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Tech Industry Attracts Employees With Free Beer, Ping Pong

An increase in the number of small tech firms in Central Indiana has heated the competition to recruit top talent.

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Photo: Chris Havard-Berge (Flickr)

Tech employees are in high demand right now.

As students graduate college this spring, those with technology skills are in high demand as Central Indiana’s tech sector grows, and tech companies are offering unique benefits, including flexible scheduling, casual dress codes and even free beer, to attract prospective employees.

Only five other metro areas in the nation have produced more high-growth companies per capita than the central Indiana, according to the Kauffman Foundation.

Though most industries have stagnated during the recession of the past few years, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate computer and math related professions have steadily increased in Indiana.

“Our biggest challenge is there’s a huge competition for talent, especially in the Indianapolis area with regards to tech positions,” says Elise Crowder, Director of Human Resources at T2 Systems Inc.

T2 Systems, a 145-employee company in Indianapolis that designs parking management software.

Since that may not sound too exciting, they’ve come up with enticing perks for potential employees, including  children’s room, scooters to ride around the office, arcade games and beer on tap.

“We try to create that cool and fun environment. It’s what we call a work hard, play hard group,” Crowder says.

There’s also the average salaries of about $73,000 a year.

“It used to be money was a big deal, now it’s more the flexibility and the dress code and the autonomy to do your work. So, we’re trying to stay up with the times,” Crowder says.

Bloomerang, an Indianapolis-based software company that works with about 300 nonprofit companies, tries to stay away from the typical cubicle look, according to CEO Jay Love. They allow their employees to pick out IKEA furniture and their task on their first day is to assemble everything.

“When you walk into our lobby we have a tournament quality ping pong table that we use quite regularly for relieving a little bit of stress, but also settling bets and different things like that,” Love says.

Employee entertainment events are also becoming a normal occurrence among tech companies.

Bloomerang is hosting a remote control car competition between each department this month in honor of the Indy 500.

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