The Competitive Benefit Landscape in IT

As the IT job market continues to thrive, you will continue to see a larger redistribution of leverage from employers to job seekers. If you are like many organizations, landing top-tier tech talent has become an increasing challenge, with qualified candidates often requiring a lucrative compensation, along with competitive benefits and perks. Human resource teams and IT hiring managers are finding themselves in an ecosystem filled with high-caliber candidates unafraid to reject a job offer, and are struggling to find ways to differentiate their organization and secure highly-qualified new hires.

Understanding the Current IT Ecosystem

In the long history of labor forces, there perhaps has never been a more demanding candidate pool than today’s technology workers. In fact, by 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects one million programming jobs in the U.S. will go unfilled.

In fact:

  • Between 2004 and 2014, employment increased by a whopping 453,000 people, which equates to a 3.4% annual growth rate.
  • Not only is demand up for top notch IT performers, but the unemployment rate among technology workers in the U.S. is a paltry 2.7% (less than half the overall U.S. unemployment rate: 6.3%).

Understanding the marketplace and the dynamics within can be crucial when attempting to land top-tier talent. The technology field is booming, the Internet of Things is proliferating software into entirely new arenas, and hiring managers are experiencing the increased expectation and heightened demands resulting from a candidate-driven market.

  • In the near future, employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow between 18% and 26%.
  • By 2020, one million programming jobs in the U.S. are predicted to go unfilled.
  • Almost 60% of companies report that open positions are currently going unfilled because they aren’t able to meet the high salary requirements demanded by tech candidates.
  • Nearly 41% of tech companies say turnover at their companies is less than 5% (15% to 20% would be considered normal). A whopping 79% of hiring managers say layoffs are unlikely.
  • Fully 32% of recruiters and hiring managers report tech candidates are rejecting more of their company’s job offers.
  • Some 61% of recruiters and hiring managers say more tech candidates are demanding higher salaries than what’s offered to them.

Rapid advancements in technology and the IT industry as a whole, require tech professionals adapt to new software, apps, systems, platforms, services and more. However, those who can keep up with the pace, gain experience and prove their technical worth are highly coveted and richly rewarded – usually in ways that other labor groups are not, especially where benefits are concerned.

 

Packing on the Perks

With the fierce competition between organizations and candidates alike, meeting the needs of the best applicants is becoming about more than just salary. While this is ultimately a primary driver in determining employment, many companies and hiring managers have not adjusted hiring budgets accordingly to address this growing reality. In response, companies are becoming progressively creative with incentives and perks designed to entice talent to join their organization.

In addition to the list of non-traditional benefits for which technology companies have become famous (free drinks, food and even dry-cleaning have become standard), below are some perks which are becoming increasingly common (according to a Silicon Valley Business Journal study of data from the Society for Human Resource Management):

  • More than 70 percent of high-tech companies offer telecommuting or flex time. That compares to just 50 percent of average American companies.
  • Sixty-three percent of tech companies offer travel accident insurance, compared to just 37 percent of average American companies.
  • Signing bonuses, employee referral bonuses, incentive bonuses and on-the-spot bonuses are popular – even commonplace – among tech companies. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates 73 percent of tech companies offer incentive bonuses to their C-level executives, compared to just 52 percent of average American companies. Other types of bonuses are similarly popular and are offered by anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of tech companies.
  • It’s estimated that 41 percent of tech companies offer temporary relocation benefits, compared to 23 percent of average American companies. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates 34 percent of tech companies offer paid house-hunting trips, compared to just 20 percent of average companies.
  • An estimated 25 percent of tech companies offer incentive-based stock options, compared to just 9 percent of average American companies. Tech companies are similarly generous with restricted stock options and employee stock purchase plans.
  • Today, 50 percent of tech companies allow their workers to dress casually every day, compared to just 34 percent of average American companies.
  • Tech companies are unusually generous with business trip-related perks. For example, 82 percent of tech companies allow workers to keep their frequent flier miles, compared to 67 percent of average American companies. Tech companies also allow their workers to keep hotel points and get reimbursed for personal, long-distance phone calls and Internet use on the road in higher rates than the average American business traveler.
  • It’s estimated that 71 percent of tech companies reimburse their workers for graduate- and undergraduate-level college courses. That compares to roughly 60 percent of average American companies.
  • Pensions are popular among the average American company, while 401(k) programs are more popular among the tech industry. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates 49 percent of tech companies offer 401(k) matching, compared to just 36 percent of average American companies.
  • It’s estimated 35 percent of tech companies offer paid military leave, compared to 22 percent of average American companies.

Many of these perks and ideas are worth your company’s consideration, however, it’s easy to overlook other existing elements of your organization that add value to potential candidates. For example, enthusiastic team members, cutting-edge projects, well-structured advancement plans and social conscience are all compelling elements to emphasize during the hiring process.

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