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  • There's More than Money in that Pot of Gold
Apr 2000
Offers of stock options, sign-on bonuses and lavish benefit packages are allowing start-ups to challenge industry leaders for the best photonics talent.
The 2000 Photonics Jobs & Salary Survey found that employees who have 10 to 20 years of experience earned, on average, $72,800. But salaries and stock options aren't the only draw. Year-end bonuses, education packages for the kids, in-house day care and gyms, housing allowances, concierge service, consultants on everything from finances to parenting, chef-prepared take-home meals and even dog-walking services are just a few of the incentives that new hires in technology have come to expect. In a recent Fortune magazine survey of the "100 Best Places to Work," 46 percent of the top companies it identified offer take-home meals, and 26 employ concierge service.

The new rainbow of benefits is part of free or subsidized employer-proffered services designed to help ease the lives of time-strapped, stressed-out workers. Part generosity and part practicality, the benefits are intended to get people on the job and keep them there. Turnover means delay. And in today's competitive photonics market, the time-to-market for a new product can determine if a company swims or sinks.

Benefits can also help retain key employees. These include multiyear bonuses tied to corporate objectives. And at semiconductor maker Semtech Corp. of Newbury Park, Calif., design engineers are paid a royalty on products they develop, based on up to 1 percent of a product's revenue over a five-year period.

It sometimes takes that kind of brass and benefits to live in inflationary technology villages such as the Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas.

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