The Case of the Disappearing Perks


Poof. Free food, gym memberships and laundry service are disappearing from the startup culture. Why?

The bottom line: profitability rules. Pair that with a halt in venture funding and something has to give (or go in this case).

For a while, particularly in the Silicon Valley, VC’s and Angel Investors were investing left and right, but now the frequency has slowed down. It’s hard to speculate why because the reasons differ for each investor, but it’s the trend moving forward.

What effect will it have on the job market?

Retention. Expect an exodus of younger employees to larger companies, not so much because of the disappearing perks, but what “rewards” represent. In life, you don’t miss something until it’s gone. If you never had work perks, you don’t miss them. But if you have perks taken away from you, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Couple this with the average job tenure of Millennials being 3 years (in my opinion it’s much less than that) and the startup bubble begins to burst.

Yet the grass isn’t always greener on the other side (ever turn grass over?). With a decline in entrepreneurship for young professionals it signals a smarter worker. Millennials want to have their cake and eat it too (who doesn’t?). Corporate jobs aren’t so bad as long as they don’t completely eliminate your personal life.

In an earlier post, I mentioned lifestyle is the new passion, which means work is a means to an end. Perks help, but ultimately things like: purpose, career advancement and a pay raise matter more.

This isn’t to say perks don’t help retain workers, they do. But on the bright side, companies with a strong mission/vision don’t need them as badly to keep talent around. Admit it, luxury items such as perks come and go through cycles, but stripped down to the core: meaningful work matters most.

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