Month: September 2017

Big Law’s Newest Competition for Talent Is an Old Foe

Big Law’s Newest Competition for Talent Is an Old Foe

By Gina Passarella / August 29, 2017

The first time law firms found themselves fighting with the technology industry for talent, it was the 1990s. Tech startups offered stock options, the chance to work on cutting-edge matters and a suit-free office environment. “At that point we were losing pretty junior folks directly to true startups,” recalls a management committee member of an Am Law 25 firm. “It was a real cosmic shift in our talent pool [and] drove cultural change like law firms going business casual.”

In the age of the millennial generation, tech is again a tough rival to law firms’ associate recruitment and retention efforts. Leaders at firm after firm point to technology companies as the biggest draw for young associates who are looking to make a change. But this time, it’s different.

While losing lawyers to tech used to be a problem only for the Silicon Valley firms, the phenomenon has spread across the country, as the tech scene has made homes in cities like New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle and places in between. Meanwhile, the tech world has grown up over the last 20 years and so have its legal needs. Tech companies need help with more than just Silicon Valley financing. Now they are looking for help on litigation, M&A and more, says the Am Law 25 management committee member.

“Whether it’s a Google or Facebook, [they are] way, way, way out of the garage. But they still have an allure. There is a difference going to one of those companies today. You may still get to wear jeans and T-shirts if you go to one of those companies, but you are going to a big, grown-up, mature company with grown-up problems,” this lawyer says, noting that a range of more sophisticated work is attractive to the firm’s talent pool.

And because these companies are larger, they are able to take even more junior lawyers to fill out departments, causing more second- and third-years to leave law firm life. “The same level of associates that used to go to big corporate America like pharma or Ford or GM might now go to a tech company,” the management member says.

Dave Carvajal, who has been a headhunter in the New York tech start-up scene for more than 20 years, says it used to be that top talent out of the top programs in the Northeast would have three options: finance, management consulting or the West Coast internet scene. That changed in 2008, he says, when the New York technology sector saw a boom in the wake of the credit crisis and the world of investment banking and management consulting lost some of its luster.

Carvajal says he has seen a number of lawyers, somewhat disillusioned with law firm life, reach out to him looking to reinvent their lives. He has often seen candidates who became lawyers mostly because their parents wanted them to. “But what truly lights them up is expressing another part of their being or their brain,” Carvajal says. “They make these epiphanies in personal growth. They want to take a pivot on the strategic direction of their life. Tech startups are attracting the best talent and allow them to express that creativity.”

Some law firms are forming startup incubators of their own, offering cheaper legal services
to growing companies or helping set them up with investor-clients. But that work isn’t always enough to keep associates satisfied. Carvajal says that millennials have a “supremely larger interest” in having “mission orientation” and being a part of something that is being driven with “wisdom, meaning and purpose.”

Investment banking, and even the law, can feel soulless to this younger generation, he says, adding that they are “looking to disrupt and change the world.” What better way to do that than through technology?

Via: The American Lawyer

Alt-Right Activists Thrust Silicon Valley Into Debate on Hate Speech

Alt-Right Activists Thrust Silicon Valley Into Debate on Hate Speech

By Martha C. White / August 21, 2017

Even as it wrestles with its own diversity issues, Silicon Valley has become the reluctant arbiter of the line where free speech crosses into hate speech in the wake of the deadly protests in Charlottesville.

In an age where a lack of condemnation is tantamount to complicity, experts say tech firms have no choice but to disassociate from the alt-right, although as a growing number of tech companies cut off white nationalist groups from the platforms they use for communication, commerce, and content distribution, some have criticized the response as too little, too late.

“There’s a very intimate history between internet service providers and white supremacist groups,” said Joan Donovan, media manipulation research lead at the Data & Society Research Institute. “There was plenty of warning that this stuff was being coordinated in their spaces,” she said, but tech companies initially resisted policing the activity.

Historically, Silicon Valley has presented itself on embracing diversity in all its forms, albeit for pragmatic rather than political reasons: Cutthroat competition for users and talent means that companies can’t afford to be exclusionary.

“The reason this is a heightened issue in technology is technology is much more heterogeneous — it’s all over the world,” said Dave Carvajal, CEO of a technology-focused recruiting firm.

“It’s this belief people have that the tech industry should be the most modern, the most cutting edge,” said Brian Kropp, HR Practice Leader at CEB (now Gartner). “It also has this promise of capturing what tomorrow is going to be like.”

But putting these egalitarian principles into practice hasn’t always been easy. Even before Charlottesville, companies have stumbled in the gap between “bro culture” and Silicon Valley’s self-image of open-mindedness.

Uber’s ouster of CEO Travis Kalanick shone an embarrassing spotlight on the ingrained misogyny at some firms, and Google’s recent firing of engineer James Damore, who argued in a widely distributed memo that women are biologically less well-suited for tech jobs, triggered accusations that the search giant is intolerant of conservative views.

“I think what’s happening is a lot of these kinds of deep-rooted issues are being brought to the surface because of the political theater that’s happening right now. It’s stirring up a lot of this,” Carvajal said.

The violence at a white nationalist rally that left one counter-protester dead and others injured has brought this tension into sharper focus.

“They’ve been pushing very hard on many of these issues. Now they’re at a point where they have to make really hard decisions… whether or not they stand up to all the values they’ve talked about and promoted,” Kropp said.

Some tech firms have been more receptive to curtailing alt-right activity than others, said Rashad Robinson, executive director of advocacy group Color of Change.

“A lot of them seem super-focused on terms of services and this idea of an open platform,” he said. “We hear things like they share our values… but at this time there’s not going to be an update to policy.”

Some of the challenges are logistical rather than ideological, since much of the enforcement can’t be automated. It takes humans making judgement calls, and the line between talk and action online isn’t always clear. “There hasn’t been a good model so far for policy around how to monitor or prevent certain amounts of content,” Donovan said.

Tech companies also don’t want to alienate potential customers or trigger a public relations backlash. According to Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGov BrandIndex, consumer sentiment metrics for Facebook, Apple and GoDaddy reflected little change this week. “They’re not getting a lot of credit from consumers, but they’re not being punished, either,” he said.

This could embolden other Silicon Valley leaders to terminate alt-right and white nationalist business relationships, Marzilli said, even if it costs them. “These things are always a bit risky for companies from the perspective of dollars and cents,” he said.

Whether driven by a sense of moral obligation, concern about public perception or some combination of the two, last weekend’s violence seemed to be a wake-up call, Robinson said. “It’s certainly accelerated since Charlottesville,” he said of companies’ willingness to cut ties with white nationalist groups.

“They started to think about their role in promoting this kind of talk,” Donovan said. “One thing these platforms really understand about themselves is they don’t just allow speech to flow, they do the job of coordinating action… They saw that this kind of open unmoderated speech online produced violent effects.”

Via: NBC News

The personality trait most people see as a weakness may actually be a huge asset in business

The personality trait most people see as a weakness may actually be a huge asset in business

Áine Cain / July 20, 2017

Humility isn’t a trait you’d often associate with business.

Confidence, resilience, and persuasiveness are all no-brainers, but it’s hard to see how a generous slice of humble pie will get you ahead.

If anything, it would seem like having a modest view of your abilities and putting others before you would hold you back even in a mildly competitive office culture.

But that’s where Dave Carvajal, CEO of executive headhunting firm “Dave Partners” and author of the upcoming book “Hire Smart from the Start,” disagrees.

“Humility, I think, is woefully undervalued in American business,” he tells Business Insider.

In fact, Carvajal, who has placed execs within companies like Warby Parker, Shutterstock, and Tumblr, says that smart companies should seek out humble folks. That goes double for companies looking to disrupt or innovate industries.

With disruption comes mistakes and lessons learned on the job. Humble people aren’t ruled by their egos — they can admit to and learn from mistakes and change course when necessary. They don’t strive for success for themselves, but instead work toward the betterment of their teams. They avoid division and undercutting, preferring a more collaborative style of leadership and teamwork.

That makes them ideal for companies that are striving to enter new territory.

“All learning and growth requires openness,” Carvajal says.

Via: Business Insider

A recruiter for some of the hottest tech companies shares the biggest hiring mistake companies can make

A recruiter for some of the hottest tech companies shares the biggest hiring mistake companies can make

Áine Cain / July 19, 2017

Hiring the wrong person can be an expensive mistake.

Twenty-seven percent of US employers surveyed by CareerBuilder said that just one bad hire cost their company more than $50,000. And Zappos CEO Tony Hseih once estimated his own bad hires cost the company more than $100 million.

All that money goes down the toilet when things don’t work out.

Dave Carvajal, CEO of executive headhunting firm “Dave Partners” and author of the upcoming book “Hire Smart from the Start,” has placed execs within companies like Warby Parker, Shutterstock, and Tumblr.

He says that, too often, companies looking to make an executive-level hire make one big mistake: they focus too much on technical capabilities.

“Any reasonably intelligent person can look at a résumé and say, ‘This is a great CTO,’ but that’s not the task at hand,” Carvajal tells Business Insider. “The task at hand is, ‘This a great CTO, for us.’ Those two little words, ‘for us,’ change everything.”

In order to better vet candidates, Carvajal says that a business must first get “crystal clear” on its core values and put technical prowess on the back-burner.

Because all of your best candidates should possess the required technical skills and work experience — that goes without saying.

“People are more likely to fail based on fit, not based on technical skills,” Carvajal says. “Whether anyone will succeed or fail at any company has everything to do with fit. What we really have to vet for is those core values.”

So, instead of getting dazzled by strong résumés or focusing all your energy on assessing a candidate’s skills, make sure you’re truly determining whether or not their goals are in line with those of your company.

In the end, that’s a better predictor of whether they’ll succeed at your company.

Via: Business Insider

Why You’re Reading Work Emails Right Now

Why You’re Reading Work Emails Right Now

By Martha C. White / May 29, 2017

First, the good news: More Americans are taking advantage of the vacation time granted to them by their employers. The bad news: They’re spending more of that supposedly off-the-clock time working.

A new annual report from the U.S. Travel Association found that, after dropping to an all-time low of 16 days in 2014, the average American worker took 16.8 vacation days in 2016, up from 16.2 days last year.

The reversal is a good sign, according to Katie Denis, the report’s author and senior director of Project: Time Off. “This year we felt like it was more substantial,” she said.

Still, she added, American workers forfeited 206 million vacation days last year. That was an 8 percent drop from 2015, however. “I think there’s greater awareness of the importance of vacation,” Denis said.

Or it could be that we’re taking more vacation days because we’ve simply come to think of “vacation” as working poolside at a resort rather than in the office. A new survey from found that although 91 percent of workers took at least some vacation time in the last year — up from 85 percent three years ago — about two-thirds of those people say they work during vacation, an increase of five percentage points over that same time frame.

“Some employers and managers have also gotten used to reaching out to their employees at all hours. That’s a pretty bad way to work,” said Scott Dobroski, community expert at Glassdoor.

Are We Afraid of Vacations?

Dobroski said it would benefit companies more if they actively encouraged workers to step back and take a real break. “More employers need to remind their employees that vacation time is valued… you need to use it,” he said. “They will come back more productive, re-energized, more creative.”

But a new survey from OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, indicates that a disconnect remains between the lip service companies pay to the value of vacation and the unspoken cultural codes that prevent many workers from using their time off.

Roughly 40 percent of workers surveyed by Robert Half said flexible schedules were the top summertime perk they would like, but a parallel survey of HR managers found that the number of companies offering this dropped by 13 percentage points over five years.

Daryl Pigat, division director at OfficeTeam, suggested one reason behind this could be that flexibility is integrated into more companies’ year-round scheduling practices today. But he also said the survey results — which showed that companies have sharply pulled back on other summertime perks like company picnics, relaxed dress codes and early-dismissal Fridays — could indicate a shift back to a more buttoned-up work environment.

“There could be a trend towards bringing back a little more formality to the workplace,” he said. “I think we’re at a tipping point… I definitely see where companies are pulling back a little bit.”

What’s more, experts say another phenomenon that could be making Americans’ vacation habits look artificially rosy is the growth of “unlimited” vacation, popularized by tech companies like LinkedIn and Netflix.

“The rising trend is this theme of unlimited vacation. It’s certainly crossing boundaries into other industries now,” Dobroski said.

While this might sound good in theory, HR pros say it can actually wind up being more advantageous for the employer. Dobroski pointed out that employees with an unlimited policy might no longer track their vacation days, making them less likely to realize if they’re not taking it.

There’s also a significant financial benefit for companies, said Dave Carvajal, CEO of a technology-focused recruiting firm. For fast-paced and competitive sectors like tech start-ups where turnover can be high, unlimited vacation can give companies a legal way around paying as much as $20,000 or $30,000 in unused vacation pay to departing highly paid workers.

“On the face of it, it seems very appealing, it has a very positive sheen on it. Most employees don’t actually realize or understand that’s the driving motivation behind it,” he said.

The Office Is in Our Pocket

Without a culture that encourages people to take time off, people are too stressed about the work they leave behind to really enjoy their vacations. According to a new survey by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, 36 percent of respondents said they were stressed about falling behind at work while planning for a vacation, and 31 percent said it took until at least the second day of vacation for them to unwind.

“If you have a smartphone, your office is still in your pocket. Without proper preparation, it can be very stressful,” Denis said.

OfficeTeam found that around a third of HR managers complain that employees don’t do a good job planning ahead for summer vacations, and industry experts say laying the groundwork for work coverage before you go is the best proactive step employees can take to keep work from encroaching on vacation.

“I think a lot of it is planning. Planning is by far the easiest and best thing you can do,” Denis said.

“It’s all about planning ahead, and I don’t mean one day in advance. You should be thinking about this two weeks in advance,” Dobroski said.

That can be easier said than done, though. Denis said the new Project: Time Off survey found that people who planned ahead for their absence were both more likely to take a vacation and happier overall, but that people working for companies that tacitly or expressly frown on taking time off were less likely to broach the subject of how their responsibilities are covered while they were out of the office — so they wound up being the ones fielding emails or participating in conference calls during their vacation.

“During the recession, companies asked people to do more with less, and coming out of the recession, that didn’t really change,” Denis said. “I’d say there’s a lot of lingering workload pressures.”

“Over the past few years, we’ve transitioned into a society of workers that is always on,” Carvajal said. “It’s the first thing people do when they wake up, they check their phone,” he said.

Via: NBC News

IBM Tells Its Remote Employees to Get Back to the Office

IBM Tells Its Remote Employees to Get Back to the Office

By Martha C. White / May 23, 2017

For a company whose embrace of mobile work predates the internet and even the personal computer, IBM’s decision to recall employees back to the office has human resources experts warning that the move could make it harder for Big Blue to compete with the likes of Google and Apple, along with hot startups, to recruit and retain the best people.

“I think it is going to be a talent problem,” said Jennifer Glass, the Barbara Bush professor of liberal arts at the Population Research Center at the University of Texas. “It’s very clear in the literature that autonomy is something talented workers want, especially millennials.”

A survey by found that 80 percent of respondents said that flexibility was a top consideration when considering a new job, and a third reported leaving a job because it didn’t offer the flexibility they needed.

“People work from home for a lot of different reasons,” Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of, including accommodating childcare, eldercare and disabilities. “They need it. They don’t just want it.”

Some experts say the rollback of telecommuting reflects a more seismic shift as IBM struggles to adapt to rapid changes in an industry it once dominated. “When technology companies change priorities or shift focus, there can be a change as well to how and where employees work,” said Scott Dobroski, community expert at

“This is is a sign of something much bigger,” said Dave Carvajal, CEO of Dave Partners, a technology-focused recruiting firm. “IBM is struggling to compete in the competitive tech marketplace that has become significantly more agile and nimble over the past decade.”

IBM’s quarterly report last month had higher-than-expected earnings but missed analyst expectations on revenue — marking five years straight of year-over-year quarterly revenue declines. Company executives say making people work together will help reverse its fortunes. At a conference last fall, CFO Martin Schroeter talked to investors about “get[ting] the teams back together as opposed to so spread out,” saying the relocation would make them “more agile.”

It Didn’t Work for Yahoo

But not everyone agrees that proximity can foster performance gains. “I’m personally a little skeptical,” Sutton Fell said. “It didn’t really help Yahoo.”

The news of IBM’s reversal on telecommuting drew many comparisons to Yahoo. When CEO Marissa Mayer eliminated Yahoo’s work-from-home perk in 2013, it provoked a backlash from those who said the shift placed an unfair burden on working parents — especially since the news was coupled with reports that Mayer had a nursery constructed adjacent to her office so she could bring her then-infant son to work with her.

Given IBM’s performance struggles, some observers suggested that the shift away from remote work could be a way to shed workers through attrition without resorting to layoffs.

“IBM has been bringing teams like these together for several years, across many areas of the company: software development, digital marketing, Watson, design, and IBM’s CIO teams, just to name a few,” IBM spokeswoman Laurie Friedman said via email. She did not respond to a question about how many employees ultimately would be affected but said workers could reapply for other jobs — around 5,000 in the U.S. — with the company, and added that some workers would be able to continue working remotely.

“I’m highly suspicious of this idea that if you corral everybody into the same room you’re going to get magic,” Glass said. “I think it’s an attempt to exert more managerial control when business is down and they’re under pressure to turn things around.”

Collaboration May Need to Be Relearned

Some experts do see the potential for a positive outcome as IBM expands its work in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence. “We know it’s an added focus on innovation,” Dobroski said. “That’s very enticing to today’s tech talent.”

By making people come into the office, managers will be able to focus on more hands-on mentoring and training — benefits that attract ambitious millennials but are harder to execute with a far-flung workforce.

“This is the generation that says, if I’m not learning, I’m gone,” said Dayna Fellows, president of consulting company WorkLife Performance, Inc. The back-to-the-office movement could work if management is “really smart and clear” about the benefits working in an office will provide, she said.

But to achieve this, experts say IBM will need to invest in restructuring its work environment and culture.

“If they simply bring people in and expect them to work exactly the same way in a crowd situation, it will fail,” Fellows said. “That would be the mistake, is if everything stays the same but people come in.”

“Collaboration is helped by being together, but it has to be on purpose. You have to create a culture… It doesn’t just happen by bumping into each other,” said Ellen Galinsky, senior research advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management. “If the problem is collaboration, that probably needs to be addressed directly. You can’t just assume that if people are in the same space, they are going to collaborate and work together,” she said.

“Holistic change at that level requires real leadership,” Carvajal said.

Via: NBC News

A Challenge to Finding Uber’s New COO: Its CEO

A Challenge to Finding Uber’s New COO: Its CEO

April 13, 2017

Help Wanted: A chief operating officer to help change a Silicon Valley giant’s now-notorious “bro” culture, but who can thrive in a power dynamic that hands the boss overwhelming control.

At Uber Technologies Inc., co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick commands everything from board decision-making to the exact hour the beer taps will open at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

That management approach is rooted in more than just a cult of personality.

Uber ‘s governance and share structure, and the “founder-friendly” terms of the $13 billion in equity the company has raised, give Kalanick, his co-founder and a fellow employee ultimate control over the company, according to company documents and an Uber investor with knowledge of the matter.

As the company searches for a chief operating officer who can in theory take on some of Kalanick’s sweeping authority, that looks to be a problem.

“A COO would report into Travis, so structurally, there’s the rub,” said Dave Carvajal, an executive recruiter for venture-backed tech companies. “This COO is going to need to have influence at the board level to effect change.”

Kalanick’s near-total control at Uber is made possible largely by a dual-class share structure that gives certain owners 10 votes per share, according the company’s certificate of incorporation filed with the State of Delaware.

Kalanick, along with Garrett Camp, Uber ‘s co-founder who is now working on another startup, and Ryan Graves, Uber CEO prior to Kalanick, together hold enough of those super-voting shares to give them control of the company, according to an Uber investor with knowledge of the matter.

The documents say Uber ‘s executive board may have eleven voting members, including nine seats controlled by shareholders with super-voting rights.

But Kalanick has kept the power circle small, leaving four board seats empty. In addition to Kalanick, Camp and Graves, the board includes venture capitalist Bill Gurley of Benchmark, David Bonderman of TPG Capital, Yasir Al Rumayyan of the Saudi Arabian public investment fund and media impresario Arianna Huffington.

Leaving control with founders has become popular in Silicon Valley in recent years, both because of the success of founder-led enterprises like Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, and because investors compete with each other to fund entrepreneurs by offering them the best terms.

Those circumstances helped Uber obtain a $68 billion valuation, the biggest of any private venture-backed company.

But with Uber rocked by scandals, including detailed accusations of sexual harassment from a former female employee and a video showing Kalanick harshly berating an Uber driver, Kalanick just weeks ago promised to “grow up” and hire a COO who would offer “leadership help.”

The COO search is ongoing, but Uber ‘s human resources chief told reporters last month that Kalanick, 40, is already showing a more collaborative style.

The share structure leaves investors with few options if they lose patience with Kalanick, though there is little sign of that happening. With two public exceptions, investors have either supported Kalanick or stayed silent as the company’s all-important rider numbers continue to grow even in the face of controversy.

Mitchell Green, a partner at Lead Edge Capital that invested in Uber at a $40 billion valuation, believes the controversies will blow over and he even wants to buy more stock.

“We believe that Travis continues to drive shareholder equity value higher,” said Green.

Read: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s Ex Reveals More Details About the Company’s Culture

The most effective COOs have broad authority and direct access to the board, governance experts say. At Facebook, for example, COO Sheryl Sandberg works in partnership with founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and holds a board seat.

At Uber , it’s not so easy to envision what a power-sharing arrangement would look like, or how the brash founder could be an agent of managerial change under such a governance structure, the experts said.

“People don’t like to correct their own homework,” said Bill Aulet, managing director of the entrepreneurship center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This is a situation where the checks and balances are not really in place.”

An Uber spokesman declined to comment for this story.

Read: Despite All Its Scandals Uber Says It’s Growing at a Record Rate

A string of high-level executive departures – including company president Jeff Jones last month and top communications chief Rachel Whetstone this week – has centralized even more authority with Kalanick and raised questions about the staying power of his deputies.

Kalanick is known to obsess over details like office decor alongside big issues like pricing strategy and driver relations.

Kalanick at one point ordered the beer taps in the office locked during certain hours, controlling when employees could pour themselves a pint, after expressing displeasure with one imbibing staff member, said one former employee.

The CEO closely managed Uber ‘s logo redesign last year, despite himself not being a designer, according to a source close to the company. Design chief Andrew Crow announced he was quitting the day after the new logo was unveiled.

Read: Uber’s President Is Leaving the Company After 6 Months

Soon after, Kalanick rejected the new logo designers brought him for Uber Eats, the company’s food-delivery business, upset that the team hadn’t shown him every iteration of the design, according to a second former employee.

The CEO also at times edited press statements following a PR incident, the former employee said. He was especially anxious that the company didn’t come across as too apologetic.

This sort of iron grip may deter qualified COO candidates who “don’t want to do their job with one arm tied behind their back,” said Robert Siegel, a lecturer at Stanford University and venture capitalist at XSeed Capital.

Via: Fortune

5 Books That Recruiters Say You Must Read — Even if You Don’t Need a Job

5 Books That Recruiters Say You Must Read — Even if You Don’t Need a Job

By Martha C. White / Mar 17, 2017

Whether you’re actively looking to climb the corporate ladder or you’re happy in your current job, professional headhunters explain that these are the books that will advance your career — and why.

The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness

Courtesy of Amazon 

It might seem strange to have a high-tech recruiter to recommend a book by a Greek philosopher who lived nearly 2,000 years ago, but Dave Carvajal, CEO of technology recruiting firm Dave Partners, says it contains some surprisingly modern insights for today’s professional.

“Some of the virtues from the Greek stoics are perhaps more relevant today with the increased pace of innovation and the need to manage the velocity and depth of external relationships,” Carvajal says. Even in an age when social media dominates much of our interaction, this advice proves timeless. “A sense of affiliation with like-minded people leads to high satisfaction rates at work,” he says. “Managing the internal world and self are the only things we can control.”

Read the full article Via: Time

Competition in Job Market Lets Professionals Set Their Travel Terms

Competition in Job Market Lets Professionals Set Their Travel Terms

With the unemployment rate low and competition for top talent rising, travel perks are increasingly coming into play as a bargaining chip in recruitment.

One of those who benefited was Eleanor Lacey, a Silicon Valley lawyer, who said she had initially dismissed a job offer from a cybersecurity company because the position involved frequent travel, nearly all of it overseas.

“I was very secure and happy in my current job, and so I didn’t need the job,” she said.

But other benefits were appealing, like a schedule that would let her be home with her family in the evenings. So Ms. Lacey employed a tactic human resources and executive compensation experts say they see more frequently today.

“As a general counsel, I see C.E.O. agreements all the time. A few years ago, I realized it’s not unusual for C.E.O. or other C-level to negotiate their travel,” she said. “I felt like I could do a real negotiation.”

Ms. Lacey said she asked to choose flights based on the airline’s safety record rather than making price the sole determinant, and for weekends to remain travel free whenever possible so she could spend more time with her family.

When the company agreed to her terms, she took the job.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 17 percent of American companies in 2016 offered first-class or business-class flights for employees traveling internationally, up four percentage points from five years earlier. The number offering the same for domestic travel grew by two percentage points over that same period.

“I do think companies are aware that the best workers are more in the driver’s seat,” said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an executive outplacement firm. “Companies know that if they lose someone they value, it’s harder to go out and replace skilled workers in a low-unemployment environment.”

Greeley Koch, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, said nearly half of corporate travel managers in a recent survey said they had fielded employee inquiries about managing work-life balance in regard to travel.

“If a company’s going out to recruit people, some of those people are asking about travel policies,” he said.

Industries where competition for talented employees is fiercest, like technology and financial services, are most likely to be flexible with travel perks to attract and keep the best workers.

As a result, Mr. Koch said, “One thing we’re starting to see is that not all travelers and not all trips are being treated the same.” In one case, he said, a company measured a travel manager’s performance on travelers’ satisfaction rather than on cost savings.

In-demand professionals say they have asked to fly nonstop rather than be forced onto cheaper connecting flights, or stipulated which airlines they will and will not use.

Making business travel a little more pleasant is a tactic companies are using for retention as well as recruitment.

“Travel is one of those sorts of things that makes life hard for people who are on the road all the time,” Mr. Challenger said. “So looking for ways to make that experience easier is something companies are doing to make it more palatable.”

Lacey Van Luven, a consultant at American Express Global Business Travel, said, “About 20 percent of the inquiries I received in the last six months alone were related to senior executive or frequent traveler perks.”

“We focus on the road warriors,” she said. “These are typically the high performers for their companies, willing to look at a better job.”

A report issued jointly last year by the Airlines Reporting Corporation, American Express Global Business Travel and the travel consulting firm tClara found that roughly four-fifths of more than 750 business travelers surveyed would be interested in working for another employer — and traveling just as much — if the travel policy was attractive. Nearly as many said a prospective new employer’s travel policy was as important as or more important than pay and responsibilities.

Companies are eager to keep these workers happy. So paying extra for business-class seats might be the more economical choice, as research has found that the cost of replacing top-level executives can total more than 200 percent of their annual salaries.

“What I’m seeing is many of these clients are willing to loosen up the purse strings a little bit at first just to see if it’s going to facilitate traveler buy-in,” Ms. Van Luven said.

“The cheapest choice is not always the most efficient choice, and that’s something corporate travel policies have trouble articulating,” said Loe Cameron, a bioengineer in research and development who spends about three-quarters of her working time on the road.

Since her company was acquired about a year and a half ago, Ms. Cameron said that she had noticed more restrictions on the hotels and airlines employees were allowed to book, but that inconveniences like overnight layovers, convoluted itineraries (say, a United States-to-Britain trip via Turkey) and routes that require stopovers in cities with political or sectarian tensions were far less common.

“It’s been, on average, an improvement,” she said. “I think we have a lot of autonomy around travel.”

For human resources managers trying to woo candidates, agreeing to offer more flexible or comfortable travel arrangements is often more appealing than paying more in compensation, said Dave Carvajal, chief executive of Dave Partners, a technology recruitment firm.

“A company can win big points making their offer attractive without giving too much,” he said. It is not a fixed budget item that must be justified to investors or shareholders, and it makes the company look good from a corporate culture standpoint.

Mr. Carvajal said it was common for professionals he contacts on behalf of companies with open positions to ask for travel-related perks, along with salaries and other benefits. “Especially at the executive level, it’s all negotiable,” he said.

“The nature of work has really become ‘always on,’ ” he said. “To the degree you can find some creature comforts and make it easier for people to be more productive, it’s a sound investment.”

Via: The New York Times