Where Google, Apple, And Amazon Employees Want To Work Next

Staff at highly sought-after tech companies can be coaxed to leave if a company meets certain requirements.

Where Google, Apple, And Amazon Employees Want To Work Next
[Photo: © Jonathan Alcorn/ZUMA Press/Corbis]

For many job seekers, the process to find a new position is often driven by a well-known brand’s reputation. This is especially true in the tech sector, where company names can be synonymous with big innovation: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and the like. Based on a recent Fast Company report, we know that isn’t always the best way to land a dream job.


A recent PayScale survey revealed that the employee turnover rate among Fortune 500 companies is greatest in the tech industry. PayScale’s data also indicates that the average job tenure for all employees today is 3.68 years.

Job posting platform Dice surveyed over 1,600 technology professionals in the U.S. during the month of September to gauge job satisfaction. Dice discovered as many as 50% of tech employees say they would move to another city for a new job, while 52% would move to a different state or region. Dice also found that money is still a motivator, as 59% of tech employees would move to another city for a higher-paying job.

One reason is work-life balance–or lack of it. According to the survey, 45% of tech employees say they want more of a work-life balance, but that their current job doesn’t allow it. So it’s not surprising that 27% of today’s tech professionals say that a work-life balance in the tech industry is a myth.

Yet once installed in the hallowed environs of a major tech company, it can be hard to leave, even if the position holds more and better responsibilities. On the flip side, wearing multiple hats as part of a small staff in an as-yet-unknown startup can wear anyone down.

So it’s no surprise that plenty of tech talent does migrate. But where, exactly, are they headed, and what makes them ready to make the leap?

Anthology (formerly Poachable), the recruiting platform for passive job finders and HR recruiters, polled 1,500 current employees at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Oracle, and Apple to see at what stage a company would be attractive enough to get them to jump ship.


Google Employees’ Next Move

Google’s culture of encouraging intrapraneurs makes its employees the most likely pool who wanted to make a move to an early-stage startup (45%) or a well-funded startup (73%). This is best illustrated by Anthology’s founder Tom Leung.

He had a plum assignment at Google as the senior business product manager for Google Analytics between 2006-2009. “People often talked about the product manager role at Google being kind of like a mini-CEO,” he tells Fast Company. Leung, who went on to found Anthology in 2014, says his experience at Google prepared him to launch a startup.

In addition to each team being accountable for its execution and track record, Leung recalls, “Laying out your strategy in executive reviews with Larry and Sergey definitely equips you with a level of confidence and empowerment that makes the idea of running a startup seem just a little bit less intimidating.”

Apple Employees’ Next Move

Being part of a company that was founded on an entrepreneurial mind-set isn’t enough at Apple, according to these findings. Apple employees are more cautious about where they would head next. Only 28% would be willing to risk leaving for a startup, but if that venture was funded, 62% say they’d consider it. That’s tied with the number of people who would leave for another public company.

Amazon Employees’ Next Move

Amazon has been making headlines lately for a scathing expose of its internal culture in the New York Times. Even an announcement of a more generous parental leave policy was viewed unfavorably by skeptics.

But big companies have resources that smaller ventures often don’t. That’s likely why Anthology found that 74% of Amazon’s current employees would prefer to move to another public company, and only 35% were interested in leaving for an early stage startup.


IBM And Microsoft Employees’ Next Move

Both IBM and Microsoft employees would entertain a move if there was more stability than risk. IBM’s employees were the least adventurous of all the employees surveyed, with only 23% saying they’d join an early-stage startup. 

At Microsoft, 74% say they’d likely join a public company, but as Anthology’s data reveals, the next most likely firm they’d join is a company in the pre-IPO stage. Seventy-one percent say they’d make the leap in that case, which would indicate that Microsoft’s initial public offering in 1986 elevated four employees to billionaire status and made 12,000 millionaires at the company.

Related: Can You Handle A Career Change?

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.