So You Want a Dot-Com Job?

The average employee in the Internet industry can look forward to more than stock options, according to a study by K. Russo Associates for NewsAlert, Inc. The study found employees in the Internet field usually have good medical and dental plans, subsidized health club memberships, on-site training, the option to telecommute, 12 days of paid vacation, and a casual working environment with pool tables and ping pong along with stock options.

The research also found that the tight labor market of the past few years has forced employers to provide benefits that have not been typically offered by Internet companies to attract and retain staff.

Among the findings of the survey:

  • Vacation policy: average is 12 days
  • Birth of baby policy: 69 percent of companies offer paid time to mother, average time is 7 weeks; 27% offer paid time to father, average time is one week
  • Medical: 100 percent offer medical coverage; 46 percent offer plans completely covered by employer
  • Dental: 100 percent offer dental; 75 percent pay the entire premium
  • Childcare: 31 percent pay for child care
  • Telecommuting: 67 percent allow employees to work at home
  • Bonus/Stock options: 83 percent indicate stock options given; 33 percent offer sign-on bonus; and 42 percent offer referral bonus.

The “2000 InfoWorld Compensation Survey” found that, on average, individuals working for start-ups and Internet companies are earning higher salaries, and many more are making six-figure salaries than those at established companies. Individuals working at dot-coms are receiving higher-percentage raises and bonuses–and more feel they are compensated fairly than those at traditional companies.

The InfoWorld survey was conducted online this February and March.

“Even with the current turmoil in high-tech stocks putting a damper on the dot-com mystique, the lure of dot-coms may still make some lasting changes to the IT employment landscape,” said Renee Gotcher, features editor at InfoWorld. “Our research shows that start-ups feature both financial and organizational differences that are a strong lure for IT professionals, and this is sobering news for IT recruiters and managers at traditional companies.”

The downside, of course, is that the survey found those at dot-coms and start-ups are working longer hours and experiencing more significant salary fluctuations than those at established companies. Moreover, nearly three times as many employees at start-ups increased their salaries by switching companies than did those at established companies, suggesting higher instability in the start-up job market.

Key compensation findings from the InfoWorld survey:

  • More than 20 percent of respondents at start-ups are making six-figure salaries, about twice as many as those at established companies.
  • 59 percent of respondents at Internet companies are receiving employee stock options plans, compared with only 28 percent of those at traditional companies. When asked what was the one financial benefit they wish was offered, more respondents at established companies said stock options than any other financial benefit.
  • The top benefit that those at start-ups wish was offered was matching 401(k) plans, suggesting that more tangible financial benefits are important to those in the riskier start-up environment.
  • Although a slightly higher percent of respondents at non-Internet companies received a salary increase over the previous year — 77.2 percent compared to 74.6 percent at Internet companies — respondents at Internet companies who did get a salary increase got a much higher percentage increase.

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