Tech jobs: Microsoft growing again; Google growing faster

Microsoft added a net total of more than 1,000 employees worldwide in the quarter ended June 30, bringing its total employment back above 90,000, according to newly updated figures from the company.

Looking back at past data supplied by the company, that’s the largest quarterly growth in Microsoft’s workforce in more than two years. Microsoft made big cutbacks starting in early 2009, grappling with the economic recession.

This past quarter, a little more than half of Microsoft’s employment growth (559 jobs) was in international markets, based on GeekWire’s crunching of the current and historical numbers. Microsoft added 450 jobs in the U.S., but only 144 of those were in the Seattle region. The numbers include direct employees, not contractors or others who work on Microsoft projects via outside employment firms.

On a worldwide basis, the addition of 1,009 new jobs translates into a 1 percent increase in Microsoft’s employment base, compared with the previous quarter this year.

That’s still a far cry from the company’s unbridled hiring of the past. Microsoft has emerged from the downturn with a bigger focus on minimizing operating expenses as a way of boosting its profit margins, as reflected by the company trumpeting not only revenue growth but also operating margin expansion as it reported quarterly and annual earnings yesterday.

Microsoft had more than 95,000 employees at its peak in late 2008. Of course, the important trend isn’t the quantity of hires as much as the quality, but the numbers provide a glimpse into the company’s mindset.

Meanwhile, the latest numbers from Google show the search giant following through on its promise to boost hiring this year. Google’s financial summary for the second quarter shows the company adding more than 2,400 employees worldwide, reaching a total of 28,768 employees — 9 percent growth over the first quarter of this year.

Another interesting company to watch on this front will be Amazon.com, which reports its quarterly earnings and employment figures next week. The company has been on a growth tear, expanding by 4,200 people (12 percent) in the first quarter alone, and growing its employment base by a whopping 45 percent over the course of the previous year.

  • Guest

    A year from now MS will be forced to do more layoffs.

  • Joe

    But who are they hiring? How many people are they laying off locally anre replacing with people they import from overseas?

  • Abiemann

    Does that number include absorbing Skype employees ?

    How many employees did Amazon and Google hire during the same timeframe ?

    • Abiemann

      Google 2400, Amazon TBD :)

    • Anonymous

      No, that doesn’t include Skype employees. (The deal hasn’t closed.)

  • GW fan

    Todd, keep in mind that August/September is when employees get their annual review numbers and next stock award vest. I would not be surprised to see some attrition in Redmond before the end of summer. I know of at least 3 people planning to exit and another that just did.