Google self-driving car workers were paid so well that they left
- Google compensated the employees in its driverless car project so well that several of the workers left the company for other opportunities, Bloomberg Technology reports. The payouts, which were tied to the estimated value of the project, were so lucrative that some employees no longer required job security.
- Bloomberg says compensation included salaries, bonuses and equity in the business. Google even added multipliers on top of the payouts.
- Employees like former project leader Chris Urmson left to start their own companies, according to the report. Other early project members left in August to start Otto, a self-driving truck firm bought out by Uber Technologies. And a former Google executive, Bryan Salesky, left to start Argo AI, for which he won a $1 billion-dollar investment from the Ford Motor Co.
It’s rare for a company to pay employees so well that they leave. However, Google (along with its parent company, Alphabet) is an unusual, highly innovative company that can afford the risk.
Google’s car project made those involved financially independent of the company and ready to pursue greater challenges elsewhere. Employers that can’t afford a talent exodus like Google’s should have compensation programs that are competitive but reasonable enough not to drive employees out.
High pay certainly can be a recruitment and retention incentive for employees. But studies show that workers also value opportunities for advancement and recognition for a job well done.