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Why are DevOps Engineers so Hard to Hire?

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​​It’s no secret that DevOps Engineers are in high demand. But currently, many employers are struggling to find the right person to fill their vacancy. As an IT recruiter, countless hiring managers have told me that they find the process of sourcing and retaining DevOps Engineers incredibly difficult.

What Even is DevOps?! 

DevOps has become a fashionable buzzword in tech. But some employers don’t fully grasp what it entails. DevOps Engineers have a very broad skill set. This has resulted in a lot of discrepancy around what their duties should actually be. In some respects, the term “DevOps Engineer” represents an amalgamation of many other more narrowly-focused job titles such as SRE, Automation Engineer, Systems Engineer, Cloud Engineer…. The list goes on!

Finding those people who can really make an impact is challenging, for several reasons:

The Number of Potential Candidates:

At the time of writing, a quick search on LinkedIn reveals 617 qualified candidates. Of these, only 98 are ‘open to new opportunities.  On the other hand, searching for a “DevOps Engineer” on returns 250 vacancies. The problem is obvious – this job market has a candidate : vacancy ratio of roughly 2.5:1. I don’t know of any other areas of tech with a ratio this low. DevOps Engineers have the luxury of being able to pick from a wide range of exciting job prospects.

Small teams:

According to LinkedIn, JPMorgan Chase & Co. are the leading employers of DevOps Engineers in New York. But their team consists of just eight people. For comparison, they employ three times as many Data Engineers. Furthermore, as DevOps professionals need to work across several different departments they often feel they aren’t really part of a team. Several DevOps Engineers have told me moving between departments makes them feel like a ‘lone wolf’ within their organization. When employees don’t feel a sense of belonging in the workplace, they are much less likely to stick around long-term.

Automation is their job:

When DevOps is done right, it should result in the automation of many different processes. When this happens the hard work is done. This doesn’t leave much for Engineers to sink their teeth into. So they are naturally drawn to seek out other opportunities to repeat the process from scratch at a different company. The reality is that DevOps Engineers don’t stay in one place for long. Over 70% of the DevOps Engineers on LinkedIn have been in their current role for less than two years, which means companies have to hire more regularly.


Over 85% of the DevOps Engineers on LinkedIn have more than 6 years of experience. So they are likely commanding a salary that some companies aren’t able (or willing) to pay. New York is full of exciting, up-and-coming startups that simply don’t have the cash flow to hire a DevOps Engineer.

So, Why is DevOps such a hard role to hire for? Firstly, the DevOps job market has a candidate: vacancy ratio of roughly 2.5:1. Secondly, the nature of a DevOps role means that if they do a good job of automation, they won’t be needed for much longer.