Does Google Ireland have 6,000 employees in Ireland?
The head of Google Ireland said via a press release issued by IDA Ireland on Thursday: "We now employ 6,000 people here in Ireland both direct and contracted employees." Is this claim valid? The evidence suggests that Google has not more than doubled its staff in Ireland in recent years.
Caution is required here because what would be effectively a stealth surge in staff numbers coincides with the international efforts to curb tax avoidance and boosting the claimed impact on the Irish economy could be related to this issue.
For years the total employment at Intel Ireland's Leixlip facility has been put at 4,500 by politicians, the media and enterprise agencies. Intel advised Finfacts in 2014 that the true number was 2,800 — in effect counting the staff of service companies providing for example security and canteen services, is misleading.
What Google Ireland is claiming is that all the additional staff it has hired in recent years are its employees but not permanent staff.
Apple Inc. says it has 76,000 staff in the US mainly in retail and call centres. It claims that it supports 1.9m jobs in the US — this includes app developers who may make a living or not for their apps among 800,000 sold on the Apple App store.
IBM has ceased providing head count data as it then is able to avoid publicly announcing layoffs.
Last October Google Ireland disclosed in its 2014 financial accounts that 2,763 were employed, up 17% on the previous year. In a statement it added that when contract staff were included, the number of employees rose to 5,000 — contract and part-time staff are employees of a company and typically are not ignored in financial accounts filings.
1. The Information and communication (J) employment category in Ireland according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) had 85,200 employed in March 2016.
2. Employment in the category rose by 2,700 in the 27 months from the end of 2013. Could Google account for all the ICT (Information and communication technology) job gains in the economy since 2013?
3. Google has said in the past that 70% of the jobs in Dublin are held by foreign nationals but employment permits data show no big surge in recent years.
4. Including permit renewals, the numbers are 157 in full-year 2013; 234 in 2014; 286 in 2015 and 140 to May 2016.
5. The Google Ireland accounts typically refer to "headcount" with no distinction on the status of employees.
6. 2015 appears to be the first year where in a statement the company referred to additional contract employees.
What would be amazing is that a government addicted to jobs spin would not have milked the public relations value that Google had more than doubled its staff in Ireland to 6,000 in a few years.
On Thursday, Enda Kenny, taoiseach, officially opened a two storey data centre which houses computers that run services such as the Google search engine, Gmail and Google Maps, which was built alongside Google’s existing data centre which opened in 2012. The data centre will provide employment for 30 people.
If Google Ireland now has 6,000 employees, it is likely that this results from a restructuring for tax purposes. In effect the 3,000 new employees relate to reallocation of staff based in other countries to Google Ireland.
The purpose of this could be to avoid having to argue the current fiction for example that UK corporate sales are completed in Dublin not London.
We will update this information if necesary after a response from Google.
"Today's announcement represents what we have achieved as a country"
Mary Mitchell O'Connor, jobs minister (left of image)