Stephen Foley: Searching question Google can't answer
Saturday 13 November 2010
US Outlook: Was Google's move this week to give every employee a 10 per cent pay rise a bold tactical move in the "war for talent", or was it surrender?
The company has prided itself on being a desirable place to work – the desirable place to work – a university campus of experimentation, where employees get 20 per cent of their time to follow their own personal projects, in the knowledge that Google can back them if they are successful. So I just don't get the boast about a big pay rise. Is that all you have to offer? Cash?
For in-demand computer science graduates looking to get rich, the really big upside is never going to be in a publicly-quoted company. Pre-flotation upstarts, such as Facebook (where 12 per cent of employees are ex-Google), offer more monetary promise. Baby start-ups offer vastly more, if they take off. Google equity and share options have lost their appeal, as its own employees have been telling it.
It is hardly news that Google is not a start-up any more. The company is worth $200bn and makes profits at the rate of $1m an hour.
It is the entrenched market leader in online advertising and the launches of great inventions like Google Maps and Gmail are now quite some distance behind it. Its latest big product roll-out, pop-up previews of web pages alongside its search results, is in fact a copy of Microsoft's Bing.
The worrying question raised by the raise is whether Google is running out of ideas, not just ideas about how to compensate its staff but about how to energise them.
My experience of software engineers and their ilk is that they are motivated more by creativity and the chance to change the world for the good than they are by money. It is exactly the world view that is summed up in Google's own company slogan: Don't be evil. That slogan is much under attack these days, as the company's tentacles stretch into all corners of business and it has greater and greater profits to defend. I'm not sure there is much that a 10 per cent pay rise can do about that.
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 3 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 4 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence referendum live: Latest news as Scotland decides Yes or No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
£70-90,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client a London Market Insurer are seeking a Pro...
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...