Tech Jobs at These Big Firms Last Less Than 2 Years

Jobs at huge tech companies typically last less than two years.

Silicon Valley is often seen as a mecca for tech workers, but a number of clues suggest that they don’t last long at some of the biggest tech firms.

Paysa recently analyzed its database and came away with some interesting results. It first isolated top tech companies, many of which are based in Silicon Valley, then distilled the list further into two groups: titans and disruptors. “We defined titans as public companies that had their IPO over 10 years ago, with a current valuation of over $100 billion, and tech disruptors as privately held companies or public companies that had their IPO in the last 10 years, whose current valuation is over $10 billion,” the company wrote in a blog posting. (The actual companies included Facebook, Google, Oracle, Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, Airbnb, Snap Inc., and Uber.)

The number-one job at each of these companies is “Software Engineer.” Jobs vary from there, but the top five positions at each company were in tech. Because of that, we’re comfortable that Paysa’s figures represent tech workers and jobs in tech.

If you want a job at those big firms for longer than two years, Facebook is your only safe bet: its employees last an average of 2.02 years. And Facebook is far and away the winner: Google employees last about 1.9 years, while Apple engineers can expect to be there 1.85 years.

These figures don’t improve with ‘disruptors,’ either: Airbnb, Snap Inc. and Uber all rate lowest on this list. Uber employees last an average of 1.23 years, making the startup clearly and distinctly the worst place to work on Paysa’s tenure list.

Longevity seems even worse when you count the days. Facebook engineers stick around about 737 days. Googlers get 693 days or so. Apple employees will be at the spaceship around 675 days. The numbers get alarming when you reach the bottom of the list: Airbnb and Snap Inc. dip below 600 working days. Uber was the only company where employee retention dipped below 500 days – but if you’ve got 449 days to waste, we’ve got just the place for you to work.

Many of these top companies are staffed by relative newcomers. Snap, Oracle, Microsoft and Apple all have large percentages of employees with less than two years’ experience. Facebook and Amazon fare better (2-5 years), while Google, Uber, AirBNB and Twitter all have seasoned vets (6-10 years experience).

Why is turnover so high? It’s easy to pin some of it on these large tech companies being a first job. Having put a well-known company on their C.V., young engineers may feel the urge to strike out and make their mark on their own startup, or a smaller company where they can potentially have a bigger impact on cutting-edge tech. The converse is also interesting: why is Uber, with all its funding and high-profile reputation, having a hard time hanging onto engineers? (We have a few ideas.)

In a broader context, Paysa’s findings seem to be another reason to avoid seeking out a big tech company for your next gig. While having a big name on your résumé might look great, explaining why you were only at said employer for a short time might prove more trouble than it’s worth.

6 Responses to “Tech Jobs at These Big Firms Last Less Than 2 Years”

  1. Frank S Corlett

    Not sure that longevity is the goal for those in the tech industry. In fact, lots of very good people purposely switch jobs frequently as they want to stay on the cutting (bleeding) edge. Maybe including other job categories in the survey, and looking at promotion opportunities and history would give a clearer picture.

  2. Longevity at a tech firm has nothing to do with employee satisfaction or how good the company is. People move around in tech a lot so that they can stay up to date with the latest innovations and technologies that are being developed. Whoever wrote this probably doesn’t understand that or work in tech.

  3. Mike Doe

    Do these include contractor and interns? If so, that would explain the numbers. Otherwise, I’m very sceptical of these numbers, based on being at 2 of these companies for over 2 cumulative decades.

  4. You're Misleading

    This is a pretty misleading article. A lot of these companies have grown dramatically over the past few years, and with any large amount of growth, comes a lot of horizontal movement and poaching. It’s not like these people are getting fired or quitting tech entirely; many of these people move horizontally to a different company in order to secure better pay, etc.

    As far as changing a company every two years: this is pretty standard in tech. Especially if you want a promotion. If the company you’re working for isn’t promoting you fast enough, it’s a lot easier to get the pay bump by switching to another company. You’ll be doing roughly the same line of work, on top of that pay bump.

  5. The biggest thing wrong with this article is not realizing Silicon Valley prohibits non-compete agreements: they are illegal. So, talent is regularly getting better offers elsewhere. This speaks more to how many good opportunities in Silicon Valley there are, for talent to be able to keep advancing their careers.