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New Research Shows How to Keep Developers Happy Amid the ‘Great Resignation’

Data from Salesforce’s MuleSoft show 93% of organizations say it has become more difficult to retain skilled developers

91% of organizations say automation solutions can help developers do more with less

Quick take: A new study from Salesforce’s MuleSoft and Vanson Bourne reveals that organizations are finding it difficult to attract and retain the skilled developers needed to drive digital transformation. As demand for faster innovation continues to rise, this skill shortage is piling pressure on already-stretched teams, creating the risk of developers leaving in search of new opportunities.

Employees are facing increased pressure to meet business goals as their organizations pivot to meet digital transformation requirements more quickly than ever before. IT teams and specifically developers, sit at the center of that change. To better understand the pressures on developers, and find out what it means for organizations, Salesforce’s MuleSoft commissioned a global survey of 600 CIOs and IT decision makers. 

The survey results reveal challenges organizations face retaining and attracting skilled developers as they look to accelerate digital transformation efforts. The vast majority, (93%) say the ‘Great Resignation’ has made it more difficult for their IT teams to retain skilled developers and 86% say it has become more difficult to recruit them in the last two years.  

“The demand for digital solutions was already outpacing the supply of software developers before the pandemic, but now it’s through the roof. Churn caused by the ‘Great Resignation’ is widening this gap even further,” said Matt McLarty, Global Field CTO & VP of the Digital Transformation Office, MuleSoft. ”For organizations to truly transform digitally, they need to do two things: first, give developers user-friendly tools that maximize their productivity, and secondly, give the rest of the knowledge workers in the organization tools that empower them to become engaged in building digital solutions, not just documenting requirements.”

Developers feel pressure from digital transformation and repetitive tasks 

The skills shortage, coupled with demand for faster innovation, is leaving many developers overburdened or searching for opportunities to innovate and go beyond repetitive work. 

  • Increased workloads and digital transformation pressures create developer stress: The top three causes contributing to developer burnout were increasing workload / demand from other teams (39%), pressures of digital transformation (37%), and learning skills to adapt to new technologies and approaches (35%). 
  • Learning technical software architecture is only adding to the pressure: More than three-quarters (76%) of organizations say the cognitive load required to learn their software architecture is so high that it is a source of angst and low productivity for developers. 
  • Automation will help to drive greater efficiency: 91% of organizations say they need solutions that automate key processes for developers so they can do more with less.

Empowering business technologists to scale IT innovation

Against this backdrop, organizations are recognizing the need to empower the wider workforce to take some strain away from developers. This is best achieved by encouraging the growth of business technologists – employees from outside the IT department who can play a more active role in digital transformation — while IT maintains security and control. 

The majority (70%) of organizations already have strategies to empower business technologists to drive digital transformation, yet a number of challenges remain: 

  • Limited automation and data silos hinder the growth of business technologists: Difficulty of managing the integrations across multiple cloud platforms without specialist IT skills (47%), limited automation in software development (46%), data silos (42%), governance and security (41%), and limited access to lightweight tooling (38%) remain barriers to increasing the number of business technologists in the workforce. 
  • Empowering employees outside of IT to integrate apps and data will help accelerate transformation: 90% of organizations say empowering more individuals across the business to integrate apps and data for themselves would significantly reduce pressure on developers and accelerate transformation.

“The automotive industry never would have taken off if all the cars were being built by individual craftspeople,” continued McLarty. “The job of building cars had to be broken down to make it accessible to the masses. We’re at that point in the software industry. We can’t expect a relatively small percentage of workers — software developers — to bear the brunt of mass digital production. We have to get the whole organization involved. Low-code tooling and automation technology are the means for doing that, and they’ve already been shown to improve employee satisfaction and reduce stress.”

Learn More

Register and tune into TrailblazerDX, the developer event of the year, on Wednesday, April 27 – Thursday, April 28, to learn how developers can learn the latest skills and maximize productivity and innovation with Salesforce’s automation solutions, low-code tools, and more. Developers will hear how to build apps on Customer 360, integrate with MuleSoft, connect with Slack, and power analytics with Tableau. 

Survey Methodology

Salesforce’s MuleSoft, in partnership with Vanson Bourne, surveyed 600 IT leaders from global enterprises. The online survey was conducted in February 2022 across the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia. Only suitable candidates participated in the survey and were verified by using a rigorous, multi-level screening process. All respondents work at an enterprise organization in the public or private sector with at least 1,000 employees and hold a managerial position or above in an IT department.


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