How Facebook and Google Employees Stack Up Against Each Other

Both companies are extremely competitive in their quest to hire the best and the brightest--but not all of their perks are the same.

How Facebook and Google Employees Stack Up Against Each Other
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If you're faced with the decision of whether you should accept a job at Facebook or Google, congratulations --you are one of the privileged few.

Both employers rank in the top five on this year's list of the 50 best companies to work for in America, based on exclusive data from PayScale. And both are extremely competitive in their quest to hire the best and the brightest.

Once you've passed the intense interview process at each respective company, a number of awesome perks, great compensation, and most likely extreme contentment in your new job await you--but which job do you choose?

To make your decision a little easier, here's a head-to-head comparison of how Facebook and Google stack up as employers:

Googlers make more money

Google--recently renamed Alphabet in a corporate restructuring--topped Business Insider's annual list and dethroned Facebook (ranked No. 5), which held the top spot in 2015, thanks in part to its competitive compensation.

According to PayScale, the median salary of experienced workers is $140,000, the second highest on the list. At Facebook, the median salary of experienced workers is $135,000.

It's worth noting that two people in the same role at Google can be paid drastically different amounts, and this is intentional.

"It's hard work to have pay ranges where someone can make two or even 10 times more than someone else," writes Google HR boss Laszlo Bock in his book, "Work Rules!" "But it's much harder to watch your highest-potential and best people walk out the door. It makes you wonder which companies are really paying unfairly: the ones where the best people make far more than average, or the ones where everyone is paid the same."

Facebookers are happier

Employees from both tech companies are pretty happy to be there, but Facebook has the edge over Google with a satisfaction rating of 97% compared to Google's rating of 86%, according to employees who completed PayScale's survey.

"Every morning when I go in, I feel like the luckiest guy on earth for ever landing a job here," writes a Facebook data scientist in Menlo Park, California, on Glassdoor

There are a lot of contributing factors to Facebook's high level of happiness, but one important reason stands out: Facebook trusts its people.

Don Faul, a former Facebook executive, recently told The Wall Street Journal that, compared to Google, which he says is more structured and places more importance on "manager" titles, Facebook employees are often placed in roles that cater to their strengths and are encouraged to question and criticize their managers.

And this kind of freedom is perhaps one of the best drivers for employee engagement.

"You get zero credit for your title," he said. "It's all about the quality of the work, the power of your conviction, and the ability to influence people."

Googlers are less stressed

If you're in the market for a stress-free job, you'd be better off avoiding the tech industry altogether. But while it's unlikely for many techies to consider their jobs relaxing, more Google employees report low job-stress levels than Facebook.

While 12% of employees report their job isn't stressful at Google, 7% of Facebook employees say the same thing.

Perhaps one contributor to lower stress levels at Google is the various perks like on-site massages, free fitness classes and gym memberships, and a generous vacation plan that help employees unwind.

Another possible contributor: "The work environment is laid back, and less competitive than others. It really allows room for creativity," writes a Google product manager.

While the work at Google is inevitably demanding, and the company encourages its employees to set ambitious goals for themselves, Bock says Google managers don't expect people to meet these goals, and instead they make a point to help people learn from their failures

What's more, the company has a unique way of preventing backstabbing.

"The way we solve the 'backstabbing' problem, for example, is that if you write a nasty email about someone, you shouldn't be surprised if they are added to the email thread," Bock writes. "I remember the first time I complained about somebody in an email and my manager promptly copied that person, which forced us to quickly resolve the issue. It was a stark lesson in the importance of having direct conversations with colleagues!"

Facebookers consider their work slightly more meaningful

"Does your work make the world a better place?" That's what PayScale asked Facebook and Google employees, and 79% of Facebook employees answered with a resounding yes. At Google, 73% of employees feel their work gives them meaning.

Each company's mission statement sheds some light on why this may be.

"Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what's going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them," the social-networking site shares on its info page.

As a Facebook employee writes on Glassdoor, "We have a very straight forward mission -; to connect the world. Everyone knows it well, work is aligned to it, and everyone is passionate about making it happen."

And at Google, the company's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."

As Bock explains, this is "a moral rather than a business goal," and one that is intentionally impossible to achieve.

"This creates motivation to constantly innovate and push into new areas," he writes. "A mission that is about being a 'market leader,' once accomplished, offers little more inspiration. The broad scope of our mission allows Google to move forward by steering with a compass rather than a speedometer."

Googlers have responded well to this mission, saying on Glassdoor that meaningful and challenging projects is what attracted them to and keeps them at the company.

The hiring process is less difficult at Facebook, which could be better for employees long-term

Hiring at Google takes an average of six weeks compared to about a month at Facebook, and job candidates consistently rate on Glassdoor Google's interview process as more difficult than Facebook's.

While it may seem counterintuitive that more competitive hiring practices could work against Google, an ex-employee explains that the tech giant has its pick of the best and brightest candidates and often hires them for lower-level jobs.

"There are students from top 10 colleges who are providing tech support for Google's ad products, or manually taking down flagged content from YouTube, or writing basic code to A|B test the color of a button on a site," the ex-employee says.

A smaller team at Facebook could mean more room for career growth

Another former Google employee says that Google is too big for most of the company's 64,000 employees to have a real impact. Facebook, however, employs a much smaller team closer to 10,000 employees.

"Unless you are an amazingly talented engineer who gets to create something new, chances are you're simply a guy/girl with an oil can greasing the cogs of that machine," the former Google employee says.

And when it comes to moving up the ladder, Facebook employees report to Glassdoor that they have greater opportunities for growth. Compared to Googlers who feel satisfied in their ability to move up, Facebookers report that they are very satisfied with the career opportunities at Facebook.

Employees at both Google and Facebook love the generous benefits, especially for parents

Though Facebookers report on Glassdoor being ever so slightly happier with their benefits than Googlers, both companies offer great perks like free healthy and gourmet meals, a vibrant office environment, easy transportation to and from work, and generous paid parental leave.

"There is literally nothing bad about it--the perks and benefits are incredibly generous, and only get more so over time," writes a Facebook employee in Menlo Park, California. And a Google employee in Mountain View describes the employer as "a company that treats their employees great and in return gets motivated and loyal employees."

Facebook is one of the first companies to offer coverage of up to $20,000 for egg-freezing, it provides $4,000 in "Baby Cash" to employees with a newborn, and its employees love that they can enjoy parenthood on their terms, giving the tech company's maternity and paternity leave policies an almost perfect score on Glassdoor.

Current employees are particularly excited to report that Facebook makes its four-months-paid-leave policy available to women and men, whereas Google offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave and 12 weeks of paternity leave.

Googlers also give the company's parental policies an incredibly high score, as the company also offers new parents $500 toward baby bonding and on-site childcare. The company further provides the surviving spouse or partner of a deceased employee 50% of their salary for the next 10 years.

This story first appeared on Business Insider

May 3, 2016
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