Silicon Valley firms top another workplace list. Why it matters, even if you don’t work there.


Google employees gather for lunch at the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. (ERIN LUBIN/BLOOMBERG NEWS)

LinkedIn released on Tuesday a ranking of the most “InDemand employers,” a list of the companies that users of its social network most want to work for. To create the rankings, LinkedIn evaluated the billions of interactions between companies and users to determine which brands had the highest user awareness and engagement.

The top positions on the list are dominated by tech industry giants: Google takes first place, followed by Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Salesforce.com.

Those results won’t seem terribly surprising to regular readers of workplace and talent news: Google topped the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the fifth time this year. Google and Facebook both crack the top 10 on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work Awards. And we’ve seen countless news reports and analyses of these companies’ innovative approaches to recruiting, attracting and retaining outstanding talent (including by this reporter).

So if you work outside Silicon Valley and the technology industry, why do these lists matter? (Beyond, of course, the fact that accounts of these companies’ lavish perks offer good material for watercooler kvetching with your co-workers.)

That technology companies such as Google continue to top workplace rankings ensures that employers of all stripes will look to them as examples for how to build their own office cultures and perks. Even in the relatively buttoned-up workplaces of greater Washington, it’s hard not to see the tech industry’s influence on our work spaces and benefits.

Glassman Wealth Services, a McLean-based financial advisory firm, offers its workers “thinking days,” an idea borrowed from former Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates. Immixgroup, a firm that facilitates business between tech companies and the federal government, tricks out its conference room with foosball, ping-pong and Xbox to help employees get through “busy season.” Vienna-based IT firm Bogart Associates gives employees money to put toward massages, facials and other wellness-related activities. Have you seen Vocus’s Beltsville headquarters? It has much in common with the sprawling tech campuses in the Bay Area.

So even if your career path is unlikely to take you through Silicon Valley, it’s instructive to watch what these mammoth tech companies are doing for their workers, because it’s likely that employers of all sizes and sectors are taking note.

(Disclosure: Jeffrey P. Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economics news.
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