Male application developers are most likely to join a company for the chance to work with modern technology stacks but women are more motivated by salary and company culture, according to new research that also found workers were most likely to walk if they have a bad manager or leadership team.

The newly released Voice of Talent 2021 report, which updates a 2019 survey by technical consultancy Contino, found men were most attracted to companies that give them the opportunity to work with contemporary technologies such as cloud, AI/machine learning, DevOps and Agile methods.

Companies that are not “up-to-date and forward-looking in their technology stack”, SUSE customer success manager Chris Fordham said, needed to transform themselves to become appealing to potential hires.

“If your organisation is not evolved,” he explained, “then it is hard to expect interest from this top-tier layer of talent.”

Yet working with modern technologies was only the fifth highest priority cited by the women in the report, which surveyed 178 Australian technologists across a range of industries, age groups, career levels, and company sizes.

The top consideration for females – and second highest priority for males – was having a competitive salary package.

Heena Bawazir, lead technical recruiter at fast-growing Australian unicorn and popular workplace Canva, flagged a growing “large shift in salary expectations where equity-based remuneration is becoming more popular…. Employees feel that they are invested in the business and their compensation is growing from the day they start.”

Other key reasons cited by survey respondents showed more consistency between genders and included work flexibility, having a “great” manager or leadership team, having great career progression opportunities, and more.

Despite the ongoing discussion about diversity and inclusion (D&I) in tech companies, such programs sat at the bottom of Contino’s list for both genders – although, significantly, they were equal first (along with passion for the company and projects) amongst respondents who identified their gender as ‘other’.

Heading for the door

“Competition for top talent has never been more aggressive than now,” said Contino APAC director of talent Gerhard Schweinitz, flagging the importance of attracting enough of the right staff to support companies’ increasingly demanding post-COVID digital transformation.

“Any organisation who wishes to attract and retain the right people must understand how people view the workplace now,” he said. “As businesses begin their journey towards recovery, they need strong leadership to chart the way forward to success.”

Lack of strong leadership was the top reason employees were likely to leave a company, the survey found, with “bad” management or leadership teams flagged by all respondents as the most intolerable factor in a job.

Also frustrating for respondents were a range of factors including company politics or culture; lack of work flexibility; outdated technology stacks; disagreeing with the direction of the company and its projects; a lack of diversity; lack of learning and development time and budget; and more.

“Learning and development is crucial both for the individual and for the company,” said Jordan Simonovski, senior systems engineer with Atlassian.

“An employee will not only improve their skills but they will bring those skills back into the organisation to improve the business. A company investing time and money into their employees shows that they value that employee.”

Being passionate about one’s team was another key reason many people would leave, with Domain chief technology officer David Bolton noting that “we spend so much time with our colleagues that it’s crucial to our happiness to want to be on a journey with them.”

“You leap out of bed in the morning when you know that you get to work with a team of diverse, passionate and growth-oriented colleagues each day, aligned around a motivating ambition.”