Faced with strong competitors and the curse of bright, entrepreneurial workers who have opportunities elsewhere, Google is bulking up on talent to ensure that it can grow.
Google is looking for a few good engineers, not to mention product managers, salespeople, customer service representatives, and attorneys, among others.
The company is bringing on a new CEO in April, co-founder Larry Page, whose major focus many believe will be raising the level of Google's social offerings to more effectively counter the threat posed by Facebook.
At the same time, Google is planning to hire many more employees and to retain the talent it already has. During the company's recent Q4 2010 earnings call, CFO Patrick Pichette confirmed that Google had raised base salaries for its employees by 10% and shifted non-executive compensation from bonuses to salary increases.
A number of high-profile Google employees have taken positions at Facebook and other tech companies, or left of their own accord armed with stock options, and it's widely believed that Google raised its pay to discourage workers from seeking greener pastures. VP of product management Sundar Pichai, who has been overseeing the company's Chrome OS project, was reportedly courted by Twitter recently, but opted to remain at Google, presumably in conjunction with a significant counter-offer.
Google confirmed that Pichai plans to remain with the company but declined to discuss matters related to compensation. However, the company is openly declaring its intent to hire. In a blog post on Tuesday, Google SVP of engineering and research Alan Eustace stated that 2011 will be the biggest hiring year in the company's history.
"We’re looking for top talent -- across the board and around the globe -- and we’ll hire as many smart, creative people as we can to tackle some of the toughest challenges in computer science: like building a Web-based operating system from scratch, instantly searching an index of more than 100 million gigabytes and even developing cars that drive themselves," he declared.
With unemployment in the U.S. at 9.4% last month, that kind of job creation is sure to be welcomed in the many communities where Google operates.
Google has been growing fast. It added 4,500 jobs last year, mainly in engineering and sales, according to Eustace. The company's biggest hiring year to date, 2007, saw over 6,000 people join the company. So look for Google to hire at least that many people this year.