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How Tech Employees Really Feel About Their Bosses

Jul 10, 2017

Uber is certainly not alone in its leadership crisis. One in three tech employees feel that their bosses have a negative impact on company culture, according to a survey of 20,000 workers in the tech industry.

Women were slightly more likely than men to agree with this statement, with 39% of women saying their bosses had a negative effect compared to 31% of men.

Young workers had the most positive view, with 27% of employees aged 18 to 25 saying their boss was bad for company culture compared to 38% of workers aged 56 to 60.

The number one area that tech workers said needs improvement: Communication.

Half of respondents reported that their managers need to be better communicators. Men and women were about equally as likely to select communication before accountability, positivity, honesty, or work ethic, but older employees, ages 56 to 60, chose it at a higher rate than younger employees, ages 18 to 25.

Though tech firms and startups are praised for their ability to lead through rapid change, the industry also has a reputation for sexism and exclusion. It takes deliberate and consistent efforts to create a positive workplace culture and make sure managers at all levels are supporting it, according to Asana, a tech firm with a rare near-perfect rating on Glassdoor.

When asked if they are comfortable relaying negative feedback to their bosses, more than 60% of workers said yes. Men were more comfortable than women though, with 64% reporting yes compared to 58% of women.

Employees in legal departments were the least comfortable offering negative feedback to managers — only 38% of men and 39% of women.

More than a third of workers think they can do a better job than their boss. That sentiment had an inverse correlation with education level.

Half of employees with a high school education said they could outperform their manager, while only one-third of workers with bachelor's degrees thought they could do better.

Many tech companies are focusing on improved management and culture and seeing results. Google and Salesforce both made the top ten in Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list this year.

When it comes to priorities for a company's leaders, workers chose "vision and strategy" as the most important. Thirty-three percent of employees selected it as the first thing they would focus on if they were in charge, followed by "improve office culture" at 23% and "increase employee pay" at 22%.

Younger workers, ages 18 to 25, were the only age group to choose "increase employee pay" over "vision and strategy".

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