With Google (GOOG) dominating the Web sector of the SV150 for another year, one of the search giant's biggest stories of 2011 -- an unprecedented boom in hiring -- was also a centerpiece for the entire Web industry.
While the Web sector still accounts for fewer than 1 in 20 of SV150 jobs, total employment jumped by 25 percent in 2011, as the segment added nearly 10,000 workers to a total of nearly 50,000 jobs.
Google's workforce grew by 33 percent, or more than 8,000 employees, but it wasn't just Google. Mountain View-based LinkedIn, which debuted on the SV150 following its IPO, more than doubled its workforce to 2,100 employees. The smallest company in the sector, Redwood City-based Shutterfly, had a 56 percent jump in its workforce, adding about 300 workers. Even beleaguered Yahoo (YHOO) added 500 workers last year -- although it has begun big employment cuts since.
The Web sector also spent significantly more on research and development as a percentage of sales than the overall SV150. Ken Sena, an analyst with Evercore Partners, said there is at least one common denominator there -- the continuing migration of the Internet from desktop PCs to
"For all these companies, there is a high sense of urgency around gaining traction on mobile," Sena said, a factor that is driving employment growth as well as R&D spending.
And a big part of what's happening is just the momentum of advertising making the switch from print and television to online, said Karsten Weide, an analyst with IDC.
"It's unclaimed territory, and therefore it makes strategic sense to throw resources at products or sales forces that can leverage those new dollars that are spent online," Weide said.
The Web sector ranked fourth on the SV150 in terms of sales and total market cap, but in terms of its profit margin, it was second, just a whisker behind Consumer IT -- which was dominated by mighty Apple.
Where it stands among the nine sectors of the SV150
4th in sales
2nd in profit margin
4th in market value