Google is not only one of the top tech outfits in the world, they’ve also been voted among the top places to work consistently for a good few years. It’s no secret that Google employees, on top of having an amazing work environment and programs to take advantage of, get paid quite a bit. Aspring Googlers often extol the company’s virtues by first and foremost pointing out that they’ll never want for money, should they get the gig. Although not every Googler is as well off as the average CEO, pretty much everybody except unpaid interns makes at least a decent living wage. While Google’s UK arm is often thought of as playing second banana to their homeland operations, employees there still take home a fairly nice sum. Specifically, the average wage for all of the 2,300 employees of Google’s UK operations is £160,000, or about $229,632.
According to Margaret Hodge, former chair of the public accounts committee, this is more than enough to show that Google UK is “not a back office support operation” and that, in regards to Alphabet, their “complex structure of companies is a sham”. This figure comes hot on the heels of Google’s recent tax troubles in the UK and elsewhere, having been accused of sending roughly £4.6 billion through a maze of country-specific operations and different accounts in order to pay as little tax as possible. On top of backend and sales, Google’s UK workforce is responsible for working on hot projects such as Google Play, Android, AdSense and Search. According to whistleblower Barney Jones, who actually used to work for Google, “They do a lot of high-value sales, marketing and engineering – all out of London. I find it utterly baffling that HMRC accept[s] that these people do almost nothing worthwhile.”
Some of Google UK’s account expenditures show £290 million being shelled out for some land near London’s King’s Cross station that’s planned to have the capacity for up to 5,000 workers. The aggressive tax structure forged in the UK seems to have driven many businesses looking to go international to set up shop in Ireland instead, but critics still lambasted Google’s comparatively small back tax settlement. Hodge points out that these figures are all proof that Google UK is jumping through hoops to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.