Presented by OfferZen

Developers’ confidence in career prospects at a three-year low, as tech downturn takes its toll

 ·26 Mar 2024

2023 was an exceptionally rocky year for the tech industry. Although news of layoffs and company shutdowns were most widespread in North America and Europe, South Africa was not unaffected.

The rate of retrenched developers almost doubled from 2022 to 2023: 1 in 20 South African developers got retrenched.

The impact of the tech downturn on developers’ morale is starting to show in 2024, according to the 2024 Developer hiring & retention report from developer marketplace, OfferZen.

1 in 3 developers want to move jobs in 2024

The tough economic environment is not deterring developers from changing jobs, at least in terms of their stated intention.

In fact, 33.3% of developers say they want to move jobs this year or are already looking, compared to 29.8% in 2023.

Developers’ confidence in their growth at a three-year low

Why are so many developers looking towards greener pastures? Over the past year, many companies shifted into lean growth mode, and some underwent restructuring, as well as adopted tighter roadmaps.

As companies have to optimise for profitability, there is evidence that they are passing some of this pressure onto their employees:

  • Yearly salary increases have slowed
  • Companies across the board are scaling back on the benefits they offer employees
  • They’re pulling back on perks related to remote work, with a clear trend for a return to the office emerging

However, these changes can have serious repercussions on the team’s morale, buy-in and productivity.

In fact, the number of developers who feel very confident about their chances of growing at their company has fallen from 38% last year to 33% in 2024.

This puts it at its lowest point in three years. For tech companies, this statistic is especially worrying since a lack of growth opportunities ranks fourth as a reason that developers leave their roles.

In the wake of these trends, tech companies seem to be facing an impending retention crisis in 2024.

While inadequate compensation remains the top reason for developers to leave their roles, good work-life balance, opportunities for growth and a compelling company culture are the top reasons for them to stay.

For companies that don’t have much wiggle-room in the salary department, investing in these pull factors could form the basis of retention strategies.

Get OfferZen’s full report here.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter