Google Inc. has been one of the most loudly outspoken of American companies about its alleged chronic difficulty in finding enough programmers and engineers. It has used this as an excuse to vociferously advocate raising the H-1B and green card caps.
To further its agenda, Google, along with a long list of the other companies who lust for cheap labor, signed a CompeteAmerica petition that asked Congress to support the SKIL and STRIVE bills. Both of those bills would make H-1B and Green Card limits so high that for all practical purposes they would be unlimited.
This Congressional testimony by Google's director of "People Operations" is a typical example of Google's nonsensical claims that it needs to import foreign workers into the United States:
“We believe that it is in the best interests of the United States to welcome into our workforce talented individuals who happen to have been born elsewhere, rather than send them back to their countries of origin. But this doesn't mean we don't recruit here in the U.S., or that American workers are being left behind. To the contrary, we are creating jobs here in the U.S. every day.
“Simply put, if U.S. employers are unable to hire those who are graduating from our universities, foreign competitors will.”
Testimony of Laszlo Bock [PDF] Vice President, People Operations, Google, Inc., House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship; June 6, 2007
I was wondering where Google thinks the “talent” is, so I started doing some, well, Googling to find the answers.
Much to my surprise, Google can't seem to find “talent“ in India, even though that's where most of the H-1B visa holders come from! Even with a billion-plus people, India allegedly doesn't have enough “talent” for Google's staffing needs:
“There may be more than a billion people in India, but even an Internet superstar like Google Inc. has trouble recruiting talented locals in its South Asian operations, a board member said Tuesday.”[Google finds huge talent shortage in India, By Adam Tanner, Reuters, October 10, 2006]
Google can't find enough “talent” in Australia either—but lookie here! Google claims that it is having to go to the U.S. (!!) to get talent to bring to Australia:
“Google is having to search the United States for IT workers to staff the search engine's growing operations in Australia.”[Skill shortage forces Google to search offshore. Sydney Morning Herald May 2, 2007]
Google's claims of “talent” shortages seem to depend on which country it being interviewed in.
One thing there is no shortage of is news articles about how Google searches the globe to hire people with “talent”.
Note that, in almost all of these stories, Google is reported to be searching at universities and other places young people hang out. Apparently the “People Operations” at Google don't consider anyone over the age of 28 to have “talent”. So it never occurs to them to look for employees in the long lines at the (hint) UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE!
Or maybe Google just doesn't consider 28-plussers to be people.
I mean, it can't be that it just doesn't want to pay competitive salaries. Can it?
The world's greatest search engine company has such a tough time finding “talent” that it must resort to sending treats to college campuses in order to win the favor of students—who, as we all know, eat nothing but pepperoni pizza!
“For instance, Google sows the seeds early, sending pizzas at midnight to computer science labs at universities they want to draw employees from. The company secures a student volunteer at each school for the academic year to ensure pizza deliveries are made at peak study periods. The idea is if someone is dedicated enough to be in the computer lab at midnight, that's the type of employee Google wants. In turn, the free pizza creates a positive impression about Google on a new batch of computer grads.”[Labor Pains: Talent Shortage Drives New Approach to Management, By Brendan Coffey, MotivationStrategies]
The truth: despite Google's claims to the contrary, it does not have difficulties finding qualified applicants. In fact, its main problem seems to be how to dump most of the resumes it receives:
“Every month, aspiring workers deluge the popular Mountain View search engine with up to 150,000 resumes, equivalent to a stack of paper at least 50 feet high. And the firm claims to read each and every one.
“Google hires nine new workers a day. In less than two years, the number of employees has more than tripled to 4,989.”
[How Google woos the best and brightest, by Verne Kopytoff, SF Chronicle, December 18, 2005]
Hmmm. Let's consider the mathematics involved in this statement.
Google must be receiving about 1.8 million applications per year (12 months X 150,000 resumes) and hiring 5,085 per year (9 workers X 365 days). That suggests that they are only hiring 0.3% of their applicants—not a very compelling indication of a paucity of applicants or a shortage of talented individuals.
OK, so now we have heard all the hype and hoopla about the enormous numbers of people who want to work at Google. And, of course, we've heard Google's incessant whining that it can't find enough workers that are worth hiring.
But this little news blip last Friday calls into question everything Google has said.
“[Google's CEO Eric] Schmidt indicated the drop was due in part to the company hiring more people during the quarter than it had anticipated, and it seems that it will keep a closer eye on hiring in the coming months.”
“Google earnings less astronomical than expected — CEO blames new employees”, By Cade Metz, The Register, July 20, 2007
Bah, Humbug! CEO Schmidt (2006 estimated net worth according to Forbes Magazine: $6.2 billion) may not realize it, but he just inadvertently admitted that Google has been lying all along. Instead of suffering from “talent” shortages, it has been over-hiring—and now it is going to be firing lots of people.
You can bet that most Googlians that lose their jobs will be U.S. citizens—not the cheap H-1Bs that the company has been importing into the country.
Google (contact it) should be charged with contempt of Congress for making false claims of shortages of American-born “talent”
Rob Sanchez (email him) is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization and author of the "Job Destruction Newsletter" (sign up for it here) at www.JobDestruction.com. To make a tax-deductible donation to Rob Sanchez, click here.