How to keep good testers in testing positions?

A few days back ‘Teresa’ asked me an interesting question.

“I was intrigued by your website because it seems you are truly passionate and interested in testing.  In my organization, we’ve found that it’s really hard to keep the GOOD testers in testing.  Many of the really skilled testers are always looking for the change and want to get out of testing for some reason.  I would love to hear if you have any ideas on how to keep the good testers in testing?”

Teresa, first I will address this high attrition rate problem for all employees and then I will come back to addressing “How to keep good testers in testing positions?”

0% employee turnover is just an imagination and unrealistic in the current competitive world. Employee turnover to a certain extent is ok. However, increased turnover in any company indicates some serious problems.

Though I am not an HR expert to reduce the attrition rate, I will suggest some common measures from an employee perspective, which can minimize this turnover to a certain extent. These measures will be applicable to every company and employee. Also, we are in a context of software testing so I will concentrate more on how to retain good testers in their positions.

I will address each and every solution we can try to keep low attrition rate. So sit back, get relaxed as this is going to be a long article.

Who will get help from this article?

This article will help to Company management, Managers, Team leads in development and testing and of course to the emerging testers who are tomorrow’s leads.

What are the effects of high attrition rate on the company?

  • May lose projects in hand – as clients are not happy with high attrition rate
  • Financial burden on company
  • Cost to recruit new employees
  • Cost of new employee training
  • Time for ramp-up in new projects
  • Workload on existing employees
  • Low employee productivity due to unstable work and overtime

These are few important drawbacks of the high attrition rate.

How to reduce attrition rate?

First, let’s go to the root cause of “why the employee leaves the company?”
The main reason is “lack of appreciation for their hard work”. I mean if the company is not caring about employees then why would they stay in such company?

Keep in mind ‘more money’ is not always the solution! Nowadays employees are more concerned about the quality of life and their family needs.

Here are some solutions on high attrition rate:

  • Hire the right people in right positions
  • Understand the employee needs and provide it to them
  • Respect them
  • Always appreciate good work
  • Regularly ask for employee input and take appropriate action
  • Offer training opportunities to gain advanced knowledge
  • Better to become employee oriented
  • Pleasant working atmosphere
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Value employee creativity
  • Job security

The last one is very important. Your employees should feel secure about their jobs. If you can’t provide job security or at least feeling of job security in employees mind then your company deserve for high attrition rate.

These are some one-liner solution. Let’s take some practical solutions.

Any software team should consist of highly motivated and skilled people. Good motivation comes from good leadership. The good leadership provided by team leaders and managers can bring down the attrition rate. In my career I observe employees leave the company just because of their boss. Some unrealistic demands or lack of motivation and leadership can make employees think over their position and career.

So leaders should motivate and energize colleagues when they lost all hopes.

More Money:
Give them a good compensation and benefits package.

Fun at work:
As I said money is not always the solution, fun at work is also important. Only more money can’t motivate the team if you don’t have a fun culture in your company. I believe in “Work hard, Play hard” culture, so plan some sporting activities, outdoor trips, different competitions between different teams etc… There can be so many such activities, which can act as refreshment for employees.

Help to settle employee life:
What I mean from this is to help employees providing stability in their life. I know this is not going to be a simple task but the company can help employees by providing medical insurance, medical facilities to employees. Housing is the first priority of most of the employees. So help them get good accommodation.

‘Teresa’, you asked about retaining testers in good positions. So let’s come to testers problem.

What are the common complaints from testers?

“Sometimes developers ego as they are better than testers”
“Tester is responsible for every fault”
“Schedule slips due to testers”
“Testers are not getting the respect”
“Management doesn’t consider them equally with developers”

These are some common complaints from testers and this makes them feel insecure in their job, affecting their daily work and may result in high attrition rate.

Management needs to address these complaints early before testers leave the company. The solution is – organize your teams effectively, improve communication between developers, testers, and management. This will lead to better understanding and address of testers needs.

Below are the baby steps, which can retain good talented testers in their positions:

Provide them training:
Train all your testers. Provide them training for free, if not possible then with cheap cost. Make available some remote courses, seminars, and books to study. Sponsor and help them to get the software testing certifications.

Appreciate the good work:
Don’t go behind the quantity of bugs. See the quality of bugs and appreciate those testers working hard to find it. Regularly comment positively on good work from the team.
Reward testers for finding good quality bugs. Keep some weekly or monthly competitions such as “Bug of the week” to reward the testers.  This will help to build a successful QA team.

Set finite boundaries to everything:
Your goals should have clear boundaries and completion criteria. Setting goals, those not having end can become a boring task. Don’t let feel the team that this testing work is going forever without any insight goal.

Take every bug as a learning opportunity:
Don’t bother testers about the bugs that slip through. Make these bugs as a learning opportunity. Let them know why they overlooked that bug. This way they will learn from their mistakes and will not make the same mistake again at least for the same bug.

Don’t make testing a repetitive task:
Sometimes we get bored doing the same thing again and again. Testers job involve with a repetitive task. So take care to distribute your work so that no tester will execute same test case repetitively on any project. Randomize the testing work in the team, this way team will get knowledge of the whole product, helping to find more bugs.
A good solution to avoid repetitive work is to rotate the experienced employees internally in different projects.

Create the good relation between testers and developers:
Testers need encouragement and support to find more and more bugs so that the final release is bug-free. Build a good team of testers and developers. Treat everyone similarly.

Don’t forget to celebrate:
Celebrate each and every success moment. This will help to build good team spirit. Host product release parties to recognize the accomplishment.

Show your appreciation to those employees who work hard. This is a key to successful business. Show your employees that you are committed to fulfilling their needs.

Over to you:
These are my personal thoughts to keep good employees (testers) in their positions. I am not an HR expert but I have mentioned here everything that I feel from employee perspective to stay on the job.

I want your views “What keeps you on the job?” You can share your personal thoughts, your expectations from employers or any personal experience in this matter.

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#1 Hanu


Thanks for your nice article. before to that i want to tell you thing. I am also working as a test lead and working so many team members apparently found we are getting the resource. how ever i am not seeing the dedication among them. In their views executing the test cases if they found any defect in those test cases that’s defect else product will go with the defects. In this real time world no project has 100 % test cases. no body is realizing to that fact.

#2 sushama

Vijay, really u touched each and every point that could be the solution on attrition..
i too faced big problems keeping talented people with us.
we are trying each and every solution we can do for this problem.
Recently our CEO also addressed this problem infront of all employees and this came into effect as after his speech it’s now 6 months we are seeing the result.. we managed to reduce attrition rate! Obviously his speech was great, touching to each employees heart and making them feel proud with this company.
So as a management don’t try to hide attrition rate from anyone. this would worsen the problems. Speak on it openly to know the exact cause..
That’s a tip from me..
Best luck

#3 Beena

Hello Vijay,
U r really helping the testers. Thanx alot…….

#4 Latha

Really a very useful article…good work…Keep it up Vijay!!!

#5 Grishin

Hello Vijay,
Thanks for helping the testers….

#6 Mohamed Faisal

awesome article, exactly my thoughts. i agree with each and every word in it. thank keep going

#7 madhu

Thanks for nice artical. In most of the product based companies testers work on same kind of task for long time.Testers get bored with same work and start looking for new challenges.
One way to keep them in job is change there nature of work every half yearly.

#8 chanchal

good article!

#9 Sam

Excellent article.It addresses all the issues very clearly.I have something to say in response to Hanu’s comment.Be it in developement or testing , as a test lead if you dont see dedication in your team – be sure the problem is not with team members but somewhere else ;-) I only wish you understand the root cause sooner than your manager.

In general , HR people and managers complain frequently about people leaving – but seldom they really try to retain people.As long as the person is in the company ,their policy is to keep him/her as low profile as possible – by giving them average rating-not paying any attention to small matters like whether the person is willing to work in some project or not.They justify everything in terms of “business reasons”.Then when the employee minds his/her own business by moving on – they start crying foul.

If IT companys start selecting HR people as judiciously as it select engineers – and start having some real working HR policies ( rather than some obscure mission/vission bullshit with which general employees do not have any reason the identify ) which the managers cannot override at their will – things will change.By nature – people try to stay in their comfort zone.They move because they dont get that comfort zone in their companies and try to find it elsewhere.

#10 leomayleomay

Nice article, learn a lot from it.

#11 vinodh

Great article. Very supporting and motivating points!!!
Thanks a lot Vijay, Keep going .. We are always with you to listen, appreciate and share views.

#12 Dinesh

yes, I agree with Vinod

#13 Anand

Best and excellent article, really this will help for each and every organisation.
And more of a concern, why Test Engineers are not given with a good respect in most of the S/W industries?In my view the success and failure of any project mainly depend upon the good testing!
Please comment…


Hi i want to share all information regarding software testing and jobs in bangalore


plz let me know

#16 Jagdish

its really a good article.
thankz a lot for the information…

Note: is another good site to find information on Testing

#17 Prakash

I am working as a test lead, In my experience the problem starts from requirement phase itself and it carry’s on till testing phase. If the project specifies a clear requirement then i dont think there wont be a confusion in testers mind who are responsible for creating test cases(should write all possiblity of test cases) then execute it, do regression testing more time to release the product without bug. But this all will happen only when we get clear requirement and also the time line. Most of the time testers are not given enough time line to execute and do regression testing. why i have written all this is because most of the testers complains about unclear requirement that makes most testers to think of. As a conclusion there are lot of reason behind the attrition as vijay said in his article.


#18 krishna kumar

very useful and informative article

#19 Geetha


I would have to agree with what has been said. My company does not pay very well but the fact that my manager takes good care of the team and respects the effort that is put into every release makes me stay in this company even though other offers have been lucrative.

Thank you.

#20 Asheesh

great one!

#21 Mubbi

nice ans sam………

#22 kalyan


I agree with your words. really your clarification on attrition rate is very clear.

#23 vrushali

An Article was too good,I wish everyone from IT company read this article.

#24 Amit

Well…indeed a very good article and touches upon the day to day issues which we all faces, being a Test Lead, a Test Team Member, or even a Client or Customer…I would like to add here as to why a Developer would have insecutiry from a QA.

1) The very first reason I can foresee has psychological implication, no one would like to say their baby is bad…this is a fact…once a QA representative goes out and finds a defect it is considered as a part of negligence on part of developer…which makes it difficult for a developer to survive with continuously high expectations from his management….

2) To a certain extent we as a QA representative also are at fault….once a bug is found we become insensitive of how a developer would feel…he puts is hrs in getting the code ready for build..and immediately here comes a QA guy arguing about his logic…I know few of you might not agree with this statement of mine…but this is a fact , we as a QA resource ignore this very issue, which goes a long way in making things more vulnerable….

3) The way defects have been communicated is a real big issue…play it down folks….it si just another defect…it becomes the job of a QA lead and Development lead to talk out the strategy at a mature level as to how to handle defect…

I understand this is not the right forum to discuss all this, but just wanted to share my views with you folks….


#25 Sam

@Amit : I couldnt understand ur 2nd point.Testers dont get paid for pampering the developer sentiments.It is their job to pin point bugs and get them resolved.It is developers responsibility to behave maturely and not take it personally.

It seems u believe in top heavy model.The organisations who believe in this philosophy tend to have highest attrition rate in the industry.

No bug is just another defect – it is ANOTHER DEFECT and it needs to be communicated that way.

#26 Inder P Singh


Thanks for the article! It touches upon most of the relevant points.

I make another suggestion to retain the testing professionals in their organizations. The company/ department/ division/ team should provide a constant stream of learning opportunities to the testers. This would challenge them and help them become better in their skills/ acquire new skills etc. If this is not possible, at least some un-scheduled time should be provided to the testers so that they may get time to analyze their skills and upgrade themselves.

Inder P Singh

#27 binu chennadan

nice and clean article..great work…

#28 Amit

Sam: I knew while writing this, that there will be few who might not agree wth my way of thinking…Now here is my explaniation of what you think:

I never said that Testers are paid for pampering…”, it is this mentality which creates a gap between Developer and Tester, and results in not so good quality of product, I think we should understand one point: QA and Dev , though are two different Practices, but they are have to walk hand in hand, else your product is bound to fail..

You Said “It seems u believe in top heavy model.The organisations who believe in this philosophy tend to have highest attrition rate in the industry.”, Well I do not believe in Heavy Model stuff….and so far as the Attrition rate is concerend, we have been able to bring down the graph by this same approach…..

I myself am a Tester, and have been through all this…well for me Defect is not ANOTHER, but yes it is Another Defect which surely has to be communicated in proper maneer, and no way it should be hide, or it should be played down, but the way of communication should be different, that is my perception and have fetched me Huge dividends…may be not…chill…!!!!

#29 shankar

what is bug report & where is asign ?

#30 Ahmed

“Thanks for your nice article. before to that i want to tell you thing. I am also working as a test lead and working so many team members apparently found we are getting the resource. how ever i am not seeing the dedication among them. In their views executing the test cases if they found any defect in those test cases that’s defect else product will go with the defects. In this real time world no project has 100 % test cases. no body is realizing to that fact.”

Sam: Hi hanu. I have reply for ur above comments. First of all u should train them in such a way tat they should know the project in depth. Testing can be done in two ways a) Logical testing, wer we can test the project using logic. b) Test case testing, Just executing the test cases. Im working for past 2+ yrs in Insurance project n i dint got any remarks. I worked hard but all appreciation goes to my boss. If u team members r struck then show them the way.

#31 shankar

what is bug life cyscle ?

#32 Suresh

Hi Vijay,

Excellent article…

But unfortunately none of the above mentioned “one liner solution” are implemented in my team.

May be I can try to implement those when I become a team leader. Thanks for this article.


#33 Vishal Chhaperia

Hi Vijay,

I have to go for an interview at IFLEX SOLUTION, I have around 2.5 years of experience in manual testing, but never worked on any Automation tool on real time.

Can you pls guide me about the level of interview and how should i prepare to crack.

As far as my practical experience is concern i am confident about the project on which i am working or worked, but in times i stuck to define something with a proper defenation.
Pls tell me Do’s and Dont’s.

Hope to hear from u soon.


Call: +919830704327

#34 Pradeep Philip Marattil

Inspiring article. Better all management teams should read this.

#35 Ashok

hi iam ashok 2006 passedout i finished my CSTP certificate in black box testing from STC technologies chennai, but this one year i found very hard in finding a testing job in chennai , i never want to relocate to any other state bcoz of my family situation so plz help me to get a testing job i would be thank full to u all, i don’t have any experience and i did a project in QTP tool also iam familiar with manual & automation so help me out my no-9840500185

#36 Ashok

you can mail me to

#37 Ananya

Hello Vijay,

I want to do some certification course in testing. Please suggest me which would be a better option?

#38 ramu Alladi

Best Suggestions For all employees as well as to the management people.If uyou follow these definitely you will get better results.

#39 ramu Alladi

ya good and nice

#40 Nam Trung

That’s a great article. Thanks for your sharing about your own experiences. That’s very thing I found for my job.

#41 Nikhil Mangal

Hello Sir\Mam,
I am Nikhil Mangal persuing MCA (2006-09)
with 73% from Oriental Institute of science and Technology,Bhopal.

Looking for a major Project.

Mob: +91-9009662339

Software Skills:-

•Languages: C,C++, Data Structure,Visual Basic ,Java,Dot Net

#42 kanu patel


Explain me incident management…..?

#43 Pragnya

Indeed a good article, I myself changed my job a month back, the reason being ‘lack of appreciation for my hard work’.

#44 qtppro

Hello Vijay,

i’m totally agree with your thoughts and suggestions. i think my company following most of the valuable point you have mentioned in order to retain good testers. My company always appreciated for my hard work and gave me good incentives and promotions. Now I feel I’m part of my company and I don’t feeling leave this place at all. As a lead QA engineer I’m encouraging my team to be like me because I know our management will appreciate them if they perform well.




#45 Sampathkumar

What are the risks (In general and project wise) the team lead will face in software testing?

#46 Sunil Kumar

Its good please continue for a long term, let testers take help and suggestions

#47 jnk

Awesome! article.I have experienced all n i left the organization due to the addressed issues.I learned java to enter into development.But that has not become successfull.This has happened only bcoz of my incomplete achievement in testing.Once i achieve something in testing then i would enter into development, this is my goal.

#48 prasanna raja k

Hai all

I am prasanna,as a QA Engineer.I got this site from my friend.This is very use full one for us(QA’s).The article is really nice and easy to understand(User friendly).

I got lot of new ways for testing and how to mange the employees.Every one should be used this site and improve their knowledge.

Each and every one says”Testing is an easiest job”.But it’s not true.


Thanks to ALL………..

#49 vinoth

Hi Vijay ,

Can u give Suggestion “Basic tips for testing .net WEB Application” ,can u please sent the reply for my mail id””

#50 Priti Bais

Realy this is very nice article . And on this article I wants to follow this method in my company for improve
the work system & enviorement.

#51 faiz r naqvi

nice article..

#52 faiz r naqvi

nice and learning article

#53 Ashish Singh


#54 Ashish Sharma

Great article, thanks

#55 Chandrakant

Nice Article


I am Rao working as a test lead.
I am looking for a defined process for test estimation

#57 reza

can anybody help me for joining the testing course i’m fresher n wnt to join some testing course ,so pls send me suggestion at my mail cool_add

#58 Ramesh

i will agree with SAM comments, when the people are not dedicately work for their project, reasons might be different.

hope TL or Managers need to find out their problem and solve it instead of complaint them.

#59 Rahul


Many Times I Read your Articles its very important really as Testing point of you
I have some Dought in my mind i am working in a Product base Company as software Test Enginner i do writing testcases and execute also and maintain the bug report .but working here is not apritiate every one looking only there work so i want to leave the company for some reason i have total 18 month of Mannual testing Experience.if any suggetion please suggest me.

#60 DC

Above article “How to keep good testers in testing positions?” is one of the best article I have seen. Thanks for your efforts in sharing.

#61 Deepa

Amazing Article….!!!

#62 Satya

Nice article…

#63 lane

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#64 shwetha

Hi , am working as a software tester from past 2.5 years but until now have not been promoted to senior or lead post . Have put my sincere efforts to develop my testing skills . my team lead still points me saying am not meeting his expectations . how should i need to proceed further , can any one suggest me

#65 Sam

Hi Shwetha ,

Its impossible for ur TL to say u r not meeting expectation without giving solid justification for his statement. Pay attention to what s/he is saying about ur improvement areas, and work on it. In very few cases the TL/PL/PMs will rate u low for their personal bias. Most of the time the team members just dont pay attention to the feedbacks they are being given over the period – and suddenly gets surprised by the low rating at the time of appraisal.

All of us tend to think we are perfect unless we are paying attention to how other people are feeling about us, which will be visible in their expression (either verbal or body language).Its the duty of ur TL/PL/PM to guide u on ur improvement areas. If they are not. its ur duty to get proper feedback from them and work on it.

Last but not the least, in no reputed company people with 2.5 years of experience gets promoted to lead roles, except a few truly outstanding ones. Judge urself well, then talk to ur TL/PL/PM about what u r getting now, and what u can justifiably claim. If there is a gap, they will try to give what is due to you. If they feel what u are getting is good enough for the contribution u r making to the company, they will do nothing. If u disagree with them, there are lots of companies in the world to try ur stregth.

#66 Mayasen


Really a nice article. But I’m exclaimed, why not these kind of thoughts and ideas are get glows on HR and Senior most peoples.

If they loose an employee, they simply start wasting the time and money on searching new one. But not analyzing the root of the previous resource lose. :(

#67 Preeti

I have been working for a company for last 9 months, Has involved my self into Web Application testing, Embedded application testing. I finish my work on time and gets a lot of free time. Now my problem is what shall do in this free time. Can any 1 give me some suggestion to use this free time to improve my quality of work.
. I asked my seniors they themselves are very confused of the career path
My probs
1. Shall I go for some automated testing tool but my company doesn’t have any licensed version of tool
2.I study a lot but I don’t see any any value addition to what I am doing now
3. Can any 1give me direction that can give me enough boost to remain in testing career for as long as 30 to 40 years
Please reply as soon as posible.

#68 B.latha

can u tell me how il clear the CSTP exam? for that which material is best…i didnt any model question pattern in website?sir..

#69 Ritesh Chandawar


I am working in Software Testing from last 6 years and worked with 3-4 different managers so just want to write some positive and negative points which could affect employees moral.

Few times I observed that Managers use to point out mistakes for anyone in Team’s meeting. Though he did not pointed out using specific names but that person will definitely get suffered because of this, so team leader and Manager should avoid such mistakes which could potentially hurt good testers.

One positive thing which I learned from one of my Manager that show how you are protecting your team from senior management or from Client even you have done something wrong. Because some time it happens that Tester may slip on some basic issues and when customer or client found it they use to make big propaganda of it because they paid a huge amount of money for Testing, in this situation if Manager/Leader protects his team then it will definitely build a good rapo and security feeling in team members mind.

Hope this will help to retain good testers.] in the team.

Ritesh Chandawar
+65 9346 8212

#70 ravitejaalapti

Good one…….our company would be very successful if d strategies are implemented …Thank u vijay

#71 sb

Hello All, There is a lot of fuss about testing and test management; BECOMING TEST PROFESSIONAL IS A CAREER BLUNDER.


1. Developers vs tester ratio : More developers but less testers therefore few job opportunities.
2. Less salaries and few onsite opportunities. (Compare the billing rates for SAP or Oracle Fin vs Testing)
3. Easy to replace, therefore easy layoff.
4. Treated as supporting team, secondary treatment therefore less annual hikes.
5. Easy to come to a career end: keep learning new tools again and again; in Dev if you learn and work J2EE or .NET it is for life time. In the last 10 years several tools came into market and replaced by others Winrunner to QTP and to Selenium even though clients are skeptical about the ROIs.
6. you will be frustrated when people who passed out 5 to 6 years after you pass out from the college talk about new and cutting edge technologies that change the world – like cloud big data or great ERP and and their implantation, because you always get a chance to see the UI but can not architect the same.

7. People who worked as dev architects can go for start ups, bcz thy aware about the technology as well as business; but as a tester you may be aware of the business but not the technology and its implementations.

8. In long run, if you would like to go into Senior management companies prefer managers with development background to the mangers from testing background.

So guys if you are with less than 5 years work exp in testing, this is the right time to jump into Development otherwise you will regret for the life time!!!

if your work exp is more than 5 years, accept your destiny and drag your feet!!!

Test Manager with 10+ exp and with PMP

#72 Amar

Hi Vijay, i am working as a software tester and mine is a billing project ,and its our own product,which s ready already,i amnew to the companjoined 15 days back canyou please tell me how to start mywork

#73 Vamsi

Vijay, your insight about the topic is real superb and matured. Covering different aspects and sentiments of employee & manager with clear articulation in simple language is very good.

Even the comments from different people picked from there personal experience adds value.

Thanks for a such an amazing article


#74 bhushan trivedi

Really Good Article. Motivated Me.
Thank you software testing help Team..
Thanks a lot.

#75 Sachin

Very well written. Thanks.

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