Concerns about pay are growing at Google, where an internal survey revealed increased dissatisfaction with compensation, according to Business Insider.
The outlet reported that 53% of Google employees "responded favorably that their total compensation is competitive compared to that of similar jobs at other companies," a decline from 63% in 2021.
Similarly, 53% "responded favorably that their total compensation is 'fair and equitable,'" compared to 63% in 2021, Business Insider reported.
A Google spokesperson did not confirm the accuracy of the statistics cited by Business Insider but provided the following statement to HR Dive in an email: "We know that our employees have many choices about where they work, so we ensure they are very well compensated. That's why we've always provided top of market compensation across salary, equity, leave, and a suite of benefits. Getting employee feedback is important, and we'll continue to ensure we pay competitively everywhere our employees work and help them grow their careers at Google."
"Googlegeist," the internal survey and annual publication referenced by Business Insider, is known for its high response rates. Other measures of Google employees paint a dissimilar picture of pay satisfaction at the company — namely, most employees are satisfied with their pay.
On Blind, an anonymous online platform whose membership consists of employees of several large tech companies, Google ranks as the fourth best company for compensation and benefits behind Facebook parent company Meta, NVIDIA and Lyft, according to Rick Chen, director of public relations at Blind. Additionally, a survey of verified Google employees on the platform found that 67% believe their compensation is fair, relative to similar roles at other companies.
Google has been the subject of litigation regarding its pay practices. In 2021, the company paid $3.8 million to 5,500 employees as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which alleged pay discrimination at some of the company's locations in California and Washington state.
Return to work and desire for autonomy
Pay is not the only issue causing division among Google professionals, however. Business Insider also reported that employees who choose to continue working remotely, rather than return to the office, may face pay cuts of up to 25%. Google has announced that its voluntary work-from-home period will end for many of its U.S. locations by April 4, according to CNBC.
A March 2022 Blind survey of 1,097 verified U.S. Google employees found 66% said they were not satisfied with the company's plan to require certain workers to perform at least three days of in-office work per week. Slightly fewer, 62%, said they were not satisfied with Google's April 4 reopening plan.
Meanwhile, most respondents to the March 2022 Blind survey said they did not plan to apply for a permanent remote work arrangement. Blind said in its analysis that respondents cited a variety of reasons for not doing so, including the aforementioned possibility of pay cuts as well as messaging from leadership and management that discouraged remote work.
The results, and some written responses from Google professionals on Blind, indicate discontent over lack of voice in the company's policies, Chen explained.
"A lot of folks just don't feel like they're being heard, and I don't think this is unique to Google employees," he said. "Right now, there's this general frustration, perhaps not just isolated to Google employees, but a feeling of hopelessness about not being able to have that kind of autonomy and choice."
Against that backdrop, some Google employees have made a bid to unionize. Last year, more than 500 of the company's workers signed on to form the Alphabet Workers Union.