Do Tech Companies Owe Employees Better Benefits?by@devinpartida
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Do Tech Companies Owe Employees Better Benefits?

by Devin PartidaMarch 15th, 2023
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The Great Resignation has put a new spotlight on employee benefits. 64% of tech leaders say it’s getting harder to fill open positions. The tech and media sector has a turnover rate of 12.9%, compared to a 10.6% average across all industries.
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The Great Resignation has put a new spotlight on employee benefits. People are changing careers at record rates, and as they do, it seems everyone’s tolerance for inadequate benefits is nosediving. Where does that leave the tech industry?

Tech giants have a reputation for employee perks. When anyone thinks of working for Google or Facebook, they likely conjure up images of bean bag chairs, ping pong tables and laid-back dress codes. But with 64% of tech leaders saying it’s getting harder to fill open positions, is that still the case, and are these benefits enough?

What Benefits Do Tech Companies Offer?

To understand if tech companies should offer better benefits, you first have to look at what they do offer. Generally speaking, the tech industry is still one of the best when it comes to how many perks workers have.

A 2022 study from Smartest Dollar ranked the information sector as the fourth-best for employee benefits. Professional and technical services, which some tech businesses fall under, ranked third. In these industries:

  • At least 89% of workers had paid holidays and vacation time
  • 87% or more had health insurance
  • 78% had retirement plans

Job comparison site Comparably found similar results in its Best Perks and Benefits list for 2022. Tech giants like Microsoft, Adobe, Meta and Uber dominated the list of 100 companies, which Comparably compiled through an anonymous worker survey.

If you look through the employee responses Comparably highlights on their list, you’ll notice a similar theme across the top tech companies. Workers praise their workplaces for medical benefits and compensation packages more than anything else. Interestingly, the perks many may associate with tech companies — things like games throughout the office and free drinks — don’t appear much in this feedback.

Are Those Benefits Enough?

These surveys make it seem like the tech industry offers more than enough benefits, but employment trends tell another story. There’s still a growing cybersecurity skills gap, and it’s not just because demand alone is rising for these positions. Tech workers also report being generally unsatisfied with their jobs, despite what these benefits surveys might suggest.

The tech and media sector has a turnover rate of 12.9%, compared to a 10.6% average across all industries. That’s the second-highest churn rate of any sector, with only professional services ranking higher at 13.4%.

Similarly, tech employees today report high stress levels at work. More than 42% of tech workers say they experience high levels of burnout, and another 30% say they’re moderately burnt out. This exhaustion at the workplace drives workers away, and the industry’s high turnover suggests that the benefits companies offer aren’t doing enough to make up for it.

Where Do Tech Companies Need to Improve?

If tech companies offer more benefits than other businesses, but their employees are still unsatisfied, where does the problem come from? The answer lies in the discrepancies between what employers provide and what employees say they want. It’s less a matter of the number of perks and more an issue of what those benefits are.

Work-life balance presents one of the biggest gaps between employees’ needs and available benefits. Tech workers want more flexibility, especially if it helps them look after and spend time with their families, but few have it. The U.S. is one of the only nations without a paid maternity or paternity leave mandate, leaving it to employers to provide this flexibility, but many don’t.

Going back to the Smartest Dollar study, you’ll find these are the areas where tech scores the lowest. Just over half of information workers have paid family leave, and only 34% have flexible hours. At the same time, 63.6% of employees across all industries say they want family perks like this more than anything else, according to a 2022 Deputy study.

Schedule flexibility is a big part of that equation. The Deputy report found that 27.6% of workers would change their minds about leaving their job if they had regular remote work options. Almost a quarter said the same about flexible hours. If tech businesses want to reduce churn, they should focus more on these benefits.

Gender inequality is another big issue to tackle. Almost three-fourths of women in computer jobs say they’ve faced gender discrimination at work, compared to the 50% average across all positions. Relatedly, only 38% of women who majored in computer science are working in the field. 

Discrimination, pay gaps, toxic workplace cultures and a lack of female leadership drive women out of the field. When half of the available workforce doesn’t feel comfortable working for you, it’s hard to attract and retain talent. Tech companies should consider these factors when considering how their work environments and benefits impact retention, too.

Tech Companies Need to Adapt to Their Employees’ Needs

Many tech companies offer a lot more benefits than businesses in other industries. Still, there’s a disconnect between what these employers provide and what workers want.

If the tech industry wants to fix its labor issues, it must adapt to meet these needs. Closer collaboration and communication with workers will help employers find where they’re not providing for their workforce, showing them how to improve. As businesses shift and offer more flexibility, workplace fairness and family benefits, the tech industry can become a better place to work.