July 22, 2019

Unicorn Companies: New Research Reveals What It’s Really like to Work at Top Tech Companies

Unicorn Companies: New Research Reveals What It’s Really like to Work at Top Tech Companies

Unicorn tech companies offer a better work/life balance, easier interviews and more positive business outlook on average than established tech giants

According to new research, more than a third of Europe’s fastest-growing tech companies are now based in Britain. London leads this digital growth with 45 tech unicorn companies carrying a combined valuation of £116.2bn currently located in the city.

Named after the mythical creature in recognition of its rare nature, a tech unicorn is a private startup company valued at more than $1 billion (£785.8 million). With 2.1 million people working in the digital tech economy today, how do these companies compare to established tech giants like Google and Salesforce when it comes to employee experience?

Analysing the employee reviews of three of the UK’s recently-established unicorns reveals that they offer an easier interview experience, a more positive business outlook and a significantly better work/life balance on average than tech giants Apple, Samsung and Amazon.

Analysis of the reviews left for Monzo, Ovo Energy and Checkout.com show that the smaller startups score an average of 0.9 points better than the tech giants when it comes to work/life balance, and 0.97 points more for senior management.

Company

Date of Unicorn Status

Average Salary £

Employee Rating

Monzo

October 2018

52,476

4.6/5

Ovo Energy

February 2019

31,288

3.6/5

Checkout.com

May 2019

50,320

4.3/5

Despite having only reached unicorn status two months ago, Checkout.com pays its employees an average salary of £50,320 per year – £11,320 more than the average wage paid by Samsung and £3,820 more than what Amazon pays.

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Monzo was rated 1.2 points more out of five than Samsung for compensation and benefits (4.5), while the senior management at Checkout.com score 1.7 points more than the management at Samsung (2.5). Although the unicorn companies tend to have a lower number of reviews than major tech corporations, they score significantly higher when it comes to employee experience and interview positivity overall.

Based on LinkedIn’s annual report of the most sought-after companies to work at in the UK, Power House Truths curates and dissects over 210,000 employee reviews to see where each company really ranks across a number of metrics, including senior management rating, interview difficulty and average salary.

The 2019 LinkedIn Top Companies report discloses where jobseekers want to work, based on four main pillars of interaction on the platform: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. But how do these coveted companies really treat their employees?

The research shows that despite being the most desirable workplace in the UK and the third most popular in the US, Amazon sits tenth in the rankings. Analysis of the organisation’s 32,000 employee reviews reveals that this is due to the poor work/life balance, low senior management rating and significantly smaller salary.

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Top three companies according to employee reviews:

Top Three

LinkedIn Rank

Average Salary

Employee Rating

Interview Positivity

Salesforce

4th

84,400.00

4.4/5

84%

Apple

7th

93,700.00

4/5

65%

Deloitte

5th

57,000.00

3.8/5

71%

Analysis of company pros and cons reveals that employees appreciate a good work environment, generous benefits and flexible working hours, while long hours and a poor work/life balance are the most common complaints. But to what extent do jobseekers apply to work at a company because of its notoriety, without researching what it’s really like to work there?

According to recruitment partner Karen Dykes, the benefits companies choose to advertise play a key role in how quickly they accumulate staff and grow. She said: “With talent shortages reported in many sectors, top candidates are looking beyond basic salary offerings to attract them to certain roles.

“Benefits packages are most certainly in the spotlight, with a particular focus on those that support work/life balance. These include generous holiday entitlement, healthcare advantages and flexible working.

“If a skilled candidate has multiple interview offers, benefits packages will come into play. They may be time poor in terms of interview preparation time, so will narrow the field by evaluating the overall package.”

The full list of companies considered in the piece includes:

  • Google

  • Facebook

  • Amazon

  • Salesforce

  • Deloitte

  • Uber

  • Apple

  • Airbnb

  • Oracle

  • Dell

  • JPMorgan

  • Sainsbury’s

  • GSK

  • Bupa

  • JLL

  • Barclays

  • BP

  • Goldman Sachs

  • Engi

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