Google Ireland staff getting paid far less than UK colleagues

8 Feb 2016

Google sign. Image via Luke Maxwell

The accounts for Google Ireland have shown a rather unfortunate truth for the company – its Irish sales staff are being paid less than half of what their colleagues in the UK are.

While Google maintains smaller operations in the UK due to its size, Google Ireland remains the tech giant’s hub for much of its sales activity in the EMEA market in a corporate tax structure that sees the UK office provide marketing for Ireland, and Ireland being where advertisers buy into its advertising model.

In doing so, they play into the ever-controversial corporate tax model that has seen Ireland criticised internationally, with operations in the UK paying little to no tax, and the bulk of revenue going through Ireland and its more forgiving rates.

According to The Guardian, Google Ireland made close to €6.5bn in sales from UK advertisers but, due to the tax structure, none of that revenue reach the UK government’s coffers.

Less than half the UK average

Furthermore, the latest accounts have revealed a rather nasty surprise for Google Ireland’s sales employees, with €244m being allocated for wages, which would put the average wage among its 2,577 employees at €94,590.

The average UK Google sales employee, on the other hand, earns around £160,000 (€207,000). The fact that the staff is marginally smaller – totalling around 2,300 – does not account for this discrepancy.

Salaries for Google Ireland’s three directors show that they earned a combined salary of €1,644,000 in 2014, which could be considered low for a business which accumulated sales of €18.3bn that year.

Google is currently finding itself under pressure in the UK once again, with its head of European sales – Matt Brittin – to appear before a public accounts committee regarding its tax operations in the country, particularly with regard to the £130m settlement it reached with the UK revenue office.

Those critical of the amount settled for by Google and the revenue authority – the HMRC – say that this was to facilitate the building of a new Google office in London expected to cost in the region of £1bn.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic