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