Bad news for online ad companies battling a shortage of skilled workers - Google is apparently planning a big recruitment drive to create an R&D team in Europe as large as the one it has in the US.

The FT reports that the web giant aims to expand its workforce by a third, with most of the new staff to be based in Europe as it bids to improve its image on this side of the Atlantic.

Around half of Google’s estimated 14,000 employees are reckoned to be engineers, but only 500 of those are reported to be based in Europe.

It has also struggled to translate its international dominance of the search space into some markets like Russia, as well as facing various regulatory and legal difficulties.

Nelson Mattos, Google’s new head of engineering in Europe, told the paper that the firm was “not seen correctly” in the region.

He added:

“My impression is that Google is seen as a big US company that is here to make money.”

Google’s headcount is rapidly increasing – its rising staff costs were partly blamed for its lower than expected profits in the second quarter of this year.

It added over 1,500 staff in the quarter, taking its total employee base to 13,786.

The firm has also admitted it has had to tone down its notoriously-difficult selection process in a bid to make it easier to recruit workers.