There are 106,000 psychologists in the United States and only a small portion of them are employed at tech companies. However, tech companies do hire psychologists as they are useful to maintain good mental health among employees and provide useful insights into the impacts of technology on the wider public.
People in a variety of fields are looking to cash in on the explosion of the tech industry. The good news for psychologists is that there are plenty of opportunities available at top tech companies. The average salary for a psychologist is $81,040 a year but if you worked at a tech company you could expect at least double that.
The prospect of working in tech is exciting and is also drawing people from fields like chemical engineering. Maintaining a healthy staff is important so psychologists can help smooth out office rifts and help people developers with any negative feelings. They also provide vital information on how the effects of products on the wider public.
Let’s take a closer look at why tech companies hire psychologists and how they are used in the tech industry.
Do tech companies employ psychologists?
Tech companies employ psychologists to give them better insight into the effects of their products, improve the workplace, and help address any internal office tensions. Each company will use psychologists in different capacities. Many choose to have them as permanent staff while others hire them as consultants for specific projects or products.
The distribution of 106,000 psychologists across the United States is fairly uneven. The east and west coasts have a high concentration of experts while coverage is lacking in the middle of the country. But the coastal cities of New York and California are technology hubs in the U.S. So if you have a background in psychology and want to change fields, Silicon Valley on the west coast is a great place to start.
Mental health struggles in tech
There is clearly a big need for better mental health care for those working in technology so it makes sense for companies to have in-house therapists and counselors.
The stats surrounding mental health for IT workers aren’t great. 67% of tech industry employees state they would never bring up a mental health issue in an interview. On a scale of five, 44% of people give a rating of two when asked about how well the industry supports mental health issues, with an overall average of 2.6.
Worryingly 61% of people said they had sought treatment for a mental health disorder but only 13% were open to this at work. It means there are a lot of people hiding their mental health struggles at work and having to carry the burden alone. The reasons why people hide health issues are for another article but it shows the real need for mental support in the tech industry.
Why do companies hire psychologists?
Companies usually hire psychologists to help improve the workplace, smooth out internal issues, deliver training, and provide psychological assessments. Tech companies also hire them to understand the impact of their products on the general population. Some businesses have people position in-house but a lot of companies hire psychologists on a contract basis for specific tasks or projects.
The reasons why companies hire psychologists are:
- Psychological Assessment – new hires are often interviewed by corporate psychologists to determine whether their personality traits would be an asset. Businesses need to understand if a candidate would be a good culture fit and what they are likely to bring to the table.
- Improving the workplace – motivation is hugely important at work. Corporate psychologists look at job design and the overall offering of a company to try to improve things. They are used to improve satisfaction, and loyalty and improve efficiency by introducing policies that reduce stress and discontent.
- Workplace issues – psychologists help businesses understand their biases in hiring and management practices. They usually conduct research and then recommended changes to decrease the likelihood of issues arising in the workplace. They are also used to smooth other difficult situations between employees.
- Product impact – companies like Facebook and Google have products that are used by millions of people. Social media platforms hire psychologists to measure the impact of their platforms. They are also used to gain insight into how to attract new users and retain existing ones for longer.
How do tech companies use psychology?
Tech companies use psychology to focus on the well-being of their employees and to also look externally at the impact of their products. Around 60% of tech employees have sought help for mental health issues so improving their well-being is crucial to the long-term success of a business.
The vast majority of the work psychologists do at tech companies involves improving the workplace. They tend to look at how job design, remuneration, company policies, and culture impact employees. Even a slight uptick in motivation and happiness at work can lead to big results. Improving employee loyalty is also key to avoiding high turnover and securing long-term stability.
It is also important that tech companies study the behavior of the people who use their tools. There has been an open letter written by people in the field worried about the use of psychologists to increase the addictiveness of platforms. Psychologists and UX researchers have been identified as working with companies to make people use their platforms for longer which can lead to worse mental health.
In contrast, they can also be a force for good in tech. They have helped build out platforms that remind people to take their daily medication and help improve health outcomes in the long run.
Does Google hire therapists?
Google does hire therapists and the average salary for a therapist at Goole is $116,768 a year which is 36% more than the average salary for a psychologist. However, the average salary which has been reported by at least three previous employees of Google doesn’t even include bonuses, commission, and profit-sharing.
Similar to therapists in other corporate roles, a therapist at Google will:
- Conduct personality assessments
- Help improve the workplace
- Mediate difficult personal situations
- Assess the impact of products
The area of the business that a therapist or a psychologist works in will have the biggest impact on the work they do day to day. The tech boom has enticed people from a variety of fields into the industry and modern tech companies are more than happy to welcome them among their ranks to improve employee wellbeing.