Image credit: The Canadian Press

Five-hour days among work perks at B.C. tech companies

Businesses are fighting the talent crunch with perks like vacation cash and luxury cars

From vacation cash to luxury cars, some technology companies in B.C. are offering big perks to woo prospective employees.

Multinationals like Amazon and Microsoft have opened offices in Vancouver, while homegrown startups like Hootsuite have gained international acclaim in recent years.

The growth has left companies competing to recruit workers, said Bill Tam, CEO of the B.C. Tech Association.

Last year the group issued a report estimating that 35,000 jobs in the industry will need to be filled in B.C. alone by 2021.

“The demand for talent is outstripping the supply,” Tam said in an interview.

RELATED: Google and B.C. tech firm fight over free speech in Supreme Court

RELATED: B.C. touts benefits of high-tech during Nanaimo visit

In order to stand out, many brands are advertising their culture and mission statements in job postings so employees can chose the post that best fits their lifestyle and personality, he said.

They’re also offering benefits that go above and beyond standard medical and dental coverage. Tam said he’s heard of companies that offer unlimited vacation, flexible work hours, and even one that paid for downpayments on new Tesla cars.

“Tech companies by design are trying to be innovative in all aspects of what they’re doing. So the way in which they structure their businesses and the culture they try to adopt is very much consistent with that philosophy,” Tam said.

RingPartner, a digital marketing firm in Victoria, slashed work days to five hours in a bid to find employees.

“We were at a crossroads where we’re living on an island in the north Pacific, which sometimes makes it tricky to attract the kind of talent that we want to retain here,” said Sarah Gulbrandsen, the company’s vice-president of client operations.

RingPartner’s 30 employees are required to be in the office between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday through Friday, but where and when they do the rest of their work is up to them.

That means some people take off for the beach in the afternoon, then log in to their computers at home in the evening, Gulbrandsen said.

Many parents have found that they now have more time to spend with their kids, she added.

Others prefer a more traditional schedule.

“Some people still feel like they do their best work in a traditional eight-hour workday in the office, and that’s OK — they can totally do that,” Gulbrandsen said.

Since the company implemented the five-hour workday earlier this year, the number of sick days taken has fallen 10 per cent, and RingPartner’s revenue and profitability have jumped, Gulbrandsen said.

While benefits can be used as a recruiting tool, they’re also a reflection of a company’s culture, said Leslie Collin, director of people and culture at Unbounce.

“We definitely believe in work-life integration here,” she said.

The Vancouver-based tech company gives each of its 190 employees four weeks of vacation a year, plus $1,000 for taking time off.

The vacation bonus allows workers to “to go on a new adventure and support their life goals as well as their career goals,” Collin said.

Perks like vacation bonuses and flexible hours have helped draw new talent to Unbounce, but they also help employees do their best work, she added.

“Without rest you’re really not able to be fresh with ideas or collaboration or creativity, which is really what we believe makes us successful as a company,” Collin said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Esquimalt senior’s complex getting redeveloped

The Esquimalt Lions Lodge is one of the projects to receive funding for affordable housing

Firefighters rescue horse stuck in Saanich mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Active investigation into reported sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt

An Oct. 5 allegation is being investigated by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Federal environment minister faces protesters in B.C.

Catherine McKenna defended her government’s environmental record during a funding announcement in Victoria

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

POLL: Have BC Ferry waits ever forced you to cancel your travel plans?

Many BC Ferry passengers heading out from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen on… Continue reading

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Dog psychic can help Vancouver Islanders better connect with their pets

Michele Wonnacott hosts one-day seminar in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 17

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Most Read