Napping stations, unlimited vacation, free housekeeping and errand-running, yoga classes, on-site doctors and masseuses, gourmet cafeterias with sushi and gluten-free drinks. It's all in a day's work for top technology professionals, and employers are increasingly having to up the perk ante to attract them.
"Technology professionals often view what they do for a living as more of a lifestyle than an occupation," says Shravan Goli, president, Dice. "They are drawn to learning and innovative ideas. Attracting these professionals requires a package of compensation and perks that enhances their minds and bodies, as well as their wallets."
Dice recently drilled down into the workplace perks and special benefits offered most frequently by employers in four hot fields: software engineering, cloud computing, big data, and mobile development.
Attracting these technology professionals requires a package of compensation and perks that enhances their minds and bodies, as well as their wallets.
Across each field, one perk cracked the top three in popularity with every niche of highly skilled tech pro: a free lunch. And they say there's no such thing.
Dice claims when companies offer free lunches it shows employees they value efficiency, employees' health and the team building aspect of shared meals.
In that regard, Dice says lunch on the house - in the house- squares with other perks that topped the lists for each field, including free gym memberships and sponsored social events, all indicating an employer that is taking steps to create a “one team” culture.
Tuition reimbursement programs also showed up across each of the categories Dice analyzed. However, this benefit resonated most highly with employers seeking to find talent in the software engineering field. The unemployment rate stood at 2.7% for software developers for the fourth quarter of 2013, versus the 3.5% rate across all technology fields.
But is all this free stuff really necessary to attract the top tech talent?
Tom Foremski is a former Financial Times journalist reporting on Silicon Valley at the intersection of media and technology. He wrote this piece last year in Silicon Valley Watcher that said, no, it's not necessary. And he backed that up with interviews from some top Silicon Valley tech employers.
Google claims no job applicants ask about work perks, and no one turns down a job based on what perks are available.
Todd Carlisle is the HR Director at Google. He said no job applicants ask about work perks, and no one turns down a job based on what perks are available.
Foremski also talked with Jedidiah Yueh, CEO of virtual database company Delphix, and asked if the company recruits top engineers with its game rooms and so on.
“No. We don’t run an adult day care center," said Yueh. "The best engineers want the opportunity to work on solving hard problems and that’s what we do here.”
That view is seconded by Dice's president. Still, if a free lunch is offered, I guess it will always be gladly accepted.
"The best of the best in tech continue to show great interest in challenging assignments, personal growth and cultures that encourage innovation and flexibility," Goli says. "In other words, when it comes to employment, they want the whole enchilada – on the job and in the lunchroom."