Give them all the free snacks you want and let them bring dogs to work, but a study released this week suggests tech companies should also treat their workers fairly or risk losing them.
The Kapor Center for Social Impact study released Thursday concluded “unfair treatment is the single largest driver of turnover affecting all groups, and most acutely affects underrepresented professionals.”
Interviews with workers who left tech companies revealed that more than a third of those who bolted quit because of the unfairness they perceived in the workplace. The percentage was highest, 40 percent, among those most underrepresented at the firms: men of color.
More than three-fourths experienced unfair behavior, and women saw it more than men.
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Every workplace has gripes about unfair treatment, but the study found that it was more common in the tech industry than in other sectors — 42 percent versus 32 percent.
Gay and lesbian workers were most likely to say they were bullied at a tech job. Women of all backgrounds reported mistreatment more often that men.
“The more stereotyping and bullying experienced, the shorter the length of time that employees remained at their previous company,” the study said.
Researchers estimated that what workers saw as unfairness cost the industry $16 billion in employee replacement costs.
The study drew from across tech industries. It drew from across the country. That likely meant a large share of the respondents — people who answered short surveys in return for Amazon gift cards — came from Silicon Valley and other West Coast and East Coast areas.
Kansas City’s tech sector, dominated by Cerner, Sprint and Garmin, may be less representative of the quick-to-market pressures that make billionaires and burnouts of people so quickly, for instance, in the San Francisco Bay area.