The 6 employee benefits job candidates want most

Looking to hire great talent quickly? There are certain benefits and perks job candidates truly want that can speed up time-to-hire.

The 6 employee benefits job candidates want most

Silicon Valley goes to extreme lengths to lure and retain tech talent — from office puppies to on-site massages to catered meals. But which benefits actually matter to the talent you’re trying to recruit? And which actually help you sign that talent faster?

“By far, the ‘standard bearers’ of company benefits did have a positive impact on hiring time: leave, insurance and financial incentives,” says Kieran Snyder, co-founder of Textio, an augmented writing platform that recently scrutinized the performance of 75 benefits in over 300 million job posts to see which perks actually attract IT job seekers and speed up hiring time. “So, I wouldn’t ditch those. But do you need to offer onsite massage? It has no impact on hiring. How about that climbing wall? Nope. Concierge services? Nada. Puppies? Please, tell me dogs in the office made the cut!? Definitely not (neither did puppy leave),” Snyder says.

As it turns out, flexibility and work-life-balance benefits are in greatest demand from IT job-seekers, and they also speed up companies’ time-to-hire.

Following are six benefits that truly tip the scales for today’s IT talent.


Recent research from reveals that the ability to work at home is more valuable to tech pros than increased compensation. Some 36 percent of respondents say they’d take a 10 percent pay cut to be able to work from home at least half the time. Another 17 percent would give up 11-20 percent of their income, while 10 percent are willing to take drastic cuts of 21 percent or more to be able to work elsewhere.

“I’m not advocating for a cut in pay, but most tech pros could probably negotiate some kind of work-from-home deal,” says George McFerran, executive vice president at Dice. “And for organizations that can’t compete on salary to get that elite tech talent, offering remote and telecommuting options — even just part of the time or a few days a week — means they’ll be able to land those great hires,” he says.

Caregiver leave

Being able to take time away from work to care for a child, an elderly parent, a spouse or partner or another family member in need is a critical benefit for job-seekers. Recent research from smart home technology solutions company TruSense reveals that caring for an elderly or adult dependent is negatively affecting career opportunities, especially for middle-aged men.

According to the TrueSense report, 10 percent of respondents who have ever worked say time spent away from work to provide care for an elderly family member/friend or adult dependent has negatively impacted their career opportunities. That percentage almost doubles to 19 percent for men aged 45 to 54.

Related video: 10 best places to work in 2018

“It’s incredibly common in today’s workforce that employees have to take time to care for their relatives and/or parents — even elderly friends. And those employees’ careers have been impacted negatively,” says Rob Deubell, vice president of TruSense. “Women have historically done the bulk of this type of caretaking and have been more negatively impacted, but we see the gender roles start to change and shift as we look at the generations. What we also have to consider, and why this type of leave is so important, is that the average amount of time spent doing this kind of caretaking is 20 hours a week. And that’s not counting time spent caring for children, which doubles the demands,” he says.

Offering time specifically to meet caregiving demands other than for children is going to become an imperative, Deubell says, as the number of people over 55 grows.

Companies offering this type of leave benefit can expect to fill available roles 23.5 days faster than those that don’t, according to Textio’s analysis.

Adoption leave

The adoption process is not only costly, it’s extremely lengthy and time-consuming. Potential adoptive parents need ample time for applications, travel, interviews, screenings, home visits and the like, not to mention time to bond with a new family member or members once adoption is complete. Companies that offer this type of leave can expect to fill roles 22.0 days faster than companies that don’t, according to Textio’s data.

On-site gym

“Clearly, leave is important, but if you must have one ‘Silicon Valley style’ perk on offer, it should be an on-site gym,” Snyder says. Textio data also shows that companies offering an on-site gym fill positions 19.7 days faster than companies that don’t offer this benefit.

Performance-based incentives

From cash bonuses to stock options, profit sharing and other incentives, companies that offer these types of benefits can expect to fill vacant roles 19.5 days faster than companies that don’t, according to Textio’s analysis.

Family leave

Whether candidates need time to care for children, parents, spouses, partners, siblings or any other-family related situations, this more general leave benefit can offer that flexibility.

“Caregivers who are employees need these benefits, not just to take care of their family members, but to relieve their own stress and make sure they’re healthy, too,” says Deubell. “We saw in our research that 12 percent of respondents say taking care of elderly family members and/or friends stresses them out — and that’s not even taking into account those who have children they’re also taking care of. The fact that worry, anxiety and stress can exacerbate poor health or make existing conditions worse means you’ll end up needing more sick time for yourself.”

Offering leave means a more comfortable, focused, engaged and productive employee at work, Deubell adds. Organizations that offer this benefit can expect to fill available roles 17.5 days faster than companies that don’t, according to Textio’s analysis.

It’s also important to note that the language you use when crafting your job descriptions is important, Snyder says. Textio’s analysis shows that, while offering “vacation” as a benefit can actually slow down your hiring process, “leave” is clearly a necessity for job-seekers.

“The fact that ‘vacation’ can actually slow down the hiring process just goes to show that how you talk about your leave will impact who applies. Language is always changing, and ‘leave’ is hot today, whereas ‘vacation’ is passé,” Snyder says.

For the full list of benefits that speed (or slow down) time-to-hire, and more analysis of the data, check out Textio’s blog post on 20 benefits that speed up hiring and 5 that slow it down.

Related staffing and hiring articles:

SUBSCRIBE! Get the best of CIO delivered to your email inbox.