Google vs. Yahoo: The open jobs report

UBS is out with its 2007 analysis of open job listings at Google and Yahoo and what they tell us about the two companies' respective direction. The short version: Both are thinking video.

UBS is out with its 2007 analysis of open job listings at Google and Yahoo and what they tell us about the two companies' respective direction. The short version: Both are thinking video. Google is on a lawyer binge while Yahoo wants engineering types.

Here are a few notable figures from the report:

  • Google had 2,854 open positions compared to 1,800 in 2006. At the end of the first quarter, Google had 12,238 employees.
  • Yahoo had 1,147 open positions compared to 803 in 2006. Yahoo had 11,700 employees at the end of the first quarter.
  • Both are advertising for positions focused on video. Google is looking for online video advertising, video advertising and search and television initiatives. Yahoo's focus for video seems to be on a better user experience, rich media and using video throughout the network.
  • Google has an offline focus and is advertising for workers to work on audio, mobile and print.
  • Yahoo is hiring folks for behavioral and geo-targeted ads.
  • Seventy percent of Yahoo's open positions relate to operations and research and development, up from 61 percent a year ago.
  • Google is hiring in 46 countries.

So what trends can be gleaned from this UBS data? Aside from the focus on video, which looks to be in the build-out phase at both Google and Yahoo, it's really a tale of two companies.

Google is loading up on sales and marketing (S&M in the chart below) and general and administrative (G&A) folks.


In addition, UBS notes that Google is hiring at a much more rapid clip than Yahoo.

Meanwhile, Google is also focused much more on building its international worker pool. For instance, 49 percent of Google's job listings are located abroad and spread among 46 countries. Google has 232 open jobs in Ireland, 173 in the United Kingdom and 139 in China.


Yahoo, however, features international job listings that represent 26 percent of the total. Yahoo is also more focused on established markets (roughly 12 countries). There are nearly 100 positions open in India.

Yahoo is serious about R&D this year. Google's engineering, operations and R&D open jobs are 42 percent of total listings. That's down from 51 percent a year ago. Yahoo's open positions in the same area are 70 percent of the total compared to 61 percent a year ago. And you can add another position since Yahoo's CTO resigned yesterday. This comparison is more interesting when you consider that Google is hiring more people.


So why the divergent hiring plan for Google and Yahoo? Here's one reason:

"We think this is due in part to Google’s need to focus on legal and regulatory issues and the associated headcount required to address these issues. We think Yahoo is focusing on systems and infrastructure and seems to be playing catch-up with Google," said UBS analyst Benjamin Schachter in the report.

Breaking down the positions also indicates Google's legal and regulatory diversions most likely concerning YouTube. Public policy, PR and legal jobs are prevalent.

Aside from hiring an army of legal types, Google is also hiring in the key areas CEO Eric Schmidt has outlined repeatedly: TV systems, video content (including YouTube), print and radio ads, Google Apps and government enterprise sales.

Yahoo seems to be mostly focused on video-related hiring. A few other notable hiring categories include security, agency sales, ad algorithms and analyzing video on demand models. Yahoo is also hiring for a new entertainment site and looking for someone to work on the company's environmental strategy.

The report has a few caveats. The biggest one is that UBS has to rely on public job listings. But many jobs are filled without an ad. To wit: Yahoo had 803 job postings in 2006, but wound up hiring 1,584 workers. Google had 1,811 job postings in 2006 yet hired 4,994.