Googlers Can Make More Money Dead Than Many Do While Living


We all are well aware of just how big a deal it is to work at Google. There are endless perks (did you know that no Googler on campus is supposed to be further than 100 ft from a food source at any given time?).

So you know, this is not a gripe post. The fact that Google decides to treat its employees so well is a testament to their understanding that their employees are their business. They give a lot and expect a lot and both of those are more than OK. I will even admit to having a bit of envy but that’s my problem not Google’s. The fact is that all of these benefits that the company offers their employees are incredibly good things (by the way Google, I am not a Phd or anything like that but I would be available for an interview if you have some ‘just has a college degree’ quota you need to hit ;-) ).

To exactly what extent these benefits go became oddly clear following an article in Forbes this week that explained a new and really interesting perk Google is rolling out to all its 34,000 employees.

Should a U.S. Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there’s “no tenure requirement” for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify.

I see and hear a lot over the course of a day but this one blew my mind. As a result, I decided to do some quick ‘rithmetic and came up with the following.

According to the Social Security Administration’s website

The national average wage index for 2010 is 41,673.83

Then you get the following information from a post at the Business Insider from June of 2011

A comparison of tech companies by Payscale confirms what you thought all along: It would be sweet to work for Google.

The survey looked at salary, company culture, job satisfaction and benefits & perks at nine major companies. Although the companies weren’t ranked, Google excelled in every category.

Googlers have the highest mid-career median salary at $141,000.

Aside from the nit pick of comparing an average to a median and figuring out the exact salary at the exact mid-point of a career (I have other work to do by the way :-) ) a little quick math shows that if the average Googler died while being an active employee of the company, their family or partner would receive a salary for the next 10 years that is about 70% HIGHER than the average person makes in a year in the US. Not a perfect comparison but one that probably holds up pretty well across most ranges.

So what’s the marketing angle on this one? Well, how about doing something special for your employees that you can then take to the press and make everyone say ‘Really?! That is pretty cool’. We talk a lot about reputation here at Marketing Pilgrim. Oftentimes in relation to Google those discussions center on things that tend to ding Google’s reputation. Whether it’s about being a monopoly or not being the best keeper of promises regarding privacy they are not good things. What better to try to offset that talk than to point to the good they do for those working for them.

Now, of course you can quickly take the path of saying ‘Google keeps these folks at bay with great perks so they can carry out these various dubious deeds.’ That’s a valid point as well. But just think about the number of companies that not only mess with customers but also under-appreciate or mistreat employees every day. At least Google gives a nod to something a little bit bigger by saying ‘Hey, we know there are others in your life so don’t worry. We’ll take care of them for a good while when you’re gone.’

Now, let’s not be completely naive here and think that Google didn’t have an actuarial do what amounts to an insurance company’s assessment of exactly how much this will cost annually based on mortality rates etc. If they didn’t they would be stupid but the fact is that they took a pretty bold step with this benefit. I gotta tip my hat.

What about you? Like this? Hate this? Find it uncomfortable because you assume you are immortal and will not die? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section.