The five biggest companies in tech have had a landmark year, growing to absurd size thanks to the shift to life online during COVID-19. Amazon is expanding into more industries than ever before and is looking to hire tens of thousands. Apple become the most valuable company in history. Google is expanding into healthcare. And those are just a few of the leaps made by these already-massive titans of technology.

But with this massive growth in size comes increased scrutiny. In addition to the various policies from each company which have attracted great criticism, four of the five FAANG members and Microsoft went under the microscope in front of Congress over the summer, even if no action was ultimately taken. And with increased scrutiny comes increased need to address that scrutiny. And FAANG has been hiring to that effect moreso than for any other position.

💎 Data Digs

  • Of all the FAANG companies, Amazon is hiring the most PR employees by far. PR job listings spiked in mid-March up to 1,070 just after the pandemic began [a sign that amazon saw the opportunity and potential backlash ahead] and has slowly climbed back down to 799 listings - still approximately 160 listings more than it had pre-COVID.
  • Amazon and Google are both sitting at 799 and 96 listings respectively. Though Amazon is hiring about eight times as many employees for PR than Google, both of these companies are hiring more PR employees than software engineering employees.

⚔️ Big Picture

  • Amazon's huge increase in PR hires just around the onset of the pandemic could be a sign that they foresaw the potential for growth as well as the backlash, and began to prepare early. The antitrust hearings that occurred in July were public knowledge for months prior, and Amazon may have been trying to sweeten their image well ahead of them. Amazon has launched several ad campaigns during the pandemic towards rehabilitating its public image around labor practices - one of the biggest points in the pockets of its critics.
  • Google, though a slightly more benign presence than Amazon, has also drawn criticism for its use of government-contracted COVID-19 data. While it is using this data to sell new products, it is also using them to provide tools to users such as a COVID-19 hotspot overlay for Google Maps.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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