WeAreDevelopers conducted a survey among several hundred developers in the DACH & CEE region in order to find out: What motivates developers to work for an employer? The survey was carried out by the market research agency Mindtake.
The Global Perspective
What we already know from research such as the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2016 (see image below; the 2017 results are not our yet) is that developers – from a global perspective – are latent job seekers. This research suggests that:

  • 80% of the developers are open to new job opportunities
  • but only 15% are actively seeking a new job
  • two thirds are not actively looking, but are open to new job opportunities
  • 22% are not interested in new job opportunities.

The Local Perspective: DACH & CEE
What does WeAreDevelopers’ research, based on approx. 500 developers from DACH (Germany, Austria, Switz.) and CEE, indicate?

The results of our survey suggest the following for developers based in DACH & CEE:

  • 60% of the developers are open to new job opportunities
  • only 6% are actively seeking a new job
  • 53% are not actively looking, but are open to new job opportunities
  • 41% are not interested in new opportunities

Global vs. Local – Direct Comparison
For a direct comparison between the Stack Overflow Survey 2016 (global scope) and the WeAreDevelopers Survey 2018 (DACH & CEE scope):

Ceterus paribus, this suggests:

  • We have a lot less active job seekers in DACH & CEE (6%) than are the global average (14,8%)
  • We have comparably more developers who are not interested in new opportunities (i.e. not interested in switching jobs) in DACH & CEE (41%) versus globally (only 22,1%)
  • We have less latent job seekers in DACH & CEE (53%) versus globally (63,1%).

Recruiting in the German-speaking region is therefore particularly challenging, because:

  • Even less developers actively “go out there” than we previously assumed – only 6%! This means that job boards will not work, as developers tend not to visit them. Company career websites will not work for the same reason. Arguably, every channel that requires developers to “go out there” and approach you as an employer is a waste of your time and resources.
  • Competition for latent job seekers is even fiercer, since employers are fighting for the attention of an even smaller target group: 53% percent of the overall target group of developers. You need to carefully select and define the measures that you will take in order to reach out to a passive (but open) audience. Quite a challenge! What are the measures that I can recommend?


  1. Events: Join the community. You’re either in or out. Join the leading events in the region and provide them with amazing yet authentic experiences when you’re there. Do not by any means send your recruiters there. Create a concept that will a) challenge the developers on site, b) allow them to learn something new, c) encourage the developers to network with the developers who work for your organization, d) show them what happens inside of your company. If we know one thing: what happens within the company (what are the people/culture/hardware/tasks/processes like) is more important than the company’s reputation. If your brand isn’t rated highly in the developers community, this can be compensated with what actually happens within. Make sure that you have developer advocates attending the events and ensure that you have as many touchpoints as possible in order to reach out to the developers: booth in the expo, workshop, hackathon / coding competition, communications prior to and after the event, your team on site to network with the participants, speaker on stage… The more and the higher the quality of what you are doing, the better. Be authentic and do marketing, not recruiting. Of course I will recommend that you join the largest developers congress in Europe: WeAreDevelopers World Congress with >8,000 developers.


  1. Content Marketing: Create cool content that will be shared by developers within the developers’ community and catch their attention. This requires some serious brainstorming and a content plan that will be implemented by your developers. The audience needs to reach out to the audience. Think of fun stuff like “Customers From Hell”, a content series about which nearly every developer can probably make some references to previous projects, and explain why your company is quite the opposite ;-). The more fun, valuable and emotional your content is, the more shares/engagements/views will be generated and the higher your success rate will be.


  1. External Partners / Platforms: If you decide to get one or more external partners (e.g. recruiting agencies) involved, there is one rule. Only work with partners who focus exclusively on developers. I stumble across headhunters and agencies who recruit “all target groups” on a daily basis – they will tell you that they are specialized on developers but they probably aren’t. That’s why you should focus on agencies and platforms that focus solely on developers as a target group. Disclosure: we provide organizations (and will soon also provide headhunters and agencies) with the WeAreDevelopers Recruiting Platform, which focuses precisely on connecting companies with developers from all across Europa and globally. We do not provide project managers, CIOs/CTOs, business analysts, or any other target group. We focus on developers because this is the only right thing to do.

Part 2 of this article will provide more best-practices that focus on attracting latent job-seekers in the developer segment.

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