After nearly a year of working from home, as COVID-19 vaccines roll out around America, the post-pandemic office is beginning to take shape.
Back in January, tech companies began planning their future work models. Some, like Twitter and Uber, announced work plans that would embrace a mix of in-office and work-from-home schedules. We noticed a growth trend among these soon-to-be-hybrid workforces — Twitter’s job listings surged 146% and Uber’s listings soared 193%. But the meaning of "hybrid work" varies across companies, with many still favoring in-office arrangements.
Hybrid work isn't for everyone— literally
Microsoft, which counts 166,475 employees, will utilize both remote and in-office work beginning no earlier than July. Still, employees will reportedly spend less than half of their time working from home. Microsoft’s executive vice president, Kathleen Hogan, said in an October blog post that “there is value in employees being together in the workplace.”
Last year, Microsoft job listings plummeted 65% from 5,580 in March down to 1,950 positions in June. According to our data, listings have since rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, now at 5,830.
Amazon announced last year that it would allow its employees to work from home through June 2021. Unsurprisingly, this policy only applies to workers in white-collar positions and not their warehouse employees. Since September, the e-retail giant has increased jobs with locations listed as "remote" or "virtual" by 140%, now with 2,540 remote positions.
Google expands its office footprint
Meanwhile, Google, which was among the first major tech corporations to announce an extended work-from-home schedule, has been busy expanding its office footprint. Alphabet said it would spend $7 billion this year on offices and data centers across the U.S., including $1 billion toward its home state of California. According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant said it would hire at least 10,000 full-time staffers throughout 2021 to prepare for America's post-pandemic recovery. The search engine giant is expecting employees to return to offices in the fall and plans to allow workers to remotely two days a week.
The company said the investment will go toward existing sites and three new offices in Minnesota, Texas, and North Carolina, spreading Google’s presence to a total of 19 states. Google's target locations are reflected in its job listings, with certain major cities seeing major growth. Our data shows 308 openings in New York City, 198 in Chicago, 58 in D.C., 188 in Atlanta, 164 in Austin, and 129 in Seattle. Alphabet reported more than 135,000 global employees as of last year and plans to add thousands of roles across these cities.
“Coming together in person to collaborate and build community is core to Google’s culture,” Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said in a blog post Thursday. “And it will be an important part of our future."
Google's data center expansion leads to temporary hiring surge
After decreasing the number of data center jobs last year, Google has been growing the department since late December. Our data shows that job listings with "data center" in the description have jumped from December's low of 396 (the lowest it's been since 2018) to 852 open roles, a 115% increase.
Google has more than doubled its number of data centers in the U.S. since 2018, WSJ reports. The expansion reflects the rapidly growing amount of digital information that we generate every day. These centers house large drives, computer nodes, environmental controls, operations software, and other systems that "help keep the internet humming 24/7."
As Google looks for income beyond advertising, the tech giant has been spending more on its cloud business. In 2020, it reported cloud unit sales rising 46% to $13.08 billion from 2019, while expenses increased by 51% to $5 billion. But the data center hiring spree might not last. Building these facilities demands an influx of construction jobs, but the centers require few employees once finished.
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.