Business desk – Google has announced plans to hire more than 3,000 new staff in the UK in a major boost to Britain’s technology sector after Britain’s vote to leave the EU.
UK-based newspaper The Telegraph reported that announcing plans to expand the internet giant’s new London campus in King’s Cross, its chief executive Sundar Pichai said the investment showed Google was “committed to the UK”.
Pichai said that by 2020, Google will employ 7,000 people at its London base, which will be its biggest development outside of the US, up from 4,000 today.
The commitment is the latest by a major technology company since the referendum, coming after Apple and Amazon announced plans to expand in the capital.
Speaking on a visit to Britain, Pichai said that while the company had some reservations about the Brexit vote, Google was committed to the UK as a technology hub.
“We understand there’s uncertainty, but we know for certain that the web and digital technology will be an engine of growth for the UK for years to come,” he said.
Google said the new 10-storey building, adjacent to its current King’s Cross offices, would double its footprint in King’s Cross, bringing the total office space in the area up to 1 million square feet, and that staff would move in from 2018.
“We are committed to the UK and excited to continue our investment in our new King’s Cross campus,” Pichai said. “In the UK, it’s clear to me that computer science has a great future with the talent, educational institutions, and passion for innovation we see all around us.”
The Brexit vote has led to questions about the UK’s position as the technology capital of Europe, but since the vote several of the world’s biggest internet companies have announced expansion plans.
Apple has announced that it plans to occupy almost half of the space at the former site of London’s Battersea Power Station, where it will employ 1,400 staff, and Amazon has said it will hire more than 1,000 new employees since the referendum.
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, welcomed the announcement. “This is big vote of confidence in Britain’s leading position as a global tech hub and more evidence that leading firms are choosing to invest here,” he said.
“Our technology industry is central to securing future economic growth and this Government is committed to ensuring it continues to thrive. It’s further proof that Britain is open for business and that we continue to be an outward-looking, world-leading nation.”
Pichai, who was born in India and immigrated to the US, was making his first public appearance since Donald Trump’s victory in last week’s presidential election. He took the opportunity to warn against governments restricting access to hiring overseas talent.
If you look at the arc of history, there have been other civilisations that achieved great heights only to fall later. [Great companies] have been done by people that have come to the US, but there’s no guarantee that will continue to happen,” he said.
“Bringing together to best talent to solve different challenges, you need people with different mindsets from different background.
“It’s been a challenging time and it weighs on all of our minds.”
Google, which has been criticised in the UK over the amount of tax it pays, promised to offer face-to-face training in digital skills to people in 100 towns and cities across the UK. It said it had already trained 250,000 people in Britain.