Would Technologists Work for an Unethical Company?

Would you work for an unethical company—even if that company paid you a lot of money?

That topic seems to come up every time a major corporation is dinged for behind-the-scenes malfeasance. According to Blind, which launches anonymous surveys on a range of issues, a majority of those who work in tech would refuse to work for an organization they thought was immoral. 

Specifically, some 57 percent of technologists said they wouldn’t work for a particular company because of moral reasons. That’s in stark contrast to the 21 percent who said they’d work for any company. Another 21 percent said they’d put aside their ethical issues if the company in question paid them sufficiently and/or fulfilled some personal need (such as immigration status or work-life balance). The survey’s sample size was 2,284 verified tech professionals. 

“For every company, you can come up with reasons unless you work for a charity, missionary or non-profit,” one anonymous Facebook employee told Blind. “Even for non-profits, there might be reasons. Please don’t kid yourself.”

Other technologists said they’d never work for particular industries, such as advertising or gambling, which they view as inherently immoral. “Professionals are making employment decisions based on their values and sense of ethics,” Blind concluded. “Job seekers are rich with choice in today’s job market, but many say they are not willing to work at companies perceived as disreputable, immoral or otherwise controversial.”

Blind’s current survey echoes an earlier one that asked technologists if they’d organized or participated in a walkout or sickout at their company in the past year and a half. Those employees constituted a very small percentage of companies’ overall workforces, especially at tech giants such as Microsoft and Tesla. In other words, despite all the headlines in recent years about employees protesting company policies (such as military contracts), the number of employees willing to walk out the door over their beliefs might ultimately be quite low.

But even if they’re not willing to protest their current employer, technologists clearly pay attention to how companies behave—and that behavior will influence their decision-making when it comes time to find a new job. 

6 Responses to “Would Technologists Work for an Unethical Company?”

  1. I once came across a help-wanted ad from a collections agency that had harassed my phone excessively, they were looking for someone to do SQL work LOL.

    But I do wonder: who do they have on staff at Oracle? I doubt it is anyone ‘ethical’.