By Robert Stitt
Many articles are written about tech startups and the millions of dollars to be made in the tech industry. Most people envision the lives of tech company employees the way they are depicted in movies and are likely thinking about Google: employee sleep pods, bowling alleys, yoga and fitness classes, all-you-can-eat food, “team” everything, and an “us” approach to problem-solving. All of this with 6-figure incomes.
Apparently, it’s not all Hollywood smoke and mirrors, either. According to employee satisfaction surveys by Glassdoor.com, as of the start of this last year Google was the number one place to work in America for employee satisfaction.
Don’t be fooled by this rating, however. Just because Google is #1, it doesn’t mean other employees in Silicone Valley and/or at other tech firms have the same feelings. In fact, there were no other tech firms, not even Microsoft or Facebook, in the top 50.
This is not surprising when you consider the New York Times expose on the $250 billion giant, Amazon, which included such employee quotes as, “You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face. Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk” and “When you have so much turnover, the risk is that people are seen as fungible. You know that tomorrow you’re going to look around and some people are going to have left the company or been managed out.”
According to USA Today, app maker TINYpulse uses weekly surveys to monitor employee attitudes. The results from the surveys showed that tech workers had the lowest happiness level of any business sector in America. They may have amazing salaries, but according to the surveys they are not feeling the love. In fact, even plumbers and public school teachers are happier and feel more opportunity for growth.
While tech workers show up for work every day and complete their tasks, only 28 percent of them know their company’s mission and values, and just 19 percent reported being happy at work. The tech industry does offer professional development, but the employees overwhelming felt it was not consistent with their job requirements and did not prepare them for other opportunities.
Will management listen to these survey results and make changes? Don’t count on it. As long as the companies are making billions of dollars and there is a line of eager young recruits going out the door and around the block, things are not going to change anytime soon.