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Big perks woo tech types

From vacation cash to luxury cars, some technology companies in British Columbia are offering big perks to woo prospective employees.

Multinationals like Amazon and Microsoft have opened offices in Vancouver, while homegrown startups like Hootsuite have gained international acclaim in recent years.

The growth has left companies competing to recruit workers, said Bill Tam, CEO of the B.C. Tech Association.

Last year the group issued a report estimating that 35,000 jobs in the industry will need to be filled in B.C. alone by 2021.

"The demand for talent is outstripping the supply," Tam said in an interview.

In order to stand out, many brands are offering benefits that go above and beyond standard medical and dental coverage. Tam said he's heard of companies that offer unlimited vacation, flexible work hours, and even one that paid for downpayments on new Tesla cars.

"Tech companies by design are trying to be innovative in all aspects of what they're doing. So the way in which they structure their businesses and the culture they try to adopt is very much consistent with that philosophy."

RingPartner, a digital marketing firm in Victoria, slashed work days to five hours in a bid to find employees.

Employees are required to be in the office between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday through Friday, but where and when they do the rest of their work is up to them.

That means some people take off for the beach in the afternoon, then log in to their computers at home in the evening, said Sarah Gulbrandsen, the company's vice-president of client operations.

"Some people still feel like they do their best work in a traditional eight-hour workday in the office, and that's OK — they can totally do that," Gulbrandsen said.

Vancouver-based Unbounce gives each of its 190 employees four weeks of vacation a year, plus $1,000 for taking time off.

​The vacation bonus allows workers to "to go on a new adventure and support their life goals as well as their career goals," said Leslie Collin, director of people and culture.



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