Image credit: The Canadian Press

Five-hour days among work perks at B.C. tech companies

Businesses are fighting the talent crunch with perks like vacation cash and luxury cars

From vacation cash to luxury cars, some technology companies in B.C. are offering big perks to woo prospective employees.

Multinationals like Amazon and Microsoft have opened offices in Vancouver, while homegrown startups like Hootsuite have gained international acclaim in recent years.

The growth has left companies competing to recruit workers, said Bill Tam, CEO of the B.C. Tech Association.

Last year the group issued a report estimating that 35,000 jobs in the industry will need to be filled in B.C. alone by 2021.

“The demand for talent is outstripping the supply,” Tam said in an interview.

RELATED: Google and B.C. tech firm fight over free speech in Supreme Court

RELATED: B.C. touts benefits of high-tech during Nanaimo visit

In order to stand out, many brands are advertising their culture and mission statements in job postings so employees can chose the post that best fits their lifestyle and personality, he said.

They’re also offering benefits that go above and beyond standard medical and dental coverage. Tam said he’s heard of companies that offer unlimited vacation, flexible work hours, and even one that paid for downpayments on new Tesla cars.

“Tech companies by design are trying to be innovative in all aspects of what they’re doing. So the way in which they structure their businesses and the culture they try to adopt is very much consistent with that philosophy,” Tam said.

RingPartner, a digital marketing firm in Victoria, slashed work days to five hours in a bid to find employees.

“We were at a crossroads where we’re living on an island in the north Pacific, which sometimes makes it tricky to attract the kind of talent that we want to retain here,” said Sarah Gulbrandsen, the company’s vice-president of client operations.

RingPartner’s 30 employees are required to be in the office between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday through Friday, but where and when they do the rest of their work is up to them.

That means some people take off for the beach in the afternoon, then log in to their computers at home in the evening, Gulbrandsen said.

Many parents have found that they now have more time to spend with their kids, she added.

Others prefer a more traditional schedule.

“Some people still feel like they do their best work in a traditional eight-hour workday in the office, and that’s OK — they can totally do that,” Gulbrandsen said.

Since the company implemented the five-hour workday earlier this year, the number of sick days taken has fallen 10 per cent, and RingPartner’s revenue and profitability have jumped, Gulbrandsen said.

While benefits can be used as a recruiting tool, they’re also a reflection of a company’s culture, said Leslie Collin, director of people and culture at Unbounce.

“We definitely believe in work-life integration here,” she said.

The Vancouver-based tech company gives each of its 190 employees four weeks of vacation a year, plus $1,000 for taking time off.

The vacation bonus allows workers to “to go on a new adventure and support their life goals as well as their career goals,” Collin said.

Perks like vacation bonuses and flexible hours have helped draw new talent to Unbounce, but they also help employees do their best work, she added.

“Without rest you’re really not able to be fresh with ideas or collaboration or creativity, which is really what we believe makes us successful as a company,” Collin said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Agreement announced in partnership with 14 central and north coast First Nations

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Local artist Danika Naccarella commissioned to design artwork for Northern Sea Wolf

The Sea Wolf symbolizes family, loyalty and the protection of those travelling their waters.

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

B.C. soldier shot down a century ago to be honoured

Norman Stuart Harper, of Kamloops, was killed on a bombing mission over Lahr, Germany, in 1918

Trump sends letter to Trudeau calling for increase in NATO defence spending

The letter comes as tensions between Canada and the United States have risen to a dramatic high

Most Read