What Tech Talent Is Looking for Beyond Salary

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

One of the main challenges with talent acquisition and retention in tech today is the rate at which talent moves between organizations. 48% of tech workers surveyed in 2021—nearly half—said they thought they were likely to find a new job in 2021.

On top of that, there is no shortage of open opportunities on the market. “This is the most competitive market I can remember in my professional career, with many people comparing it to the dot-com market of the late ‘90s,” said Jim Bartolomea, Vice President of Global Talent at ServiceNow in an LA Times article about the hiring crunch. Many businesses were forced to take radical steps towards digital transformation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in a spike in demand for engineers, IT specialists, data architects, and more.

Tech talent is reevaluating what matters to them when it comes to their careers. Beyond salary, candidates are looking for flexibility in terms of where, when, and how much they work. For Uber, a global company operating in 10,000 cities in 71 countries spread out across 6 continents with over 20,000 employees, the answer was to make a major shift in their Employer Value Proposition (EVP).

A Shift to Mobility

Xavi Martínez Salcedo, Head of Global Strategic Initiatives for Talent Acquisition at Uber, and Delfina Stabile, the Global Talent Attraction Manager, realized they needed to bring their EVP in line with Uber’s core business slogan: “Go anywhere, get anything.” At first glance, you might think that really means “get a higher salary,” but their internal research with employees and external research with candidates showed them that salary is not necessarily the most important motivator for their talent pool. Instead, they found that candidates and employees alike valued mobility: the ability to change careers, change locations, change what you’re working on and the problems you solve, and be supported in those efforts.

In response, Uber has invested heavily in their talent mobility programs, creating a Mobility Integration team that sits directly under Talent Acquisition. “Uber has always been about movement—the movement of people and the movement of things,” Salcedo says, “We truly believe that you can go anywhere and get the career you want at Uber. Employees are in the driver’s seat and driving their own growth and, as they do it, they have a team of wonderful, diverse, and smart people that accompany them on that journey.”

According to Stabile, 30% of Uber’s hires are internal. Their mobility programs connect employees with new projects and temporary assignments that give them exposure to different parts of the organization and new opportunities. This can often lead to a career change or even a permanent move to a new country. Stabile points to her own journey which started in Buenos Aires, then to Mexico City where she worked in Talent Attraction for Latin America, and now to San Francisco where she’s a part of the Global Talent Attraction team.

Strategies to Support an EVP Shift

Getting the word out about what Uber can offer potential hires is a tall order, but Salcedo and Stabile have a multi-pronged plan that has employee-generated content at the heart of it. One thing they heard from their team is the desire to celebrate joining uber and commemorate their “Uberversaries.” In response, they created “share cards,” art assets that automatically go out to employees on career milestones, making it easy for them to create social media posts.

In light of the new EVP, Uber’s Talent Acquisition team is working on a major campaign supported by investments in paid media and new ways to tell employee stories through video and posts on the careers blog. They work with leadership to help them understand the impact they can have on their own social media channels, creating an overall approach to employee advocacy that Salcedo describes as “top-down and bottom-up.”

How to Measure Return on Employer Branding

“Everything that we do needs to have a direct impact on actual hires,” Stabile says. To accomplish that goal, their two closest partners are Uber leadership and the analytics team. In monthly meetings, they determine where in the world they’re trying to hire, how many people they need, and what roles will be particularly difficult to fill. Answering these questions helps them figure out which talent segments to target and what their strategy should be.

Beyond their impact on actual hires, they look at the broader effect they have on engagement, clickthrough rates, and followers added. The analytics department has access to a wide variety of employee data to capture the candidate experience holistically, for both internal and external applicants.

At the end of the day, they want to make sure that they’re not only communicating their EVP of “go anywhere, get anything” to outside talent, but also making good on that promise to their team. Mobility is fundamental to all aspects of Uber’s business and supporting employees in their own unique journeys helps them stand out in a crowded talent marketplace.

To follow Xavi Martínez Salcedo’s and Delfina Stabile’s work in employer brand, connect with Xavi on Twitter and Delfina on LinkedIn. For help gathering data and insight that you can act on to improve your company, get in touch.


Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.


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