The Perks That Matter To The Modern AWS Workforce

By Andy Fury

Here’s a question for you: are your prized AWS specialists looking to change employer? There could be many factors influencing this, or course, but it’s always worth evaluating your company perks on offer, not just for new talent, but your existing staff too. They may not be a key factor in someone moving on, but it can be an often overlooked way of subconsciously pushing people further towards the door.

Make no mistake: this is a fluid talent marketplace right now. According to the Jefferson Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: AWS Edition, some 42% of AWS professionals in permanent jobs expect to be working for their current employer in the next year. However, nearly a quarter (24%) are actively looking for pastures new.

Some 13% expect to leave but aren’t currently job hunting, and the remaining 21% aren’t sure whether they’ll stay or go. Simply put, that’s a lot of talent potentially on the move in the next 12 month. And, by knowing what might tempt an employee to go elsewhere (and making it compelling enough to stay), you can help to attract professionals to your company and retain your current staff.

Why offering a great package is so important

It’s a truth universally acknowledged in the AWS ecosystem that finding and hiring talent is difficult at the moment. Tech roles are going unfilled and pay is skyrocketing to stay ahead of the competition.

Aside from focusing on salary alone, workplace benefits can sweeten the deal, and help put you at an advantage. According to the Careers and Hiring Guide, 85% of AWS employees in permanent roles consider perks ‘important’ when deciding on whether or not to say yes to a job offer.

Workplace benefits now go beyond a company laptop (which is a given, by the way) and they sit at the intersection of wellbeing, culture and work-life balance. That’s why companies also need to consider their employer branding in how they package up their offering for a candidate.

It’s also worth differentiating between the perks and benefits that AWS professionals desire, and the ones they expect. For example, the last year hasn’t just changed where most people would like to work—it’s transformed where they expect to.

To emphasise this, 82% of AWS specialists surveyed in the Jefferson Frank Careers and Hiring Guide said that remote working is important to them. That’s a massive percentage of the workforce that could be put off just by your work from home policy, which we’ll delve into further in a moment.

The Jefferson Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: AWS Edition

Get more information on the perks and benefits that attract AWS professionals, as well as exclusive insight into the community’s thoughts and feelings on job satisfaction, how to retain talent, and improving diversity.

The perks and benefits that attract AWS professionals

Before COVID-19, the top three employee benefits that AWS professionals received were a company laptop (74%), four weeks or more paid time off (52%) and health/medical insurance (48%). ‘Unique’ work perks from the research included pet insurance, discounted technology, games room, and relocation options. But it’s safe to say that has changed in the last two years, as employees have re-evaluated what matters to them the most.

Hybrid/remote work policy

When asked if they’d be happy to work in the office five days a week going forward, 38% of AWS professionals said they’d prefer to work fully remotely, and 46% said they would prefer hybrid working.

Before COVID-19, 41% of the AWS professionals surveyed were enjoying flexible working hours, and there was homeworking for 46%. That makes for one essential question when it comes to hiring AWS pros—is your hybrid/homeworking policy attractive enough? As the above suggests, employees want flexibility in both locations and hours.

By giving them the tools they need to do their job from anywhere, amending business as usual to cater for hybrid and remote teams, and shifting the focus from visibility to output, you can create an environment where employees can manage their schedules to do their best work.

By the way: 45% of those that are looking to leave their employer within the next year said they’d be unlikely to take a role that involved working in an office five days a week. So good luck finding talent willing to commit to a full-time office-based role!

Paid time off

Generous PTO is the number one perk that’s most likely to lure a candidate into saying yes to a new role, according to the AWS professionals that were surveyed. Those in permanent roles are reporting an average of 22 days PTO a year, but this varies hugely from country to country, and from company to company. As this is highly valued by tech talent, many businesses are using more PTO to attract these candidates, even so far as to offer unlimited leave.

Unsure of the right level of leave to offer in your industry or area? With 20 global offices and experience working with over 67,000 organizations to date, it’s safe to say your local Jefferson Frank recruiter can probably point you in the right direction. [/subtle sales pitch]

Matching your employer branding

While some of the perks may need to follow a hard and fast rule in order to attract people, your employee benefits package is also an opportunity to be creative and tailor your offering to your specific company. Think about your employer brand, your strengths and what your colleagues might have in common in wanting to join your company.

The unique work perks we mentioned earlier is a great example of this. Perhaps animal insurance is offered by a pet brand, for example. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to offering something unusual—if it fits your own company’s values, culture, or ethos, then you’re on the right track.

If your employer branding champions work/life balance, are you offering truly flexible working, and perhaps higher-than-average PTO?

If you promote individual development, are you offering actively training and visibility on what their career pathways are?

If you’re marketing an enviable team culture, are you organizing regular socials (both remote and in-person) to help foster that all-important human interaction?

How perks can be used to aid talent retention

If you know what might attract a great candidate you know what might keep them too. Perks and benefits aren’t just for new hires—they’re equally as important in your retention strategy.

Compensation is important (and you can look to the salary tables in the Careers and Hiring Guide to benchmark what you’re offering), but perks add to the package that you’re creating, and can help you stand out. So if you can’t negotiate on salary, maybe you can offer flexible hours or additional PTO instead.

Remember, the perks you aren’t offering could be amongst those your competitors for AWS talent are. That’s not to say that you need to offer everything to employees in order to keep up, but something that reflects who you are as a business can often be enough, and as we’ve addressed earlier, can differ due to the natural differences that organizations can have in terms of culture and purpose.

Training and development

According to the results in the Careers and Hiring Guide, training and development is also increasingly among the top reasons that candidates say they’re looking to change roles. Talented tech professionals want to grow and learn throughout their career, and an environment that fosters this development is usually on their criteria list when job hunting.

Specifically, AWS professionals are eager for AWS-specific technical training (including certifications), Machine Learning and AI and advanced technical training (including implementation, coding and scripting). Creating regular L&D opportunities is essential, so before they jump ship, consider arranging training courses, paying for certifications, and allowing them to spend time each week on their own development.

Similarly, 84% of professionals believe that certifications help them stand out in a competitive job market, with 65% of employers paying at least partially for their employees’ certifications. With certifications playing such an important role in an AWS professional’s armory, being in the bottom third of employers when looking to hire someone is, at best, a challenge.

If you’re looking to retain staff, look at their career pathways. If these aren’t clear, your employees are unlikely to stick around for long. Make sure that this professional development only exist, but is also communicated with your employees, along with giving them the resources to get to where they want to go.

If you’re in the early stage of developing a strategy, consider how you can apply these insights with current staff on a case-by-case basis. For example, maybe you don’t offer in-house training yet, but you’d be happy to review an individual case for paying for certification.

The way perks/benefits have changed since the pandemic

During the pandemic, employees said au revoir to that office breakfast and lunch, and adios to the local gym membership. Attractive perks like these don’t need to be discarded completely, but they will likely need adapted to a hybrid-working world. City centre perks are far less relevant to a workforce that rarely visits it, after all.

How about offering subscriptions to on-demand classes? Providers that offer both virtual and in-person classes are ideal, so that employees can get the best of both worlds. And perhaps recipe boxes or discounts on groceries or food outlets could replace the on-site office meals.

Another change that is starting to materialise that reflects the new normal, is new or extended medical coverage to include Covid-19 protection. With people everywhere more conscious of the importance of their physical health and wellbeing, it’s likely to be a popular option.

What hasn’t changed is the appetite for company perks when choosing which company to work for.

One last thing

Company perks are a great way to enhance an overall compensation package for AWS professionals. While some benefits are now expected (like company laptops and flexible working), developing a strong hybrid policy can help you to avoid being left behind.

To get ahead of the game, think about what perks are important to the tech talent you’re seeking, and really align them to your employer branding too. Then you’ve got a strong foothold on developing your company culture, which is increasingly attractive to AWS professionals too.

And remember, all of these offerings will also help your current talent stay put. In this talent-scarce industry, losing anyone can negatively impact your business and cost it money.

So whether it’s a few days extra holiday per year or improved health insurance, consider how it’ll repay you in the long run when you’ve got top talent filling your vacancies, and be willing to roll with the punches and adapt to the changes that employees now want from you.

Ready to hire your next AWS superstar?

Submit a job with us and within 48 hours you’ll receive a shortlist of pre-approved candidates available to work immediately.

Yes please!

AWS insights now

Get the latest AWS news and views delivered straight to your inbox

We'd love to send you Jefferson Frank’s AWS insights and tips by email, phone or other electronic means.