Highest shortage of software developers in Dutch market

Outstaffing of your software development

The demand for ICT specialists in general and software development specialists in particular is still growing on a yearly basis. In 2019 the European market foresees a shortage of 900.000 ICT specialists.

In 2018 46% of all software developer vacancies in the Netherlands were hard-to-fill. That was 42% higher than in 2017 and with that the highest percentage in Europe. In 2017 87% of businesses in the Netherlands were struggling to find software development specialists. It is expected that in 2020 that number will further increase with over 54.000 ICT vacancies that cannot be filled, in the Netherlands alone. 

Bottom line, businesses are looking for alternatives to fulfil their need for software development specialists. Working locally clearly still has the preference. Therefore, many businesses invest in students, hire contractors and search for experienced people abroad. Anybody involved in the search and recruitment of software developers knows that each of these alternatives comes with its own set of challenges. 

If you hire students, you’ll need to invest time and money to coach and train them. Most often it will take you more than a year to achieve a reasonable level of performance. On the other hand, experienced contractors are costly, and they often leave when they find more interesting assignments. Flying people in from abroad (knowledge migrants), most often from outside the EU, is challenging due to the shortage of housing and possible issues related to cultural differences. It may sound negative but don’t get me wrong. These are all viable alternatives which will require time, effort and a financial investment. The most annoying part of it all is that after you have your software development team in place, local recruiters will approach your team members for other opportunities, and you can start all over again. This then having a negative impact on velocity and continuity of your software development work.

What is the alternative

Conclusion is that in a market of shortage any solution you choose will demand extra effort, time and investment to get a software developer hired and up to speed. If so, then why not put that effort, time and investment into working on a long-term and more sustainable solution? Outstaffing of your software development!

Outstaffing in my experience is the best near- or off-shore alternative. In the last few years I’ve built multiple remote software development teams for large Dutch retailers and B2B businesses. All working in different engagement models. The best results and highest levels of customer satisfaction were always achieved with outstaffing.

Outsourcing is known to be a project-based approach in which the outsource company manages a project from beginning to the end and the customer often does not know who’s working on the project. In outstaffing a dedicated remote team works as an extension of the customer organization and is seamlessly integrated into it. Teams consist of senior experienced software developers that are ready to go from the start of its formation.

The real benefits

As a customer you have full access to all team members, control over software development and the software development process. Another advantage of working in this model is the flexibility to expand or downsize the software development team based on the volume of work for example related to seasonal activities or campaigns.

Like any other team, to get remote teams to work efficiently they need attention and people need to be involved. A relationship needs to be built between the customer and the remote team members. Meeting the team face to face is essential for it to adopt the customers way of working, its culture and to feel part of the customer organization. This means that besides having key people from the customer side visit the remote teams regularly, flying remote team member out to the customer location is very important as well.

The success of outstaffing is mainly due to the fact that the business and the remote software developers have the same purpose and work together as a single team. And working together is the key to long term success.

In a follow-up blog I will elaborate on the key areas of focus to make working with remote teams successful. If in the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to share your views or discuss any queries you may have, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’m reachable by email (robert.verhagen@vigil365.com), phone (+31 6 51510145) and Skype (robertmjverhagen).

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