With a war for top tech talent being waged in Silicon Valley and other hi-tech hubs around the country, firms have been leaning heavily on company perks as a recruitment strategy.
Free gourmet food, plush offices, personal training sessions at the corporate gym and time off to develop pet projects; more and more firms are upping the stakes to win potential employees over. But do the perks really matter? And more importantly, do they matter to you?
Does a lower salary at a firm with free lunches and dinners tweak your fancy? Does the prospect of 20 percent free time to work on a personal project entice you to take a job you might otherwise not have really considered? Or is it all just a nice added bonus? The cherry on top of the cake in a company you already want to work for?
I ask because recently a friend at Apple told me the company had started offering its employees better perks, taking a leaf out of Google’s book. In the past, the company had reasoned that prestige alone was enough for engineers to want to work there. Indeed, my contacts at Microsoft told me similar stories in the past, including tales of taking paycuts to work for more prestigious business units within the firm, like the Xbox group, for instance.
But the times they are a changin’. Apple’s mysterious new perk program is being dubbed "Blue Sky" and involves having selected employees spend a few weeks working on “special projects.” The firm also offers free dinner to employees, though many cynically see this as a ploy to get people to work later than they usually would.
Google is of course notorious for its campus treats. The firm offers perks like free haircuts, laundry services, fully equipped gyms, swimming pools, gaming rooms, on-site medical staff, and more. It’s as if the firm wants you to keep your work/life balance at work!
So, would you trade some salary for perks? Is there really no such thing as a free lunch? Let me know how you feel about the perk culture and whether it appeals to or appalls you.
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