Big Business Battles for Tech Workers

Stephanie is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

The corporate world is a battlefield these days, with businesses of all sizes fighting to attract the top tech workers in the world. Offering everything from gym memberships to free iPads, corporate recruiters are clamoring to build a tech team that can out-innovate the competition.

Nowhere is that more apparent than Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), a company that has dedicated countless hours and resources lobbying for temporary Visas. The company claimed it had 6,000 job openings in its corporation last year. All while the company was working hard to roll out its Surface Tablet, which competes with the many top tablets in the market.

Microsoft reported its first loss last year, attributed in part to its takeover of aQuantive, which became Microsoft Advertising. The company knows it has to keep up with technology giants like Apple to continue to thrive, but in order to do that, they need to hire the best tech minds in the world including specialists in virtualization and mobile development. But with few people in each specialty, Microsoft is hoping to find the workers it needs outside of the U.S.

One of the obstacles to Microsoft's recruiting is Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), consistently named one of the best places to work. Google is known for its outstanding perks, including free use of rental cars for running errands, free meals, and free shuttles to and from work. But some of the company's best perks are a little more low-key. To attract and retain female workers, the company offers five months of fully-paid maternity leave, and if an employee dies during employment with the company, that worker's spouse gets half of his or her salary.

The hard work is paying off. Google boasted Q4 earnings of $14.42 billion. The company has expanded far beyond its initial search engine setup, venturing into mobile devices, social media, and even an operating system. Among the many perks, it's no surprise that the top perk mentioned by many employees is the ability to work with some of the best minds of our time. Collectively, these minds are continuing to help the company move forward, dominating global markets and consistently out-earning competitors.

Another company known for its perks is Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), which provides on-site bonuses like basketball and volleyball courts. However, the company drew heavy attention recently when its new CEO announced employees would no longer be allowed to work from home. It was a bold move for the company that just announced a $4.99 billion increase in revenue for 2012 -- a move that led some experts to wonder if the company might see a mass exodus in the coming months.

One of the best illustrations of the demand for tech workers was the response to Yahoo!'s leaked memo on the end of telecommuting. Soon, job ads began appearing that read, "Yahoo telecommuters welcome", and Twitter posts that invited Yahoo! workers to "come work with us." The post added, "We all work from home."

While employee perks are only part of the picture, when big businesses need to attract the best workers without spending a fortune, providing a warm, welcoming, work environment with a few benefits can make a big difference. Especially when those benefits are unique. As tech businesses continue to think outside the box when attracting applicants, it will be interesting to see what they'll come up with next.


Stephanie Faris has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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