Google Pays Better Than Teaching. Who Knew?

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Google.The following is a comment/response to Greg Bicknell’s Out of My League blog on September 1.

He was kind enough to link my The Perfect School blog. So this blog is about his blog which was about my blog (got it? Kind of confusing, sort of like Algebra)

Besides linking to my blog, he also listed the benefits that Google employees receive and then used those to make his point about education.

He said “Google is doing what I think we should be doing in education. Not just doing for the staff… some of this would be great… some of this would keep the good ones from going into the private sector.

If we are going to transform education… we have to truly transform it… attract the best and the brightest… change it for the better”

That would be great, but I do have another thought…

But first, if you worked at Google this what you could get (taken from his list… as I pride myself on doing absolutely no research… hey, it got me through college).

Health and Wellness Benefits

• Medical Insurance: 3 Carriers
• Dental Insurance
• Vision Insurance
• Flex Spending Account Plan
• EAP – Employee Assistance Program – Services for employees and their dependents include free short-term counseling, legal consultations, financial counseling, child care referrals and pet care referrals.
• Life and AD&D Insurance – Automatic coverage at 2 times annual salary.
• Voluntary Life Insurance – Option to purchase additional life insurance.
• Short Term & Long Term Disability – Short Term Disability Insurance coverage provided at 75% of salary. Long Term Disability coverage provided at 66 2/3% of salary once Short Term disability is exhausted.
•Business Travel Accident Insurance – Automatic coverage at 2 times annual salary.

As he said, this would be enough, but there is more…

Retirement and savings

• Google 401(k) Plan- Employees may contribute up to 60% and receive a Google match of up to the greater of (a) 100% of your contribution up to $2,500 or (b) 50% of your contribution per year with no vesting schedule! We offer a variety of investment options to choose from, through Vanguard, our 401(k) Plan Administrator. To help you with those tough investment decisions, employees can access Financial Engines to receive personalized investment advice.
• 529 College Savings Plan- This plan provides employees with a way to save money for post-secondary education.

Time away (why you would ever want to get away from the Google campus, I don’t know)

• Vacation
1st year- 15 days
4th year- 20 days
6th year- 25 days

• Holidays- 12 paid holidays (sick days taken as necessary)
• Maternity Benefits- up to 18 weeks off at approximately 100% pay
• Parental Leave (for non-primary caregivers)- up to 7 weeks off at approximately 100% pay
• Take-Out Benefit- To help make things easier, new moms and dads are able to expense up to $500 for take-out meals during the first 3 months that they are home with their new baby.

Still not done…

Extra Benefits

• Tuition Reimbursement- We’ll help you pursue further education that’s relevant to what you do. You must receive grades of “B” or better. Why a “B” or better? Because we said so. Tuition reimbursement is $8000 per calendar year.
• Employee Referral Program- Good people know other good people. Our best employees have been hired through referrals. Google encourages you to recommend candidates for opportunities here and will award you a bonus if your referral accepts our offer and remains employed for at least 60 days.
• Back-Up Child Care- As a California employee, when your regularly scheduled child care falls through Google will provide you with 5 free days of child care per year through Children’s Creative Learning Center (CCLC). 13 Bay Area locations serving ages 6 weeks – 12 years.
• Gift Matching Program- Google matches contributions of up to $3000 per year from eligible employees to non-profit organizations. Bolstering employee contributions to worthy causes with matching gifts doesn’t just mean helping hundreds of organizations, both locally and globally; it’s also a tangible expression. We want Googlers to get involved and the company is right behind you.
• Adoption Assistance- Google assists our employees by offering financial assistance in the adoption of a child. We’ll reimburse you up to $5000 to use towards legal expenses, adoption agencies or other adoption professional fees. Parental leave and take-out benefit also apply.

More Benefits (do they need more?)

• Food- Hungry? Check out our free lunch and dinner at our gourmet chefs create a wide variety of healthy and delicious meals every day. Got the munchies? Google also offers snacks to help satisfy you in between meals.
• On-site Doctor- At Google headquarters in Mountain View, California you have the convenience of seeing a doctor on-site.
• Shuttle Service- Google is pleased to provide its Mountain View employees with free shuttles to several San Francisco, East Bay and South Bay locations.
• Financial Planning Classes- Google provides objective and conflict-free financial education classes. The courses are comprehensive and cover a variety of financial topics.
• Other On-Site Services- At Google headquarters in Mountain View, there’s on-site oil change, car wash, dry cleaning, massage therapy, gym, hair stylist, fitness classes and bike repair.
• Other Great Benefits- Ski trip, company movie day, summer picnic, Halloween & holiday party, health fair, quarterly group offsites, credit union, sauna, roller hockey, outdoor volleyball court, discounts for products and local attractions.

I have to admit as an educator, I would settle for the free food and roller hockey. Keep the rest, as I am easy to please.

My thought on this: Google employees get these benefits for one reason and one reason only.

Because they can.

And it doesn’t make America anti-education. Or teachers underappreciated. It is all very simple.

It is supply and demand (see, I did learn something in college… they don’t just give away those Bachelor Degrees in Business Administration… actually they do, so please disregard the first part of this sentence).

Because there are more people qualified to teach than there are people qualified to work at Google, the amount educators get paid is less (okay, far less and no doctor on site).

Supply and Demand.

Lots of people want teaching jobs, but there are a limited number to go around.

Competition always drives the price down. Schools don’t pay more because they don’t have to.

If we want teachers to earn higher salaries, we need to have a system in which great teachers are allowed to shop their services and school districts are allowed to negotiate individually with employees.

And for a variety of reasons, this is not going to happen in the near future.

Google has this ability. And therefore, their employees are paid more and have better benefits.

The downside (if it is a downside) for their employees is being under Google’s control.

They can be dismissed, transferred, or demoted at a moment’s notice.

As educators would we be willing to allow changes to our present system to receive the benefits under Google’s system?

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5 Responses to “Google Pays Better Than Teaching. Who Knew?”

  1. Tom from Virginia
    on Sep 15th, 2008
    @ 8:04 am

    Have you taken a look at the live webcast presented by Aspen Institute? They have several speakers talking about the urgency of adjusting our education policies.

    Hope you get to take a look at.

  2. gr|nder
    on Sep 15th, 2008
    @ 1:42 pm

    Remember that Google is located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Most Google employees work 70-80 hour work weeks including summers and have no social life. Additionally, they usually only stay at a company like this for a few years so many of these benefits become unimportant. It’s all about getting in, getting some stock, making some major cash on the stock and getting out. Maybe those who drive eduction reform plans should be incented as such and then you will see fast results.

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