Tech giants held on to employees by showing they care, but with a return to the office imminent, will employees be interested in returning?
Why do multinational technology companies dominate the top 50 companies? is it money Maybe: The average salary in a company like Google, which tops the list, is just under 100,000 euros.
Is it meaningful work? Possibly – the products and services being worked on are often at the center of the lives of the workers themselves, as well as their friends and families.
is it opportunity That certainly plays a role too, for anyone who likes the idea of spending time in a different office around the world, especially in the US or Europe.
But there’s another likely reason why six of the top 10 companies in this year’s Best Companies list are tech multinationals: They’ve handled Covid well.
When the pandemic first hit, it was Google and other tech companies that were the first to adopt a properly structured work-from-home plan that allowed employees to feel secure that someone was in charge.
The rest of us insisted and called IT support to figure out how to use Zoom. But the tech giants had platforms ready to go: their operations or the productivity of their employees hardly missed a beat. They had care packages sent to them regularly. Systems were quickly adjusted to minimize disruption. Managers seemed well informed.
The evidence from our listing, which is heavily influenced by employees working within the companies themselves and neighboring companies in the same industry, is that we like to think that someone quietly cares about what we do and how we do it. That makes us a little less stress and allows us to plan with more certainty.
It will be telling if this sense of organization at the onset of the pandemic will serve tech companies just as positively through the process of requiring them to return to corporate offices.
This has accelerated in recent weeks as nearly all of Google’s 9,000 employees (about half of whom are employees and the rest contractors) have been ordered to return to Google’s offices by the end of next month.
Apple’s Cork offices have a similarly stringent back-to-office rollout timeline. This is in stark contrast to companies like Twitter or Indeed, which have told employees here they can work from home “forever” if they wish.
We know from media reports over the last few weeks that this “everyone must go back” ultimatum is not universally popular with workers. Will it negatively affect the overall view they have of their companies? Or will the gourmet lunches, high-end snacks, and spacious desk cubicles remind them why they love working at these companies in the first place?
Not all well-organized tech multinationals have made it to the top ranks. Facebook parent Meta, which is one of Dublin’s Silicon Docks tentpole tech giants, comes in at a relatively low 47th place, sandwiched between Argos and Eddie Rockets.
Could that be a moral issue given the relentless public and media barrage Mark Zuckerberg’s company has faced over the past two years? Perhaps. Could it be related to dissatisfaction with handling sensitive issues like content moderation? That is also possible.
One thing that probably doesn’t matter is salary or perks, which are still among the best in Ireland’s tech landscape – there are fewer better meals in Dublin than one from the company canteen.
Whatever the reason, meta seems to be an outlier in the general trend of tech dominance.
Last but not least, this should give policy planners a sense of reciprocity for the criticism they have received recently for penalizing multinational corporations (mainly technology companies) on issues of taxation and other regulations.
For 30 years, Ireland’s deal with the tech giants has been easy: come and settle here and we’ll give you low tax rates, a decent workforce and the benefit of the doubt on any contentious issue that may arise regarding your business interests abroad.
Although we have received our fair share of criticism from EU partners for this policy, the results can now be seen in our list of the best companies. As an industry, technology dominates the top 50. Conditions, salaries, and perks generally outperform all competitors.
Will we still be so willing to accommodate the tech giants in 10 years? It’s hard to see any other result.
But not all of the implications of tech’s increasing dominance of Dublin’s best companies list are positive. There are already rumors of side effects from so many new, highly paid workers threatening at least some sense of community in the capital.
Historically affordable neighborhoods alongside the largest clusters of tech companies, including Ringsend and Irishtown, are now largely out of reach as areas to rent or buy for those not making €100,000 a year. Walk down the streets of East Wall, North Strand and Ballybough and you can see the start of a similar trend.
While chi-chi neighborhoods like Ranelagh and Portobello were once unaffordable for the non-wealthy, even areas like Phibsborough are beginning to show similar patterns. In other words, Dublin may be showing some of the early warning signs of what happened to San Francisco – a transformation from vibrant, colourful, culturally diverse mixed neighborhoods to duller, upper-middle-class, monocultural zones.
In the US, this has led to increasing polarization in the hardest-hit cities and more mixed views about the companies themselves.
There are, to be fair, equally valid arguments that Dublin’s streets are culturally steeped with workers coming from abroad to be employed by the tech giants.
In the long term, the capital could also reflect more international influences on its culture.
The predominance of tech giants at the top of the list of best companies is a fulfilled contract with the state, at least for now.
At least for now.
To find out more about Ireland’s Best Places to Work click here:
https://www.independent.ie/business/irelands-best-employers/tech-giants-hung-on-to-employees-by-showing-they-cared-but-with-a-return-to-the-office-in-the-offing-will-workers-care-to-go-back-41670200.html Tech giants held on to employees by showing they care, but with a return to the office imminent, will employees be interested in returning?