Tech’s Top 10 Ideal Employers Revealed

Earlier this year, Dice surveyed more than 5,000 technology professionals in the United States about the companies they most admired. We crunched the resulting data to produce the 2017 Dice Ideal Employer rankings, which will become an annual study.

This is more than a simple survey: tech pros’ responses allowed us to explore the professional, demographic, and psychographic nuances that power their opinions about the workplace. At the same time, we gained a lot of insight into a wide range of companies—as you’ll see over the next few weeks, we broke down our Ideal Employers by region, company type, and sector.

Our Ideal Employers have spent years fostering brands, ideals, employee benefits, and working environments conducive to productivity and happiness. Check out the list:

What Tech Pros Value

We asked our survey respondents to name the most important attributes of their ideal employer. In a completely unsurprising twist, “competitive salary” topped this particular list: paying top dollar for the right talent is key to a company’s ability to hire and retain talent, as well as its industry perception.

But salary wasn’t the only factor deemed important: tech pros indicated an overwhelming preference for challenging and interesting work. That certainly makes sense: after spending years perfecting their skills and building experience, the majority of employees want to put it all to good use. As tech pros get older, their focus on interesting work only increases, even as other attributes stay relatively level; our respondents clearly want to stay engaged throughout their careers.

Two other huge attributes: good benefits and positive organizational culture. In our accounting, “benefits” denotes things like healthcare or flexible hours, as opposed to “perks,” which are things like game rooms and volleyball courts. A positive organizational culture is one in which tech pros feel supported in their endeavors; in a similar vein, more than three-quarters of respondents prized open/transparent communication within their teams and organizations.

The responses also offered a few surprises. Although companies like to emphasize their perks (“We have vintage arcade machines and a beer keg every Friday!”), tech pros didn’t seem nearly as interested in such things as they did in salaries and benefits. Only a minority of our respondents thought that company equity was “important,” even though the struggle for ownership percentages and stock options is supposedly a primary driver of today’s tech pro; we can surmise that tech pros are more interested in their daily working environment and their monthly paychecks than the chance at potentially earning millions in stock options at some future date.

Only a third of tech pros thought it was important that an employer offer sabbatical/volunteer time. This is fascinating insofar as many larger tech firms, such as Salesforce and Cisco, have put quite the emphasis over the past few years on employee volunteerism. While that’s great for the community and world, it’s not something that seems to drive most tech pros, at least in comparison to things like salary and challenging work.

What Tech Companies Give

When we analyzed our Ideal Employer list by gender and age, we found some variations in company rankings—but not many. Google, Apple, and other large tech companies dominated the top of the list no matter what the respondents’ backgrounds. What can we surmise from this?

For starters, never doubt the power of a brand. Although employees who actually work at those giant tech firms might occasionally express some ambivalence about their workplace, these companies have the outward perception of being progressive, interesting, happy places to make a career. In many ways, these firms fit a platonic ideal of a tech company as a place where you can change the world in exchange for a lot of money (and great healthcare!) and the opportunity to bring your dog to the office.

And whatever their downsides, the world’s biggest tech companies do provide high pay and stellar benefits, especially to those tech pros with in-demand skills in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. In addition, these firms have spent millions of dollars and untold internal resources to create cultures where people are happy to spend 15 hours a day working. Add in an element of financial stability and solid management (other important factors for tech pros), and you have a bona fide Ideal Employer.

Even if you don’t work at one of these massive firms, however, you can still draw a lot of lessons from our study. By looking at what tech pros desire, you can cast a more analytical eye at your employer and what it provides. Are you getting what you need out of your workplace? Will a prospective employer provide a better salary and other benefits?

View the complete 2017 Dice Ideal Employer Rankings

22 Responses to “Tech’s Top 10 Ideal Employers Revealed”

  1. Kenneth Kane

    Positive culture with open communication, and leaders with proven track records that invest time into understanding, supporting and mentoring their teams (both for current skills & goals and for broader career guidance) are absolutely what tech pros in all age groups want. Excellent article!

  2. I wonder how many H1-B (and other such) work at these “ideal” companies? I wonder how much of their business is outsourced to foreign countries by these “ideal” companies( for cheap labor and to enhance the “bottom line” for those executive stock options? I wonder how many American Citizens could benefit from all the jobs outsourced and H1-B visa’d by these “ideal companies? These huge companies fly no flag – much less the flag of the United States!

    • Larry, Your comment leads me to believe you aren’t working very deep in this field. 99.9% of the American Citizen friends, associates, and acquaintances I know of that have invested the time in learning to provide tech solutions have the jobs they want, and when they aren’t satisfied, they simply go somewhere else. They interview until they here something they like and then accept it. I don’t know any proven-capable American Citizen devs that are unemployed due to lack of jobs. On the contrary, there is an abundance of tech work to be done and uncomfortably few American Citizens qualified and applying for those jobs.

      • Inna Ramos

        Bunch of BS.Excuse my language,but bunch of BS. I personally can provide a long long list of talented hard-working tech graduates,including my son and his friends,with no tech jobs. Tech companies prefer to hire H-! applicant with 5 years of experience for an entry level job over a recent graduate with no experience. American graduates find themselves overboard after graduating. It should not be this way. These kids spend five years studying hard and have school loans to repay now.

      • The whole point of H1-B visas is to provide tech talent that is in short supply. Companies like Disney abuse this system to clean house and install people who work for 1/2 the going rate or less. And yes H1-B workers get paid less. Get any HR executive drunk enough to tell the truth and they’ll come right out and admit it. Larry is right, IBM burned billions repurchasing its own stock and enriching large shareholders and executives with generous options packages and now they are low on funds to pay new hires in many departments anywhere near market rates. The line from hiring managers at IBM was, “This is an entry level position” when offering people half the going rate for work that wasn’t anywhere near “entry level.” IBM definitely does not belong on that list.

      • Nobody’s being “outperformed” by “minority” H-1Bs. Underbid, maybe.

        Truth is, most H-1Bs are poorly educated by US standards. But the companies are run by bean-counters, so getting two half-assed programmers for the price of one good one seems like a good deal to them.

        Even your premise, of Indians being a minority is a crock. There are over 1 billion Indians. Fewer than 300 million Americans. (Yeah, I know the population of the US is ~320 million. I subtracted the criminal aliens and the imported outsourcing.)

  3. Its funny how so called Americans always cry “freedom of choice” until a minority outperforms you at a cheaper rate, now you want to tell employers who they should hire… FYI: White privilege is an unwritten form of affirmative action that only benefits a certain race. Stop getting upset everytime minorities even the playing and get a chance to prosper.

    • Disney just fired an entire department of tech employees after forcing them to train their H1-B replacements and seems far from “ideal.” This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. And don’t even get me started on Google, Amazon, Microsoft or IBM. Who came up with this list?

  4. It Gator

    Cisco was good to me for 20 years, then out of the blue I found out I have been Let go without any reason. My department has plenty of work supporting our partners so the reasoning for letting several of us go is questionable. It seems that more jobs are moving to India now and the US employees are being let go in mass. Just when you think the economy is improving in the US big business is downsizing and putting more in the unemployment line.

  5. As usual, Dice evaluation of employers only include the very largest employers. I work for a small company of only 200 or so people and I would MUCH rather work for them then ANY of the companies listed above.

    I believe there is an issue with Dice’s survey methodology in that companies that are widely known and have lots of engineers will always come out on top of smaller shops regardless of their relative quality as companies to work for.

  6. I’ve worked for Cisco and was part of the cohort of oldsters laid off a few years ago. Now I’m in a small IT shop of about 100 people, where the staff are truly diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, etc. We get much more done per person.

  7. These are more typical lies sponsored by these companies who clearly value their foreign H-1b workers over American workers.

    I’ve been in IT for more than 25 years including years at Microsoft and can HONESTLY tell you that most companies today try to force their senior American employees to teach the H-1b workers – BECAUSE THE VAST MAJORITY OF H-1b WORKERS AREN’T CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB.

    It’s mainly the Indian workers who stick together to help promote each other and work against the American workers.

    If you want to cry “White Privilege” then you must be another little racist snowflake and can kiss my lower parts.

    If this is the type f lies that Dice wants to spread, then I’m unsubscribing.

  8. Why is it assumed that American employees are white?…the U.S. has its own diversity without seeking foreign workforce which may or may not be white, male, straight etc. It is true however that one region is way over-represented in H1Bs.

    I notice that many of these companies are known for being less appealing for women….Google was just all over the news for their latest debacle, Facebook has its own issues. I’ve not looked at the others.

    Of these companies 2 have female CEOs,and one of those is not a full CEO but a co-CEO.

    South Asians are more represented than women with two full CEOs.

    I am sure if I looked more closely at their board at C-suite it would be just as dismal. And don’t give me the merit thing because merit is rife with inherent bias.

  9. This reads like a list of top H1B employers. How can Disney be rated the top employer after wiped out an entire IT division and made them train the h1b replacements. IBM just wiped out telecommuting.This reads like a list of employers they will F you over if you’re an American. It seems dice has become a paid cheerleader for the most abusive and politically corrupt companies in America.

  10. Matthew Anders

    Do not forget Alllianz USA in Golden Valley, MN. They killed off their entire IT department and brought in guess who?? IBM and their “proven method” of using contractors to support their nepotism workers. I once heard some fat son of an IBM employee spend 40 minutes of customer time giving his wife technical support on a remote control at his home!! Then they wanted me to train him on setting up printers, the fat f*cker!! Another IBMer on site told me he got his wife a job there too! IBM claims they save the customer money but have plenty of money to fly in “consultants” from the West Coast!?!?

  11. Faugh! How many of these have you worked for?

    I’ve worked for Amazon, and while it has some redeeming qualities, their churn rate is enormous and they don’t have any qualms about importing labor to displace Americans. In fact, I personally have seen them bring in a “consultant” to teach a manager how to get around the US immigration/employment laws.

    If you glad-hand the right person, play a good game of politics, and keep a low profile – or if you’re an absolute rock-star – you’ll do okay. But the word from the inside is, “You’ll never even hear the whistle of the axe when it drops”.

    Disney is another of those companies that is importing outsourcing, and Microsoft laid off something like 5000 US technical personnel just to turn around and hire 4000 H-1Bs.

    I’d say your list needs some work. (And how much did these companies pay to be on the list? Or were you just a-critically misinformed?)

  12. I worked at Amazon. It was the second most-political asylum I’ve ever seen. Some cool people there. Some insane managers. No qualms about screwing over Americans for the benefit of foreigners – even to the point of hiring consultants to skirt immigration law.

    Given a choice, to work there again, I’d prefer not.

  13. Of the 10 companies listed, here’s how the age statistics play out. Average of employees:
    Facebook — 28
    Google — 29
    Amazon — 31
    Apple — 31
    Microsoft — 33
    IBM — 38
    Oracle — 39
    Cannot find information on the other three. (i.e. average age of *tech* employees) Walt Disney, Tesla, Cisco Systems

    Age discrimination continues to be rampant in IT.