During the dot-com boom, employers rolled out the red carpet and waved fat checks at tech talent. Today's carrots aren't 20% raises and signing bonuses, but rather 20%-off coupons on car rentals. But could job-perk programs be making a comeback?The days of wage-wars and on-site playrooms for employees' dogs are long gone at most companies. But with some employers making dire forecasts of impending brain drain -- including shortages of rare blends of business/tech/people-skills -- some companies are getting ready to tussle for talent now.
Outsourcing and staffing firm Yoh this week rolled out its new Advantage rewards program to attract and retain consultants. The plan includes discounts and rebates on car rentals, cell phones, office supplies, computers, gadgets -- including iPods -- and price reductions on training classes for skill certification programs.
Among the talent that Yoh's having a tough time finding now are SAP functional consultants, not to mention expertise in other professions such as civil engineers and clinical researchers.
"We're being proactive, trying to stay ahead of the curve," says Jim Lanzalotto, VP of strategy and marketing at Yoh. While pay also has been creeping up for some skills, the discounts are an extra carrot to wave, especially at consultants who are often on the road a lot and work on temporary gigs, he says.
"We offer health care and wellness plans, but we can't offer flex-schedules or bring-your-pet-to-work days," he says. "The discounts are evergreen and easy to do."
Other companies also are coming up with plans to help attract and retain tech talent.
IT staffing and outsourcing firm Hudson is rolling out new perks for consultants in 2008.
"The program will afford Hudson contractors with access to private shopping events and exclusive discounts on more than 22,000 brand name products and services, including Target, Coach, Barnes & Noble, and Dick's Sporting Goods," says Hudson executive VP Tim Bosse in an e-mail interview with InformationWeek.
"The details are still being sorted out, but Hudson wants to do everything it can to take care of its consultant base and this is just one more way for us to let them know they are valued and appreciated," he says.
So, what goodies do you think will keep your tech staff happy?