Innovative (and Absurd) Ways Companies Are Attracting Tech Talent
A Week for CharityLivestock, an Iron Man Helmet & a BicycleFree Maid Service & a Dinosaur HoodieA Trip to ThailandSabbaticals & PuppiesMassages and WhiskeyCash Wrapped in BaconGlobetrottingA DateEntrepreneurship ClassesA YachtA YurtBocce & Tidy Eyebrows
The shortage of computer-programming talent is persistent and growing, at least in perception. In a survey by the Technology Councils of North America, the vast majority of small-business executives said they'd be hiring developers within the next 12 months, and 69 percent said they thought there was a shortage of talent. As the likes of Google and Facebook drive up salaries, small companies are competing for top software engineers by offering a new level of perks that goes far beyond standbys like free meals, transit, and laundry service.--Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
Unlimited time off? That's so obvious. New hires at Sojern, a San Francisco-based ad platform that targets travelers, also get 40 hours of paid time to benefit others. Employees can volunteer for the equivalent of a week each year on the company clock. It's good for the community, sure--and new research shows volunteering might even be good for one's health.
Amicus, the New York City-based company that helps nonprofits fundraise, of course has a feel-good perk upon joining its team: It will donate a cow to a family in need in a developing country through Heifer International. But what fun would warm fuzzies be without some swag? On offer at Amicus are an adult mask from Iron Man 3 (why not?), an iPad, $2,000 in cash, all you can drink of your favorite beverage, and a fixed-gear bicycle.
Like many companies, San Francisco-based startup Exec, which facilitates on-demand home cleaning, incorporates its business service into its perks. Employees get free house cleaning, as well free errands run for them (another service the company facilitates). On top of that, free lunch and dinner are catered daily, and every hire gets a custom dinosaur hoodie, which the executive team is known to wear when hanging out en masse around San Francisco.
Time.ly, a Vancouver-based startup that makes calendar software, allows hires to work flexibly from home and to have a great deal of autonomy at work. But the biggest perk of joining the team? Being able to join on coding retreats to exotic locations. Its latest job posts add another, similar enticement: "In fact, if you join us now, we'll fly you to Thailand to join the team in Bangkok."
At Autodesk, an international company headquartered in Mill Valley, California, that makes 3D design software, it's common sense that two weeks off a year just isn't enough. Every few years, employees are eligible for a six-week sabbatical. There's a perk on regular workdays, too: Dogs are always allowed in the office.
Get a job at San Francisco-based salon-booking website StyleSeat, and your coif will never be unruly. That's because the company gives you a budget for haircuts, massages, and shaves. There are also regular happy hours for the team, and new hires are indoctrinated into the "Whiskey of the Month" club.
Scopely, a Los Angeles-based mobile-entertainment company, is used to putting its money where its mouth is in terms of hiring. It offers a $5,000 referral bonus, and, during one unusual recruiting campaign, offered hiring bonuses of $11,000 in "bacon-wrapped cash," along with a year's supply of beer, a custom-made tuxedo, and an oil painting of the new employee.
San Francisco-based Airbnb, which lists apartment rentals across the globe, is well known for being a dog-friendly workplace. It's also embracing its role as a travel company, providing each new hire with a $2,000 stipend to go somewhere exotic and check out the local digs. Just working out of the SF HQ can feel like a trip: Conference rooms are decorated to look like rental listings from far-flung locales.
Playing on the stereotype of the lonely, loveless programmer, Zoosk earlier this year offered to put every new hire into the running to win a date with either "Samantha" or "Steve." This isn't totally condescending, nor random: Zoosk is an online dating site based in San Francisco.
If you're working at a startup, you are pretty likely to get the itch to start out on your own. But most companies won't hold your hand as you jump ship. Enter Redfin. At its headquarters in Seattle, the real estate site not only encourages every engineer and project manager to take ownership of a "significant set of features," but also hosts courses on entrepreneurship to feed its engineers' desires to learn more about being a founder.
At iCracked, a San Francisco-based provider of iPhone repair services, the main perk for new hires is pegged to the location: free, unlimited rides on the company's yacht, which iCracked claims is "parked right outside the office on the water." That's on top of endless food, free gym membership, and "pretty much whatever else you want."
Well, hopefully someday. RapGenius, the Brooklyn, New York-based rap, rock, news, and poetry-annotation site, is building a new headquarters in Williamsburg. Its founders tell Inc. they are dreaming up some major perks for developers, such as individual huts (indoors) for each programmer, replete with all the hardware they want, and a porch.
Google's numerous perks are legendary: on-campus scooters, unlimited snacks, even allowing employees to spend 20 percent of their time on their own ideas. The search giant paved the way for a lot of the other companies whose insane perks made this list. But did you know the company also offers recreational bocce games and on-site spa services, including eyebrow-shaping? Yup. Here are more of some Google employees' favorite perks.