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Apr 25

Tech Companies Offer a $5,000 Reward in the Hunt for Utah’s Top Developers

referadevDevelopers are sitting pretty on top of today’s tech world. Their talents are currently some of the most sought after for tech companies across the state of Utah. As you might imagine, this high demand for qualified developers has created some serious competition for tech employers in Utah. Developers have become such a commodity, that Utah employers are pulling out all the stops to find and secure top talent in their field.

While traditional hiring methods may be working to fill other positions at their firms, tech companies are scrambling to go above and beyond to find top talent in development. This has led a handful of companies to think a bit out-of-the-box in their search efforts. To optimize their odds of finding top developers in a highly competitive market, some Utah employers are offering up to $5,000 for quality developer referrals.

Who’s using this Incentive?

Utah-based companies, Instructure and MoneyDesktop, are among those utilizing the pricy referral method to build a team of experienced developers. Instructure, a Cottonwood Heights-based learning management software company, pays the full $5,000 for employee referrals to highly experienced technical engineers. MoneyDesktop, a Provo-based software company, is paying $2,000 to current employees for an engineer referral.

While referrals contribute to the firms’ efforts in landing top candidates for development positions, both report that they still have trouble filling their teams with the top talent they need. In fact, Instructure has resorted to hiring professionals outside of the state who are willing to work remotely.

Where does the Demand Come from?

Conducting a search for “technology job” on the Utah Department of Workforce Services website will result in roughly 2,272 open positions. While this is already a large number on its own, compare it to the 639 that come up when you search “finance” and 857 with the search term “legal!” Unsurprisingly, technology is rapidly surpassing other disciplines in growth, due to high demand for further innovation in the field. Naturally, this creates quite the job for recruiters looking to hire in tech.

So what are some of the trickiest development positions to hire for in Utah? Java engineers and Ruby developers. These positions require some of the most thorough search efforts for recruiters across the state.

Where do Desirable Candidates Come from?

As you probably already know, experience is worth its weight in gold. Tech companies are far less concerned with whether or not an applicant has a degree, than they are with whether or not the candidate has had real, on the job experience. The gap between available jobs and experienced talent has led companies to find candidates in non-traditional places. Coding camps have begun to pop up throughout the state of Utah in an effort to give people the skills they need to close the gap. It’s no longer a matter of getting candidates to our state’s colleges and universities, rather, it has become necessary for job hopefuls to seek training from focused courses and hands-on learning.

The bottom line is, most companies are looking for the right person with the right skills. This is why many employers, including Instructure, have started hiring directly from these coding camps. In fact,, a Provo and Salt Lake-based coding bootcamp, has a 95 percent placement rate, with starting salaries varying from $55,000 to $75,000.

Skill is Key, but there’s more to it

Even a competitive market doesn’t change an employer’s need to find employees that work well within the company culture. Recruiters for companies like Instrcuture and MoneyDesktop are still seeking compatible employees first. While some candidates may have more skill upfront, recruiters are looking for those who will ultimately thrive in the culture following their first few months at the office.

Employers won’t Settle

While it may be a developer’s market, employers haven’t gotten desperate. They’re pulling out all the stops to ensure that their team is comprised of professionals who are not only exceptionally skilled at what they do, but capable of fitting into their unique company cultures as well.

That being said, the bonus incentive for employee referrals is a great way to complement traditional search methods. This is because it encourages current employees to refer friends, family and peers who are more likely to be similar in terms of cultural fit and technical training. While this may not be the final solution for closing the talent gap, it’s certainly worth the potential cost upon delivery as an addition to an effective search for Utah’s top developers.

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