitable business on its own if you act as intermediary for those actually posting jobs... a "job dilution protection service" that costs them nothing but makes you money.
edit: at the very least, in the US you can issue a DMCA takedown notice.
Thanks for posting this - I think regardless of market rate you've identified a key problem in the hiring industry, especially in software. The incentives for recruitment agencies/headhunters to do ridiculously shady things like copy your ad and then sell you candidates (without even necessarily telling you they promised the candidates more money) are high because companies feel so lost in the hiring process, sometimes they are willing to pay. And they usually get burned/waste a lot more time and money (in my experience).
Good for you for calling them out when they're clearly not providing a respectable service to you OR the jobseeker.
Your salary is absurdly ridiculously pathetically low given the things you were asking for. It almost seems like a joke or onion article. That's obviously why you had a problem and all the rest of the insights you are having about this don't really count since the ad would not be considered serious by any qualified candidate. Sorry.