Although it might seem to outsiders that technology is primarily a young person’s game, recruiters and hiring managers know that the industry employs workers of every age. Some of these older technologists are also the most valuable when it comes to enacting corporate strategies. Take Amazon Web Services, for instance, which depends on the advice and guidance of tech luminaries such as James Gosling (co-inventor of Java; 62 years old) and Tim Bray (co-inventor of XML; 61 years old). Or Google, which relies on the advice of Vinton Gray Cerf, 74 years old and widely credited as one of the “fathers of the Internet.”
When we launched Dice’s Ideal Employer survey, we asked our 5,000+ respondents for their ages, and then analyzed that data in aggregate against the data from our other questions. The results gave us some insight into what tech pros value in an Ideal Employer, as well as the ideal companies for various age groups.
For technology professionals between the ages of 18 and 35 (i.e., the Millennials), the Ideal Employer was Google, followed by Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. That certainly makes sense: tech pros in this demographic highly value a positive and dynamic workplace culture, and all of those companies spend a lot of money and resources to deliver on that front. Younger workers, like their older peers, also enjoy a competitive salary and bonuses, as well as equity awards—which these firms deliver to those with the right mix of skills, experience, and accomplishment.
Rounding out the top ten Ideal Employers for tech pros under 35: IBM, Tesla, Deloitte, Cisco Systems, and Dell. This represents a mixture of old firms (IBM is 106 years young) and new (Tesla is just 14 years old), but all offer pros the chance to work on cutting-edge technologies. These firms are all pouring millions of dollars—and sometimes billions—into machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other facets of next-generation software and hardware. (Consulting firms such as Deloitte, meanwhile, advise companies on how to navigate this rapidly changing landscape.)
Unsurprisingly, gaming companies Activision Blizzard and Nintendo ranked higher among Millennials, as well as Tesla.
For those in Generation X (ages 36 to 50), many of the same companies dominated their subset of the Ideal Employer list: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook constituted the top five, followed (in descending order) by IBM, Cisco Systems, Tesla, Walt Disney, and Oracle. As with their younger peers, Gen Xers clearly want to work for brand-name companies that are not only innovative, but also provide a mix of great benefits, strong workplace culture, and financial stability.
When it comes to the Boomers (those workers over the age of 51), the Ideal Employer list is a little bit different. Google tops their list (yet again), followed by Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and IBM. Rounding out the top ten: Walt Disney, AT&T, Facebook, Verizon, and Oracle.
Brands that were more favorably viewed by Boomers over other generations included Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, as well as Verizon and AT&T.
As a group, both Millennials and Generation Xers cared overwhelmingly about competitive salaries and benefits, which came in at first and second, respectively, on their lists of important attributes. A company’s financial stability was less important to Millennials than others. Gen X’ers ranked manageable working hours more highly than other generations, perhaps because family time has become a priority for people in that age cohort.
By contrast, Boomers named “challenging work” and “positive organization” as their first and second attributes, followed by competitive salaries and an open/transparent organization. Benefits were less important to Boomers than to other generations.
Recruiters and hiring managers may find this breakdown useful. As competition for highly specialized tech talent continues to rise, companies must find something aside from high salary and generous perks to attract the best candidates. Knowing that Boomers pin their professional happiness on other factors besides salary could prove a big help in tailoring recruiting programs to that group, for example. At the same time, recruiters can also emphasize salary and perks when focusing on Millennials and Generation Xers.