Over the years since its creation in 2007, Glassdoor, the site that allows employees of companies in the United States to anonymously provide information about their companies, even what they are paid, has become a reference source of unquestionable value, consulted by many candidates when considering job offers. The place a company occupies on Glassdoor’s annual ranking is very important to them when it comes to attracting or retaining talent.
What’s going on with the tech sector? Veteran business school teachers like myself still remember when our students overwhelmingly wanted to work at the same consultancies or financial companies that are now replacing them with algorithms. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the 2008 economic crisis, everybody wanted to work for the technology companies: I remember all too well the interest my students showed when I invited a senior figure from one of them to a class. Now, my students are often highly critical of the tech companies. Interestingly, it’s the younger students who are most concerned.
Glassdoor’s new ranking doesn’t offer many clues as to what kind of companies might emerge to replace technology companies in our esteem. This year’s is a confusing jumble of companies of all kinds, from software players like HubSpot, which has banished the previous number one, Zoom, from the list, to consultancies, airlines or hamburger chains, with no clear pattern.
We find ourselves amid transition that still offers very few clues about what is to come. But the fall of Big (and not-so-big) Tech is worrying, as companies once associated with unconventional and inviting working conditions morph into just another place to earn a crust.
When working at Google or Facebook no longer makes you the envy of your friends, when even the founders are abandoning the ship and your own company has to try to help you defend it from hostile accusations, then something has changed. Something has clearly gone wrong.
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