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I am currently hired as an IT worker in an insurance company, which is my first job. I am almost 3 years here (2 years under agency) and pretty happy at the first years because of a good experience I am obtaining, since it is just a small company with a small IT department, we touch a lot of different fields under IT (like different frameworks, languages, project management, etc). I think it is a good stepping stone for my career.

But the benefits here for an IT worker is really small compared to an IT worker in a tech-company (even other non-tech company). We have a fairly low salary for an IT professional, and we have no perks (not the regular health benefits and stuff). For instance, we cannot work from home even on a win-win situation (our office air-conditioning is broken, we are in a tropical country... so yeah...), I ask my manager about it and he said that I just cant just because it is a "corporate" policy and without a good reason at all, he also emphasize that we are not a tech company. My production is down at 50% at that time because of the heat, I actually am really stressed and I file a leave up until the air-conditioning is fixed. I also ask my manager to whom I shall ask for such policy to change, but he just advise me that I shouldn't so I didn't. And there were other stuff too.

I think we were treated just like all other departments (we can't work from home because it is not a viable solution for other departments, etc.) and budgeted as the same as other employees. I think they are feeding cat food to their dog just because they have more cats.

If this continue, I believe only those who doesn't have a choice (family and stuff) or those who want good experience (but will eventually leave) will stay. Good and skilled IT staff might leave immediately after seeing another opportunity in a tech company. And thus leaving our IT department in a mediocre state.

Is it really not ideal for a corporate company to compete with tech company in terms of employee perks? If it is, how can I convince my manager to do so?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., Monica Cellio, IDrinkandIKnowThings, CMW, jcmeloni Apr 3 '14 at 12:37

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    The IT staff in non-IT companies is often seen in a negative light, because they appear to upper management as a pure cost-factor. Any revenue they generate is indirect by allowing other departments to work efficiently, and thus extremely hard to measure. – Philipp Apr 2 '14 at 11:45
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    So your benefits are small compared to tech and non-tech companies, that's just about everyone else. Sounds like it's your company. – user8365 Apr 2 '14 at 13:26
  • I'm in a similar situation - IT worker for a non-IT company, and with similar problems (below-market pay, no telecommute, high turnover in IT, etc.). Management knows, and doesn't care. Nothing I can do (except leave, which I'm working on), and probably nothing you can do either. – HopelessN00b Apr 2 '14 at 14:58
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    Just to be clear, when you say 'IT worker', you mean 'involved in the creation of software systems', rather than 'computer equipment and systems maintenance', right? – AakashM Apr 2 '14 at 15:17
  • Be careful what you assume about how IT may be seen in tech companies as the grass isn't always greener on the other side. – JB King Apr 2 '14 at 20:59
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Is it really not ideal for a corporate company to compete with tech company in terms of employee perks?

This is a fairly general question. It is all about value to the company and how IT fits in with or serves the business as a whole

For non-IT companies, IT is a service department allowing the business to function. For IT companies, developing IT products, it is the core business.

The business will pitch the benefits to the level of the staff it wishes to attract and retain. If lots of IT staff leave to get better benefits elsewhere, then the company may look at the options available to plug the "brain drain"

It is a problem not unique to IT.

You can certainly mention your concerns to your manager but until the exodus happens for real, the company will see no real reason to act/increase your "perks"

  • I honestly think the exodus is near. Many, if not all, of my coworkers are planning to leave. Is it not possible to pro-actively prevent the exodus? I think it will greatly hurt the company. – John Isaiah Carmona Apr 2 '14 at 10:57
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    @JohnIsaiahCarmona - of course you can be pro-active, but in my experience, management and directors often do not believe "everyone is looking to leave" until it starts to happen. It is just human nature I suppose – Mike Apr 2 '14 at 11:00
  • Completely agreed about the problem not being unique and managements perspective. If I can find good people to work for 1/2 what that position pays (including benefits) in other companies then there's no reason to change. If I can't find people and I need the spots filled then I'll change my practices. – NotMe Apr 2 '14 at 14:14
  • Even after the exodus happens, management may not care, as has been the case in most non-IT companies I've worked for. – HopelessN00b Apr 2 '14 at 15:00
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I don't think this is an IT-specific thing. I think its common for the "rainmakers" in a company to be treated well. It's a simple matter of investing in the core business of the company, the people who earn the company money are those the company most needs to attract and retain in order to pay the bills, including the salary of people in departments that are seen as "cost centres", such as IT departments in non-IT centric businesses.

Lawyers in a legal firm might have better perks than a lawyer working as a legal adviser to a technology company in the same way that IT workers in an IT/technology company will have better perks than IT people supporting a law firm.

This is a separate issue from whether or not you are being compensated "fairly" for your role in comparison to other people in similar roles in similar companies.

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Generally if you want the sort of perks that are commonplace in the tech world, you'll have to work at a tech company.

Things like salary and health benefits can always be negotiated. As can telecommuting. You may want to talk with your manager to see what can be worked out with respect to these items. The issues that you've raised with respect to staff retention, reduced productivity, and poor morale are all valid. Reiterate them to management, and see if anything can be done.

But some perks that you see at the larger tech companies, like a free catered lunch, would be impractical to implement on an ad-hoc basis (how would the company explain that it is providing free lunch to IT workers, while leaving everyone else to fend for themselves?).

The bottom line, however, is that if you really want all the perks that someone working at a tech company would normally get, you need to go and find a job at a tech company. There's no obligation for any company to provide specific or better perks for tech workers, and administrative/operational issues generally make it impractical for a company to provide noticeably better benefits for one class of employees while leaving everyone else in the cold.

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Usually non-tech businesses are not attractive to IT people because the work is considered less challenging/not on the cutting edge and they're perceived as an expense instead of a revenue generator.

Anyone can choose to believe they "Build Cathedrals" or just break rocks.

It's a mistake to believe treating everyone the same is treating them equal. Some positions are required by nature to be in the office 9-5 M-F. Good managers explain to everyone that everyone is getting some type of perk that cannot be offered to everyone. There advantages and disadvantages to being salaried and being paid by the hour. I'll bet when a project falls behind, the 9-5 M-F gets conveniently ignored for the IT staff. Sorry, have to shut the servers down during business hours for an upgrade because no one gets flex time. I'm guessing people with younger children prefer NOT to work from home.

Hopefully you won't lose too many good people and find yourself unable to replace them before it is too late. A company can have a much larger hiring pool if they were more flexible when possible. I think this is the best answer as far as the bottom line is concerned. Turnover costs money. Not having qualified people costs money. People who are not happy at work are not productive and that costs money.

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