Technologists Face a ‘Benefits Gap’ with Remote Work, Tuition, 401(k)

Let’s talk benefits—specifically, the benefits that employers are actually offering, and the ones you desperately want.

The Dice 2020 Salary Report revealed quite a bit about what technologists earn for what skills. But even if you’re not working in a technology segment that saw an uptick in salary and compensation last year, take heart: With additional training and education, you can tap into these areas of heightened demand that come with splendid pay. No matter what your city, job, and specialization, there’s a route forward to higher salaries and better benefits.  

And if an employer isn’t willing to discuss a higher salary, perhaps they’ll prove more open to a discussion about benefits. In addition to “traditional” benefits such as healthcare and 401(k) match, technologists are increasingly interested in “emerging” benefits such as college tuition reimbursement. 

Indeed, money isn’t everything to technologists. Last year, when asked which benefits mattered to them the most, the majority of respondents said healthcare (85 percent), followed by paid vacation (44 percent), 401(k) matching (30 percent), and remote work/flexible hours (29 percent).

This year, technologists demonstrated interest in additional benefits. Some 48 percent said that they were interested in the aforementioned college tuition reimbursement (although only 25 percent of employers provide this as a benefit). Another 45 percent think that maternity/paternity leave is important (but only 34 percent of employers offer this). And 35 percent thought that paid volunteer opportunities were a big deal, even thought just 17 percent of employers built this into their benefit programs.  

On a more positive note, the “health insurance” gap is actually pretty narrow (2 percent). Also seems like offering dental and vision insurance is important to many employers (there was a 3 percent gap and 1 percent gap, respectively). 

That “benefits” gap opens up some room for talks with your manager about benefits that might work for you. In fact, it’s possible that management has never even considered something like tuition reimbursement, and might actually prefer handing that out in lieu of additional salary or equity benefits. Here’s the full breakdown of those said gaps: 

Another interesting thing to note: There’s a significant gap between the technologists who think stock programs are important (45 percent) and the employers that offer one (19 percent). If your company offers equity of any sort, it’s definitely worth a conversation with your manager; stock and stock options are a crucial part of the compensation package at many companies, and can radically impact how much you potentially earn per year.

To illustrate, look at entry-level compensation at some of tech’s biggest companies, according to crowdsourced data from levels.fyi:

If you earn stock as part of your overall package, and the company does well over the next several years, the benefits to your bottom line are enormous. Consider that when thinking about your goals for 2020. 

2 Responses to “Technologists Face a ‘Benefits Gap’ with Remote Work, Tuition, 401(k)”

    • I don’t really think it’s tuition reimbursement that’s lacking in the ‘Benefits Gap’. What technologists want and employers are starting to give is help paying off student loans.