This year, Facebook tops the list, ranking as the best place to work in America. The social networking site just beats out Google, which comes in at No. 2.
Clearly, both tech giants are great employers, but why is Facebook a better place to work than Google?
To answer that question, we compared the two companies head to head with the help of data from PayScale and Glassdoor.
1. Facebookers are happier.
Employees from both tech companies are pretty stoked to be there, but Facebook has the edge over Google with a satisfaction rating of 93% compared to Google’s rating of 84%, according to employees who completed PayScale’s survey.
“Every morning when I go in, I feel like the luckiest guy on earth for ever landing a job here,” writes a Facebook data scientist in Menlo Park, California, on Glassdoor.
2. They get more freedom.
There are a lot of contributing factors to this high level of happiness, but one important reason stands out — Facebook trusts its people.
Don Faul, a former Facebook exec, recently told The Wall Street Journal that compared to Google, which he says is more structured and places more importance on “manager” titles, Facebook employees are often placed in roles that cater to their strengths and are encouraged to question and criticise their managers. And this kind of freedom is perhaps one of the best drivers for employee engagement.
“You get zero credit for your title,” he said. “It’s all about the quality of the work, the power of your conviction, and the ability to influence people.”
3. They make more money.
We know money isn’t everything when it comes to job satisfaction — but it certainly helps. In fact, while a higher salary won’t necessarily boost your happiness, researchers from the University of British Columbia and Michigan State University found that people with higher incomes reported feeling less sad, something Facebook employees surely know well.
On average an experienced employee at Facebook makes $US135,000 compared to $US133,000 at Google. And the social media company typically pays 17% above market rates for its employees, while Google pays 10% above market.
Taking a closer look, according to data gathered by Glassdoor, an intern at Facebook makes almost $US7,400 a month on average, while a Google intern makes closer to $US7,200 a month.
4. They’re less stressed.
If you’re in the market for a stress-free job, you’d be better off avoiding the tech industry altogether. But while it’s unlikely for many techies to consider their jobs relaxing, more Facebook employees report low job stress levels than any other tech company, including Google.
Despite stressors like product launches and “oncall duty,” a two-week period a few times a year when engineers are responsible for keeping Facebook’s service up-and-running around the clock, 11% of Facebook employees consider their jobs low-stress. Meanwhile, 9% of Google employees feel the same way.
5. They consider their work more meaningful.
“Does your work make the world a better place?” That’s what PayScale asked Facebook and Google employees, and 81% of Facebook employees answered with a resounding yes. At Google, on the other hand, 67% of employees feel their work gives them meaning.
A former Googler cited one possible explanation on Quora: too many overqualified people.
“It can be tough to feel a sense of accomplishment about what you do, and that sense is actually quite important to the type of people who are ambitious enough to get over the Google hiring bar.”
6. The hiring process is less difficult.
While it may seem counterintuitive that more competitive hiring practices could work against Google, the ex-employee explained that the tech giant has its pick of the best and brightest candidates and often hires them for lower-level jobs.
“There are students from top 10 colleges who are providing tech support for Google’s ad products, or manually taking down flagged content from YouTube, or writing basic code to AB test the colour of a button on a site,” the ex-employee said.
7. A smaller team means more room for growth.
Another former Google employee wrote on Quora that Google is too big for most of the company’s 53,000 employees to have a real impact. Facebook, however, employs a much smaller team of about 10,000.
“Unless you are an amazingly talented engineer who gets to create something new, chances are you’re simply a guy/girl with an oil can greasing the cogs of that machine,” the former Google employee wrote.
And when it comes to moving up the ladder, Facebook employees report to Glassdoor they have greater opportunities for growth. Compared to Googlers who feel satisfied in their ability to move up, Facebookers report they are very satisfied with the career opportunities at Facebook.
8. They love the generous benefits, especially those for parents.
Facebook and Google both have great perks — free food, a vibrant office environment, easy transportation to and from work — but Facebook trumps Google in the parenthood department.
Facebook is one of the first companies to offer coverage of up to $US20,000 for egg-freezing, and its employees love that they can enjoy parenthood on their terms, giving the tech company’s maternity and paternity leave policies an almost perfect score on Glassdoor.
Current employees are particularly excited to report Facebook makes its four-months-paid-leave policy available to both women and men, whereas Google offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave but just 12 weeks of paternity leave.
And overall, Facebookers report on Glassdoor being happier with their benefits than Googlers.
“There is literally nothing bad about it — the perks and benefits are incredibly generous, and only get more so over time,” writes a current employee in Menlo Park, California.
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