Competition for talent is cutthroat in the tech sector. If you’re a manager working at a technology company, a recruiter from a competitor is probably in the process of courting someone on your team as you read this. The recruiter may be offering a better salary, more flexible hours, or any other number of perks and benefits to get your worker to jump ship. If your company fails to provide a work environment that makes the employee want to stay, chances are this recruiter will succeed in poaching your top talent.

“Tech employees want flexibility and freedom,” says George McFerran, executive vice president of product and marketing at tech career site Dice. “A well-rounded comp package that takes into account more than base salary is important to recruiting the best talent. For some candidates, these types of benefits are just as important [as], if not more important than, salary.”

Many companies already know this, with 71 percent of tech companies offering non-salary benefits such as paid training, more vacation, flexible work hours, or telecommuting options, according to a recent survey from Dice.

Is your organization aware of what your tech workers want?

Yes, It’s About Salary — But Not All About Salary

Salary is important to tech workers, probably more so than any other factor. A company that hopes to attract and retain top tech talent must be prepared to pay for it, not only with initial offerings, but also with generous and consistent raises.

However, salary isn’t the only thing tech workers are looking for. Thirty-six percent of respondents to the Dice survey said they would take a pay cut of up to 10 percent if it meant they could work from home at least half the time. An additional 27 percent said they would take an 11 percent cut or higher.

“Telecommuting is more common in tech than in a lot of industries, but over the last few years, high-profile companies like IBM and Yahoo have called employees back to the office,” says McFerran. “We think small- to medium-sized businesses can take advantage of this trend that bucks employee sentiment to recruit top talent. The data clearly show that employees want the flexibility of working from home. We’d anticipate this [desire] will only grow as technologies that support a virtual workforce continue to improve, and women and other minorities in tech increase in number.”

With 63 percent of respondents to Dice saying they expect to change jobs for a higher salary in 2018, companies that can’t keep pace with salary will definitely need to step it up in other areas.

“Flexibility is the key, especially for smaller companies that might not be able to offer big salary bumps every year,” McFerran says. “Employees want the ability to telecommute, flexible work hours, and more vacation. They also want more responsibility, another top reason cited for changing jobs — which implies [employees want more] autonomy over their contributions at work.”

McFerran also notes that, in order to retain the best talent, tech companies should be looking for ways to ensure their work environments are welcoming to all types of people.

“It’s also crucial that companies create an inclusive workforce, make a concerted effort to build a gender-diverse workplace, and support working mothers through offering flexibility,” he says.

Maybe your company can’t keep up with salaries offered by competitors, but maybe it doesn’t have to. Offering salaries in the lower end of a competitive range might be good enough if employees feel engaged and well-compensated in other areas. Convince your tech workers that they don’t need to job hop to grow in their careers, and you just might manage to retain them.

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