Pretty much anyone on the planet nowadays can name the two biggest tech companies in the world, and the two biggest social media sites. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s products are used by billions of people on a daily basis, while Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) attract so many users that they have just become part of everyday life and the lexicon of language used by people. There are obvious links between the four as well, with the nature of Twitter and Facebook’s business naturally feeding into the products produced by the two tech giants.

Google Apple Facebook

But aside from the obvious links between the four companies, an interesting and innovative study that has been carried out recently shows that they have a lot more in common than one might imagine. The business news magazine Quartz carried out a survey of the educational background of a range of different employees from each of the firms, and discovered some pretty interesting results.

Google claims refuted

The study produced by Quartz has been based on Linkedin data, which in itself indicates that extent to which the social media site is now viewed as a credible source of information. But the study generally refuted an assertion recently made by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). The search engine giant indicated that it intends to and is currently implementing a recruitment policy whereby it pays far less intention to where the graduates it recruits attended college. But at this point in time, this isn’t reflected in their existing employees.

For each four of these major IT-related companies, the figures acquired by Quartz quite clearly indicate that geography does matter. While 15 percent of Google employees come from the top ten universities in the United States, more significantly each of the tech giants takes a significant percentage of its employees from California-based universities; traditionally, a huge base of talent for the IT industry.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) recruits more than one in ten members of its staff from Californian schools; 12.53 percent to be precise. Stanford and Berkeley are the particular favorites of Google recruiters. For the skeptical, it is important to emphasize that the study provided a pretty significant sample size; Google employs 47,756 people, and 43,282 people cite Google as their current employer on LinkedIn.

Stanford and Berkeley were also obviously influential at Facebook, leading the way among the 16 percent of employees from Californian schools who currently work for the social media giant. Over 90 percent of the company’s employees are currently listed on Linkedin.

Twitter follows older competitors’ pattern

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is the most California-centric of the four, with more students coming from California schools than the the rest of the top 20 feeders combined. Twitter draws huge numbers of staff from Stanford and Berkeley, with nearly one in five of its employees coming from Californian colleges or universities. Apple bucks the trend slightly, with only 6 percent of its staff coming from California-based schools. Nevertheless, five of its six biggest intakes in school-terms were based in California.

While major companies are always keen to appear inclusive and non-elitist, the reality can often be rather different. The Quartz study shows each of these four huge companies has work to do to alleviate such fears in their recruitment policy.