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In preparation for HR Tech World we spoke to Natalia Radcliffe-Brine, Marketing Manager EMEA at Stack Overflow – a company that in 5 words can be described as “Professional, Empowering, Fun, Geeky, Trusted.” The company is a proud sponsor of the upcoming event. As the world’s largest website for developers, Stack Overflow shared some unique insights into the world of recruitment and engagement of technical talent. Natalia has worked in the technology sector for the past 6 Nataliayears. She has extensive experience in marketing and branding to programmers; most recently leading the payments partner programme for a network of over 3500 software development agencies for the FTSE 100 Sage Group.

What makes Stack Overflow unique is that over 30 million people use Stack Overflow on an average monthly basis – “which means we have a unique insight into the interests of developers; which programming languages they use, what matters to them in their career and the jobs that excite them,” explains Natalia. “We’ve created a suite of solutions to help employers understand, reach and engage the technical community on the site they trust the most. No other platform can offer the same opportunity to companies seeking to attract technical talent.”

2014-2015 Trends

Stackoverflow Logo New (1)Programmers recruitment market is certainly a vibrant one. There is a marked shortage of technical talent globally, and especially within Europe. As a result, “98.5% of developers are employed, which is dramatically higher than the wider employment rate in the region (89.4% in July 2015 according to the European Commission). Accordingly, companies are struggling to hire programmers, who have multiple job options,” explains Natalia. This is a very different picture from many other areas of recruitment. In fact, every year Stack Overflow performs a survey of its users. This year, three things stood out:

  • Demand outweighs supply
      • 98.5% of developers are employed in Europe, and only 8% are actively looking for a job. This means that developers have a lot of choice in which company to work for, and employers have to work much harder to attract technical talent.
  • Developers prefer to be contacted by Email or on Stack Overflow Careers
      • 49% of developers say they ‘hate’ to be called about a new job opportunity, and 27% don’t have a LinkedIn account. Therefore, recruiters should consider using email and Stack Overflow Careers to contact technical candidates.
  • Highlight product details when approaching a programmer
    • When evaluating a job opportunity for the first time, developers want to know the details about the product they would be working on. 61% of programmers said this is the most important information (even more than salary and location!).

You can download the full Developers Annual Survey here. Due to Stack Overflow’s unique access to valuable information on programmers’ behavior and patters, Natalia made a prediction for 2016:

We’ve noticed a rise in the number of developers who have moved jobs. In 2014, 28% of European developers had started a new job in the past 12 months, but in 2015 we saw 35% of developers changing roles. If Europe sustains its economic recovery, we expect to see a more fluid technical recruitment market in 2016.

Next year Stack Overflow will be providing a new ‘insights’ service for employers which will provide companies with the most accurate analysis of the skills of developers in different locations around the world. This will be an invaluable tool for companies deciding where to build their technology teams.


Of course, like any other, this recruitment market comes with its own challenges.  “Serving programmers is the overarching objective which is at the heart of everything Stack Overflow does. We have myriad challenges that stem from this objective. One such challenge is employer education – helping them understand developers, and how they can foster the best environments to attract and retain them. We’re passionate about helping them to find the best careers, and educating employers in how to create a more appealing environment for developers. The challenge to us is to ensure EVERY programmer is treated well at work!”

Other challenges stem from the employers’ side. “We see many employers struggling to brand their company to developers,” explains Natalia. “Employer Branding is already complex – but branding your company to attract technical talent is even more challenging. The companies that take the time to understand what matters to programmers, and adapt their strategy to appeal to this type of candidate have a huge advantage.”

Reaching and Engaging Millennials?

“For Millennials, using the internet is the norm – and they’ve grown up using social media. In fact, many people in this generation start to use Stack Overflow whilst at school! As an online community, Stack Overflow is a really intuitive tool for this generation; users have the ability to share content, comment on other people’s work and build reputation based on their participation.

Additionally, we have started to host events targeting junior developers – giving them advice about building their careers. You can see one of our talks targeting Millennials here: How to be awesome by Alex Warren.”

Why HR Tech World?

We’ve sponsored HR Tech World for several years. It’s is an excellent place for us to meet our clients and network with employers who are looking for solutions to their technical recruitment issues.