What Chicago’s tech employees like about their jobs

By August 8, 2017

As Renault’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, once said, “Employees are your most valuable assets.

They are the heart and guts of a company”. This probably comes as no surprise to business owners who understand that filling jobs with the right people is essential for any company’s success. In the US alone, the recruitment market is worth a colossal $124 billion.

The desire to attract the right staff is abundantly clear as many startups try to provide a positive and enjoyable work environment for their workers, like leading tech companies, Google and Apple. While there may be an a prodigious amount of articles online which claim to understand what workers want, a recent thread on reddit has engaged over 100 users by asking what they enjoy most about their job.

A Chicago based Reddit user who works in the tech industry posted a thread called “Chicago redditors that like their jobs: what do you do?”. The individual, who goes by the user name csvscs, took to the site looking for advice after “growing sick” of their current job. Within hours, a flood of users responded to the thread, with some interesting responses. Overall a number of themes could be identified from multiple users.

The ability to work from home was a common occurrence from many respondents – mostly because of the relaxed atmosphere and freedom that it provides. One user wrote “web dev (international ad service platform) – west loop / Pays well and I can do it from home a couple days a week. Really nice to just chill with the cat at home with the windows open listening to the construction.”. Another posted, “cyber security for a tech giant. I work remotely. it’s the best”. These responses are hardly surprising as we are seeing an increasing amount of workers showing a desire to work remotely.

Another theme was the company’s willingness to provide perks and a to promote a fun, relaxed atmosphere. One user posted “I do software QA. It’s a fast paced environment so it keeps me challenged and the office life at my company is sweet (beer on fridays, games in the breakroom, etc).”

Finally, one of the most interesting recurring themes was the importance of feeling like they are making a difference. One user posted,“Applications Engineer. Look at data, gather data, think about what the data means, talk to customers about their data, recommend changes to software & algorithms based on my data. Basically I get to solve problems and prove that my solutions will work based on data. It’s pretty rad.”

Another user posted a similar response, stating “Embedded Software Engineer at a company that specializes in advanced controls for upper limb prostheses. Love the job. We oftentimes visit clinics or conferences to see the patients that use our technology which makes it worthwhile.” This idea that workers are motivated by making a difference has also been identified by Behavioural Economist Dan Ariely who discussed this topic during a 20 minute TED talk.

As Startups and business look to grow their company, it is important for them to attract the right talent, and more importantly listen to what their employees want. If this thread is anything to go by then Chicago startups should aim to create a mobile workforce, with an enjoyable company environment and above all, they should make their employees feel like they are making a difference.