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Google execs cornered by employees at all-hands, demanding to know why Amazon and Apple are paying more

March 24, 2022, 8:50 PM UTC

The zeitgeist of Google is angry about compensation.

Or should that be the “Googlegeist?”

That’s the name of an annual survey, and Google released the results of the latest edition earlier this month. Though it found that an overwhelming majority of employees are satisfied with the company’s mission and values, as of January, just a little over half said they believed their compensation packages are competitive, a number down from last year.

As you might expect, compensation was a key topic of discussion at a recent all-hands meeting with company executives, CNBC reports.

Via Dory, an internal Google tool the company uses to facilitate dialogue between speakers and attendees during events, employees subjected senior leaders at the search engine giant to a slew of tough questions over pay. Executives including CEO Sundar Pichai and VP of total rewards (compensation and stock packages) Brett Hill were front and center.

“Compensation-related questions showed the biggest decrease from last year, what is your understanding of why that is?” asked one employee.

Hill replied: “It’s a very competitive market and you’re probably hearing anecdotal stories of colleagues getting better offers at other companies.” He also noted that employees are likely feeling the effects of inflation or the impact of location changes on their salaries. 

(Last summer, the company announced that it would alter salaries to reflect local markets for employees who moved or opted to work from home permanently.)

Amazon adjusted base salary cap, Apple reportedly used RSU bonuses,” wrote another employee, who then asked how Google is planning to respond to its corporate peers in terms of compensation in a tight labor market. 

Hill noted that when considering the 81 companies Google typically competes with for talent, there’s been no trouble with recruitment. “We already compare favorably to these companies. We are able to hire from them,” he said. “We will make changes if and when we need to.”

When pushed by another employee about the drop in employee compensation satisfaction, Hill said: “This trend — it is concerning to us and we are keeping a close eye on it.”

“We know that our employees have many choices about where they work, so we ensure they are very well compensated,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement provided to Fortune. “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.”

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