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Marketplace

When will we see tech industry benefits for everyone?

Kimberly Adams Aug 5, 2015
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The tech sector is known for being very generous with its benefits. Case in point, Netflix, which now says it will offer unlimited parental leave in the first 12 months after an employee has a child. 

Law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe also offers lengthy parental leave — up to nine months. Laura Saklad, chief administrative officer, says the policy is about recruitment and competitiveness.

“We compete with tech sector companies,” she says. “We compete with major corporations, all who hire lawyers, and we want to make sure we have an attractive offering to those individuals.”

Tech workers have gotten used to things like fancy cafeterias, gyms and services that make it easy to stay at work as long as possible. But Bruce Elliott of the Society for Human Resource Management says we shouldn’t be too jealous.

“Silicon Valley will act as a kind of incubator … with regard to how they’ll manage traditional benefits,” he says. “And then … we’ll see the rest of the country kind of follow.”

But there won’t be free massages at work for everyone anytime soon.

“The rest of the world, probably, unless they are very successful companies, won’t be offering this anytime soon,” says John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. But he does add the attention to more generous benefit packages makes other companies re-evaluate their own, especially because a falling unemployment rate makes it harder to find good workers.

“Companies are competing for people,” he says,”and so you start to see more interesting perks.”

And rather than the BMWs handed out during the dot-com boom, he says this round of perks is a bit more realistic, like more time to spend with a new baby.  

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