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One in three tech professionals globally have said they would refuse to work for a Big Tech company as they’re perceived to offer less autonomy, collaboration and flexibility, new research has found. Recognising a tech talent crunch, 81% of the technical professionals working for enterprise companies (500+ employees) polled even believe that their employer will struggle to find and retain talent over the next 12 months.

By contrast, the survey of global tech professionals conducted by NearForm, a leading remote-first software development company, found that only 43% of people working for smaller companies foresee the same difficulties when it comes to retaining and recruiting those in technical roles.

Employees are also finding that bigger is not always better when it comes to keeping pace with transformed ways of working and recalibrated employee priorities. With over three quarters (78%) of professionals now valuing the learning and lifestyle components of their overall working experience – learning, culture, remote working, and flexible hours – over more tangible factors such as benefits and office location which have typically been packages offered by larger tech firms, businesses are being asked to offer a much more agile and holistic employee experience.

Sonya Hogan, Technical Director, NearForm commented: “With businesses of different sizes offering a unique experience, choosing where to work is largely down to personal preference, which may change over time. For instance, if a tech professional is looking to learn from others and build up their expertise, a large corporation is likely to be more appealing. 84% of those surveyed said learning opportunities are a must so there is likely to be a pull towards large corporations that can offer robust training and development. Whereas if they are at a point in their career where they want the space to try new things, a small or medium sized company is likely to be the best fit.”

“Larger tech players can follow suit here and make themselves more attractive, replicating some of the most appealing aspects of smaller businesses, such as offering more autonomy, opening up wider awareness into other areas of the business and being able to influence these where possible will give individuals the best of both worlds, putting them in a stronger position to attract and retain talent.”

Helene Haughney, VP Delivery & Engineering at NearForm, added: “As we can see, bigger is not always better. While larger companies often have the allure of a big pay cheque or company rewards, their smaller counterparts are now differentiating themselves in more meaningful ways, through company culture, greater access to clients and the C-suite, and less bureaucracy. Consequently, creating a culture that captures the best of both environments and moves away from the “grow or go” attitude that is often part of life in Big Tech companies will help them to attract and retain top talent.

“For individuals, experiencing Big Tech environments can be an extremely valuable learning experience that is full of opportunities and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, so ensuring the culture, which is a priority when taking a new role for 80% of those surveyed, and work-life offerings is more appealing to professionals will work in everyone’s favour.”

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