When we launched this year’s Ideal Employer survey, we fully expected that the world’s biggest technology companies would end up somewhere on the resulting list. After all, many of these firms are the reason why people pursue technology careers in the first place.
Take Google, for example, which topped our list of Ideal Employers. The tech giant has expanded well beyond its original mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” (Its unofficial motto is, of course, the famous “Don’t be evil.”) These days, Google offers everything from mobile operating systems and an app store to an increasingly sophisticated suite of mapping tools via Google Maps. Via its Sidewalk Labs subsidiary, the firm also wants to redesign whole neighborhoods in a tech-friendly manner, starting with the Quayside neighborhood on Toronto’s waterfront.
Google isn’t the only tech company interested in wild diversification. Our second-ranked Ideal Employer in Tech, Amazon, has long outgrown its roots as an online bookseller, expanding into the enterprise cloud (thanks to Amazon Web Services) and artificial intelligence (“Alexa, tell me the weather.”). Third-ranked Microsoft, which spent years focused on the twin franchises of Office and Windows, is all about mobile and cloud services, with its Xbox gaming subsidiary still going strong.
Even a relatively narrow-focused tech company like Facebook (which ranked fifth) is getting into other markets, most notably virtual reality (via the Oculus project). Meanwhile, older firms like Cisco (at sixth) are seeing how new technologies such as machine learning can breathe new life into well-established businesses like networking.
For technology pros who want a challenging or interesting project, these companies offer no shortage of things to work on. No matter what your specialization, chances are good these large firms have an appetite for it. Plus, these firms are flush with cash, meaning they can offer high salaries and great benefits, and expend incredible resources on crafting office environments and culture that make people feel positive about their jobs.
Moreover, this interest in the largest tech firms stayed largely consistent across all genders and ages surveyed. But that doesn’t mean everything is fantastic at every firm; for the past several years, many of the largest companies in tech have very publicly wrestled with diversity issues, with CEOs highlighting underrepresented groups in engineering and the C-suite. While companies such as Google have plans in place to diversify their staff (as well as the educational pipeline that provides specialized talent to the tech industry), progress has been incremental.
As long as unemployment in the technology industry remains low, and public desire for cutting-edge products remains high, these companies will do all they can to attract top talent. That’s good news for tech professionals—provided they keep their skills, education, and certifications as up-to-date as possible.