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The time is now for tech employees to recognise their power 

Tech workers want more than ping pong tables and other perks, writes Daniel Adcock, head of people at Kroo.


Pexels/Sora Shimazaki

Is the classic top-down relationship with employers finally meeting its end? The tech industry is witnessing a seismic shift in the employer-employee relationship as we see this dynamic being turned on its head. 

According to a McKinsey survey, 61 per cent of HR professionals believe hiring developers will be their biggest challenge in the years ahead as the power shifts into the hands of highly skilled candidates. 

The competitive talent market, fuelled by the evolving expectations of tech professionals, demands employers offer more than just attractive perks to retain and attract the best of the best. 

Companies must go beyond putting ping pong tables in the office and offering a happy hour tab. Only the organisations that manage to strike the right balance between values, trust and benefits will attract top talent and, as a result, race to the front of the innovation, productivity, and societal impact that this sector holds.

It is no secret that tech companies are beginning to get a bad reputation for not respecting their staff. Talent and skills provider Mthree found 59 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 said the company culture in their tech-based role made them so uncomfortable they quit or thought about quitting. 

With the current shortage of skilled talent likely to continue, it’s time that employees recognise their power to demand what they need to thrive in their roles. Tech companies will only succeed when they put their customers and employees first.

As tech companies grow in scale and power, so does their responsibility to influence the conversation with their products, services and workplace culture. 

Tech companies are undoubtedly powering our ever-accelerating world; however, their influence can be divisive. We are seeing increasing backlash over the speedy development of particular new technology, which is being used as a force for bad rather than good. 

Meanwhile, other organisations in the sector are fuelling positive change, leading the way in new carbon footprint technologies and more. Tech employees hold the power to decide which side of the coin to work on. 

Tech employees who ultimately want better for people and the planet and are aware of their power increasingly demand ethical practices from their employers. 

This year, Amazon workers called on the company to step up its response to climate change through foreign aid, and following the pandemic, Apple employees signed petitions voicing their demands about the company’s directive to return to the office. People value working for organisations that share their ethics and have a clear and authentic sense of purpose. 

This was demonstrated in McKinsey’s 2022 report, which revealed that lack of meaningful work was one of the top reasons people left their jobs last year. 

Creating a sense of purpose will look different in practice, depending on the nature of the tech company itself.

When projected onto the banking landscape, our sense of purpose lies in challenging the traditional profit-extraction model that takes advantage of customer inertia that banks have been using to take advantage of customers who trust them with their money. 

For a health-tech company, the purpose could mean developing new technology that will improve the accessibility and efficiency of the care people receive. Meaningful work can look like different things to different people, but it unifies tech employees’ experience across the sector. 

When employees know their work is contributing to positive change, the workplace culture will transform for the better. 

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of AltFi.

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