Recruiting Rivals - Where Google, Microsoft & 13 other technology companies poach employees

By Catherine Rowell

Your business depends on the talent you employ. In big technology firms, the best way to find that talent is to take it from your competitors, where they can bring in new ideas, networks, and approaches - without having to train their recruits from scratch.

The new infographic from Talentful looks at the companies where Google are searching for new engineers, where eBay are bidding on new data analysts, and where Apple are taking a bite out of the business – as well as where other familiar tech firms like Amazon and Microsoft find their new product managers.

The Biggest Names

Unsurprisingly, Facebook poached the most from other social media sites, picking up the majority of their pilfered workers from fellow Valley start-ups Twitter and LinkedIn, while Google sought out their direct rivals for their recruitment tactics, with over 4050 employees taken from Microsoft, owners of the search engine Bing.

Despite most of the companies showing some plundering from Google, the multi-billion dollar company isn’t lacking for staff – they had the highest showing of poaching in the study, with just under 12800 staff taken from other technology companies.

The Apps

Of the companies investigated, Airbnb was the least aggressive in their tactics, taking the fewest employees from their rivals. Their most frequented hunting ground was Google, where they found 261 employees, but that pales in comparison even to Uber, who took nearly 600 of their staff from the world’s most popular search engine.

Top 5 Poachers

While there’s a lot of trading back and forth, some of the companies have taken more employees than they’ve had poached from them. These are the top five:

  1. Google – a massive 12,798 of their employees came from other major tech companies.
  2. Microsoft – while Google have taken 4151 of their staff, they’ve taken 896 in exchange.
  3. Amazon – Amazon and eBay have swapped a few workers, with Amazon giving up 152 and taking 218.
  4. Apple – Apple’s main rival is Microsoft, so it makes sense that they poach more employees from them than anywhere else: 1334 in total. They’re also keen on people from IBM and Intel.
  5. IBM – while IBM have taken more staff in total than Dell, they’re vulnerable to their rival’s headhunting, having lost 2302 of their employees to them, while taking only 1753.

“There’s a huge amount of staff trading between companies,” said a Talentful representative, “And every time one company hires a staff member from another, they’re not just bringing in that person – they’re bringing in their whole network. People like to work with familiar teams who know the way they work, and they end up bringing their colleagues with them.”


Using LinkedIn, we found the total (current) number of employees for each company. We then filtered by ‘past company’ to determine how many of those employees used to work for other companies featured within our infographic.

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