Want to attract top tech talent? Offer telecommuting

April 19, 2011: 12:04 PM ET

IT professionals love to work from home, so much so that some are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for this particular perk, according to a recent study.

By Anne Fisher, contributor

As competition for highly skilled and creative tech employees heats up, many companies are overlooking a perk that could help them snag top hires: The chance to work away from the office.

That's the conclusion of a new analysis by tech career site Dice.com of the thousands of job listings employers have posted in recent weeks. Only about 500 of the help-wanted ads, or fewer than 1%, mention telecommuting as an option.

The other 99% are missing a bet: A Dice survey of IT job seekers found that more than one-third like the idea of telecommuting so much that they would be willing to accept a 10% pay cut in exchange for working from home full-time.

"What's remarkable is that, even after two years of flattish compensation, technology professionals are willing to sacrifice $7,800 on average to work from home," the report says.

Rising gas prices don't seem to be a factor. The same survey, conducted three years ago, yielded almost identical results. Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com, calls employers' reluctance to embrace telecommuting "a conundrum. With an unemployment rate of just 4% among tech professionals, and shortages in specific fields, flexibility shouldn't be a last resort."

She notes that allowing people to work remotely could help employers by broadening the pool of talented candidates, catching "that person whose skills and attitude fit, but whose proximity to the office is not ideal.

"Done well, the benefits of telecommuting outweigh the risks," Hill adds. "Maybe if we called it 'cloud commuting', CIOs would buy in."

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About This Author
Anne Fisher
Anne Fisher
Contributor, Fortune

Anne Fisher has been writing "Ask Annie," a column on careers, for Fortune since 1996, helping readers navigate booms, recessions, changing industries, and changing ideas about what's appropriate in the workplace (and beyond). Anne is the author of two books, Wall Street Women (Knopf, 1990) and If My Career's on the Fast Track, Where Do I Get a Road Map? (William Morrow, 2001).

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