Software developers are more important to the success of a modern company than financial investment in the company itself. This was the finding of a recent Stipe and Harris poll surveying C-level executives. Developers are the key to any company’s growth, so it’s no surprise that they are among the most high demand skilled employees around. Despite this steady demand, less than 33% of all developers surveyed stated that they were at least “very satisfied” in their roles. Your competition’s loss is your gain. As the need for developers rises around the world, your company should do everything possible to recruit and keep the best developers available. Whether you run a cutting edge Fortune 500 tech giant or a mid-sized it staffing company, these are the best ways for you to recruit and keep great developers by offering them exhilarating opportunities.

1. Offer positions focused on learning and personal growth

Research conducted by the University of Columbia found that most workers would prefer a job with excitement and variety over even a 20% salary raise. Developers are even more likely to require stimulation and change than the average worker. More than 66% of developers surveyed stated that the “ability to learn something new” was the most significant aspect of choosing among job opportunities. Your company will also benefit from employees who have an ever expanding toolbox of skills. A 2018 study of university students in South Korea found a significant link between problem-solving abilities and innovative behavior. Offering developers the chance to learn new languages, strategies, and skills is a win-win solution.

2. Provide your employees with freedom and career growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that dallas texas has the most software developers of any city in the state, yet their average pay is less than developers in San Antonio or Fort Worth. How does the city nab so many developers? According to the Dallas Business Journal, these choosy employees prioritize opportunities for career growth and remote work access above salary. By providing your employees with either more space for themselves or opportunities for climbing the corporate ladder, your prospects for attracting developers can similarly edge out the competition.

3. Permit your employees to work on creative personal development projects

Across the board, corporations ranging from tech giants such as Google to banks like Capital One allow their developers to participate in some form of personal projects on the clock. Google famously offered what they dubbed “20% time” for their employees to work on whichever project seemed most exciting or useful to each employee. More conservative and common versions of this creative time offer come in the form of “hackathons” at companies like Capital One, which regularly result in exciting new products that prove useful for the entire company.

4. Create a more collaborative workspace

Although the style is now on the decline, at one point, as many as 70% of all offices may have had open floor plans. The idea was that walls get in the way of collaboration. In the modern, agile development environment, it is becoming increasingly common to use social technologies rather than physical spaces to encourage collaboration between coworkers. According to the consultants at McKinsey, efficient use of social communication technology can increase workplace efficiency and productivity by up to 25%. Queens University of Charlotte found that as many as 75% of surveyed employees rated teamwork as “very important” to their daily work success, but as few as 18% felt that their management played an active role in regularly evaluating communication ability. By making collaboration and communication a keystone of your company’s workflow, you can both please developers and increase efficiency.

Contributors to StackOverflow self-reported that 80% of their members considered coding a lifelong hobby, while 96% stated that they work professionally as developers. Clearly, there is a huge degree of overlap between those who code for fun and those who develop software as a profession. By meeting the needs for stimulation, creativity, and personal growth demanded by modern developers, your company can keep its own pool of developer talent growing and thriving.