Dominated by Silicon Valley tech companies, Glassdoor’s new list of the top 20 employee benefits and perks showcases the most popular and innovative non-salary rewards companies are offering their employees, based on benefits reviews employees submitted to the site. Several of the benefits that made the list are targeted at employees with kids, such as the parental leave policies at Netflix, Spotify, and Pinterest, as well as Facebook’s $4,000 “Baby Cash” benefit for new parents and a benefit at Zillow that pays for breastfeeding employees to ship their breast milk back home while traveling on business. Google also offers, in the sad event of an employee’s death, to pay that employee’s spouse or partner 50 percent of their salary for the next ten years. Other companies that made the list include PricewaterhouseCoopers, which offers workers $1,200 a year in student loan assistance, and Accenture, whose health insurance policy covers gender reassignment for transitioning employees. For the trendy-cookie lovers, Evernote offers team-building courses like macaroon baking through its Evernote Academy program.
Some of the benefits Glassdoor highlights are connected directly to the company’s line of business: For example, recreation gear retailer REI offers two paid “Yay Days” a year for their staff to spend outdoors, while Vermont-based snowboard manufacturer Burton gives employees season ski passes and “snow days” to use them after a major snowfall. Likewise, Airbnb employees enjoy a $2,000 annual stipend to travel and stay at Airbnb listings around the world.
Glassdoor points to previous surveys it has conducted showing that 57 percent of employees count benefits and perks among the most important things to consider before accepting a job, while 79 percent say they would take additional benefits over a pay raise. Rebecca Greenfield at Bloomberg adds some more context, noting that trendy perks matter much less than essential benefits like health insurance, and that workers in less prestigious or skilled professions are lucky to get any benefits at all:
Spending on benefits has outpaced wage growth since 2005, but that trend is mostly limited to companies with more than 500 workers, and workers with high-skill white-collar and union jobs. While the top companies try to out-benefit each other with family-friendly policies, only 21 percent of companies surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management offer paid maternity leave, according to its annual benefits survey. … [A] quarter of the civilian workforce gets no paid vacation time, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
“The shift toward benefits is clustered among American workers with the strongest bargaining power in the economy,” wrote Glassdoor’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain, in a blog post last month. Workers in retail and food services, some of the most common occupations in America, have not seen a benefits surge. Most workers still covet more basic company offerings. “Even though these are flashy benefits, the No. 1 benefit that people still want most is health-care insurance,” said [Glassdoor career trends analyst Scott] Dobroski.