What's It Like to Work At Google? Women at Google Weigh In
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What do employees say about working at Google? What do Google women say about working there and why is it important to give women at Google (or any other company) a female-only employer review site? We believe that nothing explains this better than taking a deep dive into Fairygodboss’ employee reviews by the women at Google.
People often ask us how the employee reviews on Fairygodboss differ from those on other employee review sites. The most obvious answer is that we’re a job and employee review site just for women. This means we have focused our employee reviews on the questions, issues and topics that women tell us they care about most. In short, we are employee reviews and advice by women, for women.
While that’s a simple answer, we’ve realize some people don’t fully grasp the difference between the kind of content on our site and on other employee review sites. That’s why we’re kicking off a series of articles to showcase the high quality, unique perspectives they share when they review their employers on Fairygodboss. Each article in this series will focus on a well-known company in which our community has shared many opinions.
Google Employee Reviews by Women
Women Say They Are Not Well Represented in Senior Management and Leadership Roles at Google
Employees at Google talk a lot about how management is dominated by men at the highest levels. This is a recurring theme with women saying things like:
“There is a definite bias towards men being promoted and in senior leadership position vs. women.”
“Even though they have great policies, culture and all, it's still very male dominated in the top management.”
That said, some remark that Google is trying to implement changes, though others are skeptical of how much the company is truly invested in promoting more women to senior leadership:
“Most of the leadership is still men, but they are working on bringing in more senior women leaders.”
“Many of the initiatives around diversity are just check the box.”
Moms Give Google Mostly Good Reviews
“I'm a mom and I feel that it would be very different for me to try to have the impact I have at work right now and be a happy mom in another company.”
“I've been able to schedule flex hours so I can spend more time with my son and can work from home whenever necessary for childcare reasons. It's a great place to work and raise a family.”
“Seems very family friendly, but in my experience, women definitely fend for themselves in terms of advancement.”
“When I had to.miss work for a sick kid, all of them treated me with sympathy.”
“I haven't had a child of my own yet, but am thinking about having my first in the next 2 years. The reason I'm staying at this company is I see many women here with 1-4 kids who are doing a great job of balancing work and family.”
That said, these Google reviews can be very eye-opening:
Benefits are Great but Promotions are Difficult to Achieve (for both men and women)
“Don't just take the benefits, fight for the higher salary because the promotion process can be a frustrating blackhole where you are painted into a corner.”
“It's a lovely place to work, as long as you don't rock the boat. Except climbing the career ladder to be constant fight to prove your competency. Ideally, find and stick with a good manager, who will know you and give you opportunities to develop. Changing manager will set you back on average 6 months, in my experience. The majority of women have issues with their careers after maternity leave, unless they are still in a basic individual contributor role.”
“I don't know if this is a gender thing, but I can't stand the extensive bureaucracy and structure around growth and compensation-- you can only be promoted and receive pay increases at set increments, even if you're a rock star performer.”
Negotiating Your Pay Is Necessary
“I've had great opportunities at Google. And the company is doing a lot to address issues like unconscious bias. At the same time, when I found out I was paid significantly less than a male peer with less experience, my [female] VP's response was - "some people negotiate better than others." and a senior male exec recently "asked" me about my dedication post kids, mentioning his wife stopped working after having the same number of kids i do.”
“Negotiate your level and salary as best you can before you start. Promotion can be slow.”
There are Support Networks and Opportunities to Find Like-Minded Women
“There are lots of support groups for women and opportunities to network.”
“I've worked here for a few years. There are plenty of social groups for women and minorities. I do believe women are generally treated fairly but there are so many micro aggressions.”
Setting Personal Boundaries is Key to Achieving Work-Life Balance at Google
“Google is a wonderful place to work, but it is critical to set boundaries and stick to them. There will be people who work from 4a to midnight. If that is not your style, make sure to set expectations and be excellent at your job.”
“A lot of the pressure to be in the office 10 hours a day is unspoken.. either from managers, coworkers or ourselves. Don't buy into it and set that tone.”
Your Immediate Team Has the Biggest Impact On Your Work-Life Balance
“Depending on your manager and team, the hours can be pretty flexible. Work/life balance can be achieved as long as you maintain your boundaries.”
“By far, biggest determinant of your experience is your immediate team. I am lucky enough to have found a fantastic, supportive team that values work/life balance and diversity. My A+ ratings reflect my personal experience. I have heard many different (and similar) stories from women on other teams, though, and I know that my experience is not universal. My advice to a woman starting at Google is to assess your project options in terms of team culture and know that this will hugely affect your work experience.”
“I worked at Google for eight and a half years. I will say that I had the good fortune to be on a marketing team that was 95% women, and prior to that I was in HR, which was also majority women. I think that within those teams, I found the respect and fair treatment that I wanted. However, I will say that I think there are certain parts of the company that women and people of color are pushed towards (ie, the non-technical side of the house) and that definitely has an effect on my experience.”
“There is a lot of talk about being supportive of flexible working arrangements, however this is heavily dependent on your manager. Some managers are incredibly supportive and others are not at all. Ironically, the female-heavy departments like recruiting are not as supportive as you would expect, so be sure to interview with eyes wide open.”
Technical Departments Are Male-Dominated And That Makes Some (But Not All) Women Feel
“The only real female leadership and middle management is in sales and operations. It's rare to find women (much less, minorities) in leadership in eng, especially at the mid-level. This creates an unspoken tech-bro culture that can be pretty exhausting to navigate. It's not impossible, but it takes an effort that I would rather put into getting sh*t done.”
“They know that they don't have enough women in technical roles and are actively seeking to improve that. All my male colleagues appreciate the diversity I bring to the team and are extremely supportive. Despite the fact that Google reflects the natural gender and racial trends of the tech industry overall, they seem to place a huge emphasis on improving and constantly celebrate the diversity they do have. As long as you are fine being surrounded by many more male colleagues (at least on the technical side), this is a fantastic place to work.”
“I am the only female engineer of 9 team members. However our manager is a female engineer. Her boss, a director, is also female. The male member of my team have no issue reporting to a female and taking her lead. When I joined, all of them treated me like everyone else. I'd say they treated me equally despite our gender difference but in all honestly it was more like, they didn't seem to care that I was a different gender. Its a non-issue. I feel free to be myself, feminine at times, and talk about my kids constantly. When I had to.miss work for a sick kid, all of them treated me with sympathy. Many fathers themselves, understood the work/life struggle. Ive been given the freedom with my time at work to have time for my kids after work as well. Leaving early when I need to, etc. From the CEO down, they strongly encourage inclusiveness and it shows! Women might not have the equality in engineer roles, but it's not from a lack of trying.”
To Be Successful, You Must Be Very Confident (and Extroverted)
“I do think that sometimes it can be hard to be young and female at Google, especially on more male dominated teams with older men. You have to shout really loud and be extremely aggressive to gain respect for your opinions.”
“In terms of career advancement, it seems that more aggressive personalities (more often male) tend to end up in leadership roles, which I find frustrating. The upside is still pretty good (compensation and perks are outstanding), but despite that, I feel like I constantly need to prove myself when working with new people, and it is difficult to see male colleagues (no more qualified than myself) move into leadership positions ahead of me.”
“The best thing you can bring to working here is an aggressive confidence in your training and your abilities. Iron-clad self-esteem and a strong sense of "your input is not necessary to my life" also work well. Then you must cloak all of this in a stunning amount of kum-bay-ya deference and equivocal language. You will still be hammer for being too aggressive and not a team player but perhaps it won't matter to you so much if you know all of this ahead of time.”
“The real difference is more between the opportunities afforded to introverts v extroverts. Women represent a big percent of the sales force and they get promoted at a similar rate as men.”
“Google is trying to do its best to welcome women, but the culture and the leadership is very much male and lacks diversity. Don't be intimidated and make yourself visible.”
To be clear, the point of this exercise is not to deter you from visiting other employee review sites. In fact, we generally think all employee review sites are a force for good because we believe that the more information that’s out there in the world, the better off both employers and employees will be when it comes to finding a mutual fit.
What is fascinating (and becomes self-evident now that you've read the above) is that the reviews on other sites cover quite different topics and read quite differently than what we have showcased above.
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