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What Drives Tech Professionals – Pay or Benefits?

The tech industry gets a lot of digital ink for its unique benefits, like unlimited vacation, dog-friendly offices, and of course, a foosball table in the break room.

While these perks may seem attractive, a recent survey by the employment website Dice found most tech professionals prefer more pay to better/ more benefits, by a margin of 4-to-1.

It is perfectly sensible to prefer higher pay over more benefits, but the problem is that most tech employers associate higher pay with up-skilling. Data from Dice has shown that adding skills is a more effective way to earn a bigger paycheck than maintaining the same skill level and asking for a raise or changing jobs.

Based on this data, an employer should feel secure in asking its tech professionals to gain skills to get a raise. Companies taking this position should also fully support educational opportunities for their tech workers. Some tech professionals may prefer this route toward earning more pay, as gaining more skills makes them more valuable.

Don’t Completely Dismiss Benefits Though!

Even though a sizeable number of respondents in the Dice survey said they prefer more pay to more benefits, that doesn’t mean a significant number of tech professionals are motivated by benefits. Administered both through Dice Insights and over Facebook, the survey found 35 percent of Insights respondents saying they preferred better benefits, while 15 percent of Facebook respondents said the same.

A large percentage of tech professionals are motivated by benefits and when a company won’t or can’t offer more pay, benefits can be a focus of the negotiation. The collectivized nature of benefits like 401(k) matching and health insurance make them non-negotiable. The employer decides on what it can offer, and those who want to work there must accept it. There is no wiggle room.

Other benefits, however, are highly negotiable. For instance, a candidate who receives an offer can try to negotiate for more paid vacation time or the capacity to work remotely. Remote work is currently one of the desirable perks for tech professionals, and most companies have organizational software and structures, like Slack and a VPN, to make it work.

It’s important to note that employers rarely exchange more pay for fewer benefits. You can’t give up your 401k matching for an extra $5,000 in salary.

For large companies, offering higher pay is a direct, practical approach to hiring and retaining top tech talent. Smaller companies without sizeable resources may not be able to offer as much in compensation, but their greater organizational agility means being able to offer more creative and unique benefits. While the latter approach may make things bit more complicated for HR, it might be a bit more persuading to many tech professionals.

Let Us Help You Attract Top Tech Talent to Your Company

At Thompson Technologies, we work with our clients to develop highly-attractive compensation packages for top tech talent. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your company hire and keep tech professionals.

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