Google's going to do its part to reduce the unemployment rate in 2011, declaring plans to hire more people this year than it ever has before.
Worrying about the economy is so 2008, said Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research, in a blog post today outlining plans for "our biggest hiring year in company history." Like most companies, Google scaled back its hiring after hitting a high-water mark in 2007 with slightly more than 6,000 new employees, but after adding 4,500 people in 2010 it vowed to get back to those pre-bust levels this year.
Hiring will be "across the board and around the globe," Eustace said. Google's career Web pages list openings in seemingly every discipline; focused heavily on engineering and its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, as one might expect, but with plenty of openings in other careers and geographies.
It was impossible to miss the undercurrent to Eustace's post: Google now faces much more competition for employees in both its home region and around the world as other Internet companies--places like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, and Groupon--build mega-businesses of their own. While working at Google certainly has its perks, those companies offer something Google simply can't: the prospect of a major stock payday through an IPO or private sale.
Eustace was careful to emphasize that Google employees work in small project teams "effectively working as start-ups," probably hoping to dent recent criticism of Google as an increasingly bureaucratic place where it's harder to get good ideas in front of decision makers. That was one reason cited by Google's outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt for passing the torch to co-founder Larry Page, writing in a blog post last week that a change was needed to "simplify our management structure and speed up decision making."
"Google is still the same entrepreneurial company it was when I started, encouraging Googlers to take on big ideas and high-risk, high-reward opportunities," Eustace wrote. Last week Google said that as of the end of 2010, 24,400 people worked for the company.