The Great Resignation has hit the tech industry especially hard over the last few months. Recent surveys reveal that nearly three-quarters of tech employees plan to quit their jobs within the year, citing limited advancement opportunities, lack of flexibility amidst the post-pandemic return to the office push, and toxic workplace culture as key reasons for leaving. Seeking career development, remote work opportunities, and compelling salary and benefits packages, many are trading in their FAANG badges—that’s tech speak for major companies including Meta (Facebook), Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google—and Web2 jobs for new roles in the worlds of blockchain and Web3.
“FAANGs can feel like more of the same—and so huge that you can’t make a real difference,” says Jan Misselwitz, executive director of finance and people at IOTA Foundation, a non-profit focused on distributed ledger technology, open-source development, and infrastructure creation. “From a practical standpoint, candidates are beginning to feel that having a Web3 company on their CV will increase their marketability down the line. This was certainly true with the FAANGs in the past, but FAANG prestige is waning and being overtaken by different, more exciting projects.”
For some, the allure lies in getting in on the ground floor of a much-hyped, buzzy sector—and the opportunity to build and shape the future of the internet at large.
“Blockchain is the new kid on the block, and people want to meet that kid,” says Amy Barker, director of people at the blockchain analytics platform Nansen. “People in tech roles want to learn about the next big thing—they’re problem-solvers, they want to be in the forefront, they don’t want to be behind the curve. Blockchain is still an emerging space and there’s lots to learn about it.”
The decentralized ethos and ensuing pandemic-era boom in blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Web3 businesses engendered a nascent industry wherein individualized schedules, remote work, and geographical flexibility are the norm.
“One of the many reasons we’re seeing this shift is that employees do not want to lose the newfound freedoms that were introduced during Covid—particularly remote work,” Misselwitz says. “Many FAANGs are beginning to revert to pre-Covid policies, but their employees aren’t interested in returning to the office. So these employees are looking to Web3 projects that are happy to retain remote work policies, while often receiving a similar or better comp package.”
According to posts on Blind, recent comp packages at Coinbase, which benchmarks its compensation to the 75th percentile of its competitive set, range from $362,000 a year for a senior protocol engineer to $672,550 a year for an infrastructure engineer. And, while Google workers might get free food and Facebook gives its new hires cool Patagonia backpacks, crypto and Web3 startups might instead reward their teams with token allocations or travel perks.
“If it’s a startup, sometimes the ability to have the revenue to match comp levels is difficult, so we have to be very creative and look at it as total reward, not just traditional office perks,” Barker says. “Some crypto companies offer tokens instead of equity, as well as sign-on bonuses, enhanced family leave, fast-tracked career progression, unlimited paid time off.”
At Nansen, for example, Barker says one of the most attractive benefits employees can take advantage of is the opportunity to work remotely, all-expenses-paid, at any of the company’s hubs—three of which are located in Miami, Lisbon, and Singapore, with several more to come. “Candidates who come on board can work there for up to three months,” she says. “We’ll pay for your flights, for your accommodation, your office space. We’ll help with visas. All you have to do is pay for your own food, that’s it.”
But beyond the perks and frills, recruiters and HR executives say that it’s the empowering work culture of Web3 startups that makes the prospect of joining so compelling to disillusioned Web2 workers.
“The culture is completely different,” Barker says. “People come to us and they want to work how they want, in the way they want, when they want. It’s not just about remote working, it’s about having options. They are almost working as if they are founders and CEOs themselves—they want that kind of respect, and so they should, because everyone is that valuable on the team.”