Main image of article Is Big Tech's Era of Great Perks Coming to an End?

Is the era of great perks at big tech companies finally coming to an end?

To answer that pressing question,
The Wall Street Journal and Fortune recently examined which perks have gone away at tech giants such as Meta and Google. If you’ve spent any time in the tech industry, you know these huge conglomerates are famous for top-shelf perks such as onsite dry cleaning, gyms, cafeterias serving gourmet food, and much more.

For example, the recent layoffs at Google reportedly included the search engine company’s in-house masseuses and even the cleaning robots. Meanwhile, Meta has eliminated its laundry and dry-cleaning services in addition to pushing back its free dinner service to 6:30 PM, after the last departure of the company’s commuter shuttles.

During the pandemic, Salesforce instituted one paid day off per month for engineers and other technical staff; that perk has been eliminated as part of the cloud company’s renewed bid for “efficiency.”

Perhaps the most extreme example of a tech company slashing perks is Twitter, where new owner Elon Musk’s quest for cost savings has led him to end cafeteria services, sell off furniture, and more. Whether slashing perks will make much of a dent in the debt service that Musk owes as part of his $44 billion acquisition is an open question, though. 

Granted, most companies don’t provide extravagant perks, but that’s okay: in survey after survey, technology professionals from all walks of life have expressed a preference for benefits and perks such as healthcare, training and education, and flexible schedules instead of, say, a ping-pong table or a swimming pool in the basement.

In the latest edition of Dice’s Tech Salary Report, only 32 percent of respondents thought free snacks and online meals were important, versus the 79 percent who thought health insurance was important. While 79 percent of tech professionals prized their paid vacation days, 42 percent wanted an on-site gym of some sort.

For years, the biggest companies in tech used these over-the-top perks to attract and retain top talent. However, the data makes clear that flexible schedules and “basic” benefits appeal even more. In the end, retaining tech pros probably comes down to providing a great internal culture, a competitive salary, and a good team—not free sushi and cleaning robots.