Note: For current data, see the 2021 List of Top Employers Winning Tech Talent
For many job candidates, changing jobs requires a massive amount of networking willpower, in-depth research, and interview preparation. We at Hired do our part to ensure that the application process is smooth and efficient for technical workers, but in the end, it’s the candidate’s personal preferences that guide their final decision to sign on the dotted line.
Knowing what it takes to attract highly skilled candidates, company leaders are doing everything they can to stand out. They’re knocking down walls, literally, and removing office doors in favor of open-floor plans that encourage collaboration and transparency. They’re setting up ping-pong tables in break rooms and stocking office kitchens with free cereal and beer, and they’re providing treadmill- or standing-desk options to cater to health-conscious employees.
But for most employees, those office perks do little to move the needle on interest in working for a company. It’s true that those benefits are popping up more frequently, but employees are more interested in working for companies that cater to what they value most. “Value” is subjective to each candidate’s preference and can be defined as compensation and benefits, company culture, or the opportunity to learn new skills; and thanks to new options, the ways candidates can assess value are continuing to grow. But what are today’s technical workers ultimately looking for in a job offer?
“Value” is subjective to each candidate’s preference and can be defined as compensation and benefits, company culture, or the opportunity to learn new skills”
In order to answer this question, we surveyed Hired users to see which companies have the strongest employer brand, and how our users evaluate the jobs or work they find worthwhile. Their responses, combined with our proprietary data, show that although the job search is an individual process, there are lessons to be learned about what matters most to technical candidates — from San Francisco to Singapore, and everywhere in between.
To better understand what candidates most often value in a potential employer, we sought to identify the most attractive companies in tech, by surveying our exclusive pool of qualified technical talent in software engineering, product management, design, and data science to determine which companies interest them most. Across all cities, we provided candidates with the opportunity to select from a list of top local companies, as well as the opportunity to write in companies they found attractive that may be headquartered in another city. Each company on the list was included in the market nearest to where they are headquartered.
While hot global brands such as SpaceX, Google, Shopify, Tesla, and Netflix topped the list, geographic breakdowns revealed a more diverse mix. For example, startups like SendGrid ranked the highest in Denver, while traditional financial services companies like Capital One received the highest scores in Washington, DC. Redfin, a newly public company as of this year, topped the list in Seattle.
Not surprisingly, the most appealing companies for San Francisco’s tech workers are also some the most well-known and fastest growing brands in the world, like Google, Facebook, and Netflix.
What stands out in San Francisco more than any other market is that every company is a dream destination for someone. Even the lowest ranked companies in the survey had at least 25% of in-demand technology candidates say they would love to work for them.
In Los Angeles, while SpaceX is on the cutting edge of outer space exploration, some may be surprised that Fandango (founded in 1999) also made Los Angeles’ top ten list at #7. Dating platforms Tinder and eHarmony’s brand positivity scores also ranked in the top ten.
From tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft to fast-growing startups like OfferUp, Seattle is one of the top technology hubs in the world. While many may assume that a tech giant like Amazon would be the most attractive company for top tech talent in Seattle, recently-public residential real estate company Redfin ranked #1 in the city, followed by Zillow Group. Companies outside of the technology industry, like Costco and Alaska Airlines, also made the top-ten list.While Boeing is not a new company in the tech scene, recent forward-thinking investments may help explain why it ranks number one on Chicago’s top employer brand list. This month it was reported that the company is set to acquire longtime partner Aurora Flight Sciences, a company working with Uber to develop autonomous aircraft the tech giant could one day operate as air taxis.
Although Chicago’s lower cost of living has made it an attractively affordable location for San Francisco and Seattle transplants in the past, over 80% of Chicago respondents indicated that they would want to work in a location outside Chicago — substantially more than most other cities we surveyed. This might mean that Chicago could see an exodus of experienced technology talent over the coming years.
In Austin, Dell is ranked number 10 on the brand positivity score, while more mid-sized companies like Indeed, RetailMeNot, and HomeAway rank the highest, revealing that Austin workers prefer smaller, more niche companies.
Findings also reveal that Austin workers are team players, placing “the team I would be working on” in their top three far more frequently than other markets. Neither large companies nor small companies have an advantage. Ultimately, companies with strong cultural appeal who offer not only competitive compensation, but also growth opportunities should be able to compete with anyone.
Denver’s tech market is less mature than other hubs, so the most desirable companies to work for in Denver aren’t yet household names. SendGrid, which powers the transactional and marketing emails of some of the world’s largest companies, landed at the top of Denver’s brand positivity index, followed by Tendril and Arrow Electronics.
Denver was also one of the most popular destinations for tech candidates in other location to consider moving. Based on strong local loyalty and high interest from outside the Denver area, we expect Colorado to experience strong net inflows of tech talent over the coming years.
New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and the choices on this top ten list are no exception. The Big Apple’s most appealing brands fall into a range of sectors, including media, web development, fitness, big data, education and even insurance. Squarespace sits at the top of the list followed by Bloomberg, Tumblr, Vice and Bitly.
When we asked respondents why they did not want to work at some companies, 74% of potential candidates in New York listed lack of interest in the company. New Yorkers were also much less concerned about working for a company with a “poor reputation,” at 33%, compared to respondents in other cities. Chicago, Denver, Melbourne and San Francisco, for example, ranked poor reputation as the top reason for giving a company a low ranking, at over 60%.With recent partnerships with hot companies like Snapchat, it’s no surprise that TripAdvisor boasts Boston’s highest brand positivity score. Bose, Akamai and HubSpot follow closely behind.
More than 80% of Boston respondents said that they would want to work in a location outside Boston, citing locations Puerto Rico or Colorado. This is substantially more than most other cities we surveyed, and might mean that Boston could see an exodus of experienced technology talent over the coming years. Many candidates also indicated that the company did not matter, as long as it allowed employees to work remotely.
In Washington, DC, CustomInk’s recent acquisitions and rumors of an IPO may explain why the online custom apparel company comes in as the second most popular DC brand. Traditional financial services and consulting companies, like Capital One and Booz Allen Hamilton also rank toward the top of the list.London’s tech talent gravitates toward companies outside the traditional technology industry. For example, BBC, Skyscanner, Transport for London, Deliveroo and Booking.com sit at the top of the city’s brand health list.
Xero, an accounting software company based in New Zealand, leads in Melbourne as the most desirable place to work. REA Group, which comes in second, also has the third-highest interview acceptance rate on Hired’s platform. This suggests REA has managed to cater to the culture needs of the area, resulting in a positive brand image in Melbourne and in various markets around the world.
Sydney is home to the globally recognized enterprise software company Atlassian, which, perhaps not surprisingly, leads the city’s brand positivity index — and ranks in the top 10 global brands as well. While Atlassian’s successful IPO makes it an attractive option, local tech talent isn’t shy about embracing startups like Canva and Airtasker, which follow in second and third.
With Shopify, an ecommerce platform, in the lead by 34 points as the most positive brand for tech talent based in Toronto, it’s setting itself apart as a champion of company culture. In recent years, Shopify and FreshBooks, an accounting software that comes in second place for brand positivity, have both been praised as two of the best workplaces in technology in Canada.
Candidates in Singapore love consumer tech. In fact, nine of the top ten brands in Singapore are consumer tech companies, including travel, retail and food services. However, respondents also showed interest in working for major global brands like Google, Facebook, and Visa.
Globally, just over half of respondents say compensation and benefits are the top factors they consider in their job search — which isn’t as high as we had expected. For example, only 46% of respondents in San Francisco, which is one of the most expensive cities in the world, selected compensation as one of their top 3 factors for choosing a new job. In general though, US candidates care more about salary than their global counterparts, with workers in London, Sydney and Melbourne showing the least concern when it comes to salary. Other factors are competing for candidates’ interests, including opportunities to learn new skills and finding a fit with company culture, which aren’t far behind in second and third place.
Technology has made it easier than ever for tech workers to work remotely and plug in from anywhere, which also makes it easier for employers to find and retain contract workers across the globe. Our research indicates that 13% of companies on our platform are interested in hiring freelancers, which is an all-time high (up from 4% in Q2 2015). Company leaders can use this trend to their advantage, to attract and retain candidates across the globe that are willing to trade standard benefits for a flexible schedule.
Candidates gave companies low ratings for two primary reasons. One, they aren’t personally interested in the product or company mission, and two, they are put off by the company’s negative reputation. A lack of potential for career growth was not a top factor, though it is likely candidates don’t consider this until they are serious about applying for the company.
Technical workers have made it clear that they are interested in knowing more specific information about your company than what they can find in a simple web search. We asked respondents to tell us what they would need to know before seriously considering a company — and their responses showed us that they are strongly motivated by personal experience. They want to know the type of projects and products they will be working on, and how they can personally benefit from working at a company, regardless of its size or reputation.
The nature of work is evolving, and so are the wish lists of top tech talent. Compensation alone is not enough to compete for candidates who are looking to develop new skills and be a part of a company with a strong culture that aligns with their values. A rise in candidates motivated by personal growth presents an opportunity for companies of all sizes to showcase a more holistic work experience.
At Hired, we encourage companies to be transparent and address salary up front to gain trust early. Companies should then share personalized opportunities that highlight the exact type of projects a candidate will work on. Specifics about potential opportunities for individual growth are often the intangibles that candidates value most.
Lastly, based on our findings, we recommend companies consider hiring remote workers and while also allowing their existing employees greater flexibility to work remotely. Relocating workers presents an opportunity to attract talent that may dream of living someplace else, but lack the local network to make the move a reality
We want to understand what factors matter to candidates and get them excited about new opportunities. By understanding this dynamic landscape, we hope to help companies recruit and hire with better insight. Without transparency, hiring decisions are nothing but a guessing game, and that’s been the status quo for far too long. At Hired, it’s our job to change that.
Hired surveyed 2,349 tech workers, who were provided a list of top local companies who have recently been hiring for tech talent and asked to rate their level of interest in each company. Respondents were also able to list additional companies they found attractive that are not based locally. Lastly, we asked a series of questions to determine the factors that make our respondents prefer some companies over others, and what companies with low brand awareness can do to make sure they will be considered by top tech talent.The Brand Positivity Index combines survey respondents who would ‘love to work’ and ‘might like to work’ at a particular company. All markets surveyed include: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, and Washington DC. The interview acceptance rates referenced in the report are based on proprietary data gathered and analyzed by Hired’s data science team. The findings are drawn from a sample set of more than 175,000 interview requests and job offers from the past year facilitated through our total marketplace of nearly 10,000 participating companies and 1.5 million job seekers.