Publishers Court Tech Talent with Remote Work, Flexibility

Publishers Court Tech Talent with Remote Work, Flexibility

Digital technologies have become ever more crucial in nearly every sector, and it’s not just “tech companies” that need digital talent in today’s economy. Organizations whose businesses are centered on digital technology may have an edge over others in attracting this kind of talent, but everyone from manufacturers to universities faces the challenge of competing with Silicon Valley for highly in-demand candidates. Publishers, too, have taken steps to attract tech talent by opening offices in tech hubs and offering tech employees autonomy and flexibility, Digiday’s Ross Benes reports:

Since pubs can’t match tech firms dollar for dollar, they attract tech employees by giving them flexible schedules and letting them work remotely. Publishers emphasize that they give their engineers a lot of freedom, but pubs must keep their tech work challenging and rewarding to retain talent. One way to attract tech talent is to open up where people can work. This is part of the reason why Condé Nast, Vox Media and BuzzFeed set up offices in tech hot spot Austin, Texas. Publishers large and small adhere to this strategy.

About 10 percent of The Washington Post’s 200 developers and engineers work remotely in cities like Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; and Charleston, South Carolina. Axios, which is based in Washington, D.C., has just a handful of tech people, but a few of them work outside of its headquarters in places like Chicago and San Francisco. Mashable said that at least half of its 20 tech employees work remotely from cities like Portland, Oregon; Denver; and Phoenix.

As our Global Talent Monitor has shown over the past few years, compensation is consistently the top driver of talent attraction worldwide, though work-life balance, location, and job stability are also important factors.

It’s no surprise to see publishers courting tech talent by letting them work remotely and giving them control over their hours. But as is true in other industries, even legacy media companies with relatively deep pockets can have trouble matching the salaries skilled tech talent can command in Silicon Valley, Benes adds:

Joey Marburger, director of product at The Washington Post, said some of its engineers make about $85,000 right out of college and earn six-figure salaries by their mid-20s. While that rate may be competitive among publishers, Marburger acknowledged that deep-pocketed tech firms like Google and Facebook can easily outbid large pubs like the Post.