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Nearly One in Three Tech Workers Find Jobs through Recruiters


Nearly one in three tech workers in the UK and Ireland find new jobs through a recruiter, according to new data from Stack Overflow.

Interestingly, personal contacts is the second largest source (18%) of new roles for developers, despite the stereotype that they’re not people’s people.

Job-seeking method Percentage
An external recruiter or headhunter 30.9%
A friend, family member, or former colleague 18%
A general purpose job board 13.4%
I was contacted directly by someone at the company (e.g. internal recruiter) 11.5%
Some other way 8.8%
Company website 6.7%
A career fair or on-campus recruiting event 6.1%
A tech-specific job board 4.6%

Stack Overflow data also reveals that tech workers switch jobs far more rapidly than the national average. While most British workers change jobs on average once every five years, over half (52.9%) of developers surveyed by Stack Overflow reported changing job in the past two years:

Last new job Percentage
Less than a year ago 32.5%
Between 1 and 2 years ago 20.4%
Between 2 and 4 years ago 20.9%
More than 4 years ago 23.8%
Not applicable / never 2.6%

Kevin Troy, Director of Insights at Stack Overflow, comments:

“This data underlines the importance of recruiters to the job hunting process for tech workers. What’s really important is that recruiters and HR managers understand what matters the most to tech workers in the UK and Ireland, and adapt their processes to reflect that.

In many ways developers are no different from other specialist workers: they find jobs through their professional network and value personalised, one-to-one communication. Most of them would rather have a decent amount of paid holiday rather than gimmicks like bean-bags or ping-pong tables.”

About the report

Throughout 2017, Stack Overflow will release four new reports that take a close look at the developer ecosystem in the UK and Ireland, providing an unrivalled view of the availability of tech talent and upcoming technology trends across the region.

Each will explore a distinct theme within the tech community: the first focuses on tech hiring – how software engineers find jobs, what matters to them when considering a new position, and the tips they want to give to recruiters who are hiring their future colleagues.

The reports are created using a combination of proprietary data (captured from Stack Overflow’s unique machine learning platform, that tracks IP address and user behaviour over time) and qualitative data from Stack Overflow’s annual user survey (the world’s largest developer study). The Developer Ecosystem: Tech Hiring Edition also features commentary by Code First:Girls, TransferWise, ThoughtWorks and Ovo Energy.

Find the Developer Ecosystem Report: Tech Hiring Edition here:


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Chris is a digital marketing and publishing whizz by trade, having worked alongside the Automotive, Information Security and Software Asset Management sectors.

Specialising in data analysis and social media, he combines an analytical approach with a creative flair to achieve the best results. With a keen interest in Technology and Politics, Chris is constantly on the look-out for the latest stories around change and innovation.

As a lover of all things innovative, he has developed a keen eye for spotting the latest trends and hot topics. He sources and reads the latest news and thought-leadership articles from the world of recruitment before sharing them with the social media population.

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