An inside look at today’s top tech employers

PayScale data on employees’ experience and satisfaction at 52 top tech companies reveals surprising insights into what it takes to attract and retain talent in today’s IT job marketplace.

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In a tight IT talent market, companies that treat their employees well maintain a competitive edge. By keeping their tech talent engaged, motivated and, yes, well-compensated, companies that focus on employee well-being attract and retain top talent at greater rates.

But you don’t have to be a Google or Facebook to attract and retain the best. A recent research survey from PayScale, “Tech Companies Compared: Salaries, Tenure and Corporate Culture,” reveals surprising insights into the workplace, hiring and retention habits of 52 top tech companies, providing CIOs and IT leaders an inside look at how to effectively attract and retain tech talent.

Diving into the data

For the survey, PayScale mined its extensive database to examine the characteristics of 52 large, well-known tech companies, including compensation, tenure and career experience data, as well as employee satisfaction metrics, such as perceived job stress levels, likelihood of leaving within six months, and whether their work felt meaningful. PayScale excluded retail workers and retail managers from their samples to focus on corporate employees; all other employees, from software developers to financial analysts to marketing assistants were included in the survey.

[ Learn how to win the war for top tech talent, and retain your best by knowing the 9 reasons good employees leave -- and how you can prevent it. | Keep up on the latest CIO insights with our CIO Daily newsletter. ]

The key takeaway from the data, and subsequent rankings, is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” prescription for what makes a “best” company, says Lydia Frank, vice president of content strategy at PayScale. For candidates, it comes down to what’s important to them in their work and personal life; what constitutes a good fit is unique to each person.

“Tech companies come in all shapes and sizes, and, for job-seekers, it comes down to what’s important in that moment, where they are in their career, what area of technology they’re in. For example, remember that ‘exposé’ about Amazon’s bruising culture? For some, that rang true. Some hated it. For others, they loved it — it came down to what they thrive on and what made them feel most at home while at work,” Frank says.

For organizations looking to become an employer of choice for top tech candidates — or to bolster an existing reputation — Frank suggests focusing on a few key elements instead of trying to be all things to all candidates.

“It’s hard, if not impossible, to hit it out of the park with every one of these measures; that’s not going to appeal to every candidate, anyway. Think about what you want your employees to say about you; what you want your employees and candidates to think. Do you want people who are motivated by meaningful work? Pay? Work-life balance? Perks? There’s no ‘right’ answer. It comes down to what motivates your employees and the candidate pool you want to attract,” she says.

Take Box.com, for instance; though the enterprise file sharing and storage company received a 91 percent rating in Employer Satisfaction, only 36 percent of respondents say they’re doing meaningful work. But that doesn’t mean these two measures are at odds or that they’re contradictory, Frank says.

“There’s so many factors, as you can see from the data, that go into making a ‘best company to work for,’ and so, like we see with Box.com, if it’s not ‘meaningful work,’ there’s something else going on there that’s keeping people satisfied. Maybe it’s a culture thing, a benefits and perks thing — but the point is, it’s different for every company,” Frank says.

Uber is another example, Frank adds. Despite the company’s recent sexual harassment allegations and response, the trade-secrets-theft lawsuits, the independent investigations and CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down from his day-to-day responsibilities, the PayScale research showed more than half (56 percent) of employee respondents say they’re satisfied with Uber as an employer, and only 33 percent say they intend to leave the company within six months.

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