Google cut employee pay in North Carolina. Now the employees are protesting

Equity awards, which typically make up a significant portion of tech workers’ total compensation, are also being cut from last month. For some employees, that means their stock awards could be 25% lower than if they worked at other Google offices, such as in Atlanta, the workers said in the letter.

Employees say they want the pay cut reversed and their bosses commit to being more transparent about how regional pay differences are determined.

“Why is this new policy being introduced when our work has contributed to record stock market performance, despite Covid-19?” the employees wrote in the letter. Google makes $257.6 billion in revenue in 2021, up 41% from 2020.

Google’s workforce has historically been concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most expensive places to live in the country. But in 2020, the company said it would double its hiring across a wider range of locations, in part to help increase the diversity of the company’s workforce.

“During our annual review, we found that our compensation guidelines in the Research Triangle region exceeded market salary benchmarks, so we have made adjustments to align with the local market. Employees working there have not seen a reduction in pay or their existing stock grants,” Google spokeswoman Shannon Newberry said. “Our goal is to always pay at the top of the local market.”

In recent years, tech giants have expanded across the country in search of additional – and sometimes cheaper – talent. Amazon conducted a nationwide “HQ2” beauty search before landing in Northern Virginia. Tesla moves its headquarters to Texas. And Google, Facebook and other giants have opened offices in major cities across the country.

Many companies pay different levels depending on employee location and cost of living.

The tech industry has long struggled to increase its diversity among a predominantly male, white and Asian workforce. Google in particular has had issues with its recruiting practices at historically black colleges and universities, The Post reported.

Last year, Kamala Subramaniam, head of Google’s Durham office responsible for expanding the company’s presence in the region, said she wanted to work more closely with HBCUs.

“Entering the Google Durham site should be a statement in itself: it should be diverse with historically underrepresented groups at all levels,” Subramaniam said in a statement. interview with Raleigh News and Observer.

Google has about 200 to 300 employees in the region, current employees said in interviews. The company said it wants to grow its presence to more than 1,000, making the region a major engineering hub.

“It’s very problematic that the company is paying people less in this area while claiming they want to hire more people from HBCUs and other disenfranchised groups,” said a local Google employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. .

This employee and another noted that they liked working at Google and felt the company paid them well, but they wanted to make sure the company treated all of its employees fairly.

“We want to see this office succeed and we want this office to become a very diverse office. We just want it to be a thriving and diverse office where people earn as much as their peers,” the employee said.

The pandemic has also spread more Google employees across the country as people have taken advantage of the ability to work remotely and moved to more affordable locations. Many workers located in the Triangle area moved there during the pandemic, employees said.

The announcement that wages would be cut below national levels came after many took the plunge, the workers wrote in the letter to management. Some even left the area, said one of the employees.

Google executives have said most workers are expected to work in an office most of the week, once it is safe to do so. The company set up an internal calculator for workers who left expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco and New York to calculate how much their pay would be cut if they didn’t return, Reuters reported in August.

For workers in North Carolina, the pay cuts seem particularly targeted.

“It just fits into this pattern of going south to try to get cheaper labor,” one worker said. “That doesn’t look bad at all.”


Google’s spokesperson is Shannon Newberry. An earlier version of this article misspelled his surname. This article has been updated.

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