Benefits and Job Perks
What Benefits Are Important to Technologists
While traditional benefits like health insurance and paid time off remain most important to technologists, there are some emerging benefits that technologists want — but many employers aren’t offering. These “new” benefits include child/elder care options and work-from-home stipends.
Health insurance and paid vacation days remained the most important benefits to technologists in 2021, and many employers are stepping up to offer them. Eighty-five percent of technologists indicated health insurance as an important benefit when evaluating employers, and 83% of employed technologists said they received it. Dental and vision insurance likewise had small benefit gaps between what technologists wanted and most employers offered.
However, child and elder care options had a much more significant gap in 2021: 27% of technologists cited it as an important benefit, but just 10% indicated they receive such a benefit currently. What’s behind this demand? A growing number of technologists have entered the “sandwich generation,” caring for both young children and their aging parents. For these employees, typically aged 35-54 (and usually women), child and elder care benefits can improve productivity and reduce stress. Such benefits also speak to employers’ understanding of our changing culture and the demands many employees face outside of work responsibilities, many of which were spotlighted by the challenges inherent in virtual work spurred by the pandemic.
The opportunity for employers lies with those benefits with the greatest benefit gap — training and education (25% benefit gap), work-from-home stipends (24%) and stock programs (23%). With the post-pandemic increase in remote and hybrid work environments, technologists are expressing interest in a stipend to help them cover the cost of equipment and supplies necessary for at-home work.
Many major tech companies began dispensing work-from-home stipends in 2020 (if they weren’t already offering them). Facebook, Twitter and Google all offer $1,000 remote-work allowances to employees permanently working from home; other tech brands, like Basecamp, issue stipends for specific expenses, such as a monthly fitness allowance or co-working space stipend. Stipends and allowances will obviously differ by company, but they are quickly becoming the tech industry’s trending perk.
Training and education have consistently been an area where technologist wants and needs don’t align with employer offerings, and it's something to watch out for as you're looking for your next tech role. Specifically, keep an eye on organizations that focus on both being a best place to work (culture, flexibility, values) as well as a best place to learn (time, structure, money and support for professional development). These are the organizations who are likely to invest in you and your growth over time.
The Benefit Gap
The benefits employees have vs. those they find important
Important Benefits to Technologists
Paid vacation days are one of those benefits that technologists rank highest in importance when evaluating a potential employer. In light of that, it behooves organizations to make sure the amount of paid vacation days they offer aligns with what technologists desire — and what’s typically offered across the industry.
Three weeks of paid vacation remained the most popular response from technologists, with 23% saying they had 11-15 days of paid vacation available in 2021. In a near-tie for second place: two weeks, which is the industry standard, and earned 18% of responses. Four weeks earned 17% of responses. So, collectively, nearly 60% of technologists report getting between two and four weeks of paid vacation days in 2021.
However, 21% of technologists still report having less than two weeks of paid vacation. While this is down one percentage point from 2020’s survey results, it’s still a high number of technologists getting less than the bare minimum break from work. As burnout remains a growing concern at organizations everywhere, offering more generous amounts of paid vacation time could be a differentiating incentive for attracting talent in 2022.
As a technologist, you can use this information to show how your current organization stacks up against those you're reviewing for your next tech role. In addition, seeing how other technologists are using vacation can be one way to keep an eye on your own usage, as either not using enough or maxing out your usage at a low volume of days can both be detrimental to your health as well as your work product.
How Much Vacation Is Available to You?
Vacation Planned to Take in 2021
The majority of employers (75%) did not make changes to vacation policies in 2021 (same as 2020). Fourteen percent offered their employees additional paid time off (up from 10% in 2020), 6% presented additional unpaid time off (up from 5%), 6% required employees to take a certain amount of time off (down from 9%), and 3% of technologists said their company is requiring them to use paid vacation days earlier in the year than normal (down from 5%).
Organizations in the tech space should make note of these trends and analyze how their employees’ usage stacks up. Low usage (or maxed out usage at a low volume of days) could result in overworked employees and a decline in innovation, quality and efficiency.
How Companies Changed Vacation Policies
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