Google is an institution. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, the search engine is one of the most desirable companies to work for, with more than 60,000 employees across 40 countries.
The technology giant opened its MENA headquarters in 2008 at Dubai’s Internet City, running localised sales, finance, legal, marketing and HR operations. As international compensation director, Marc Schoenen sets the reward and pay structure for all Google employees outside the US.
A recent speaker at the Arabian Society for Human Resource Management’s conference, he believes the region is an important growth area for Google.
“We’ve been growing our MENA practice steadily in terms of employees, and from a revenue and potential standpoint, our Middle East operations are growing faster than our global operations. We see it as a strategically important area to be in,” says Schoenen.
With this growth comes the need to attract the best talent to the region, and Schoenen admits that travel and accommodation allowances are ‘a core part’ of Google’s remuneration philosophy in the region – the only place in the world where this is the case.
“We try to have a globally consistent model, but it wasn’t working in Dubai, so we changed it. Thousands of Googlers have moved offices or countries over time. We want them to have a consistent experience from one country to another. Situations like this highlight ongoing discussions about global uniformity and local customisation,” says Schoenen, who himself has moved from the company’s US headquarters to the UK, and travels frequently.