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.
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.
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.
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.
Not sarcasm. Common sense.
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.
But I think you're right about the salary; we should have researched the job posting more thoroughly to get the title, expectations and salary aligned.
£38K goes much further in Leeds than in California and even London, but we're learning that we need to offer a better package to get the right people.
We're also new to all this, and sharing our experiences and blunders as we go...
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)
I know no business wants to hear this, but it's the simple truth.
75% of developers in the US earn less than 100k/year.
10% of developers in the US earn more than 130k/year.
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 don't know what the standard is in the US but in the UK you can generally earn 1.5-2x as much contracting on a day rate as you can in a permanent job.
This roughly coincides with paying your own benefits and 1/3 of annual downtime. Not that you're planning for 1/3 -- it's risk adjustment.
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.
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.
40k gbp is almost 46k eur, which is not a bad salary in Vienna.
For a senior programmer, thats a joke.
Even in Malmö which is right next door 46k euros/year is not a bad a salary for a programmer.
For an iPhone consultant with experience shipping real products, expect to pay $150/hr minimum. Top guys are quite a bit more.
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.
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.
Do you have any evidence at all to back up you ?
Equity (options) aren't anywhere near as popular in the UK as in the US.
Yeah, I'm not sure about the laundry list either. You have to start somewhere with these job descriptions, but it's a learning curve.
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.
So the net effect of this is that the number of Computing graduates is declining
Perhaps the same thing is happening elsewhere, but I think in the meantime it is time for UK tech. to start weaning themselves off mediocre salaries for tech. sector professionals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Right, but don't qualified UK developers now have the option of working anywhere in the european community without complicated work visa hassles.
Perhaps for a job that requires specialized skills the competent ones are going to where the jobs with reasonable salaries are. Which is not the UK.
There are tiny spots where you could earn an American-level salary as a software developer, but generally speaking it is a European rather than a UK phenomenon.
OK. I'm not adding anything to discussion and my post should be down-voted, but I agree with comment that the main problem of finding a good engineer is salary offered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Recruitment agencies that play dirty do so because they are unable to add real value. Avoid at all costs.
- Offer the right salary for the job, and you might have more luck.
As @ig1 said (from coderstack.co.uk), the salary is not that far off; £38K goes a lot further in Leeds than in London.
Maybe "Middle-Weight iPhone Developer" would have been better.
edit: at the very least, in the US you can issue a DMCA takedown notice.
Good for you for calling them out when they're clearly not providing a respectable service to you OR the jobseeker.
Other than that, finding developers for you that didn't see your ad and bringing them to your attention for a fee seems like an honest business (if not one I would be interesting in being in).