Saying that this has been a difficult week for big tech firms and their employees would be an understatement. In the past couple of days, we have heard that Microsoft is axing 10,000 positions and Amazon is laying off 18,000 employees as well. Now, Google has announced a major layoff too.
In a Google blog post which is quoted verbatim from an email by CEO Sundar Pichai, the company has made the decision to reduce its workforce by 12,000 people. This is roughly 6% of its total headcount. Layoff emails have already been sent out to affected U.S. employees and will be sent out shortly to employees in other countries, with the delay being due to local laws.
Pichai says that he is taking full responsibility for the difficult decision - which was hinted at last year -, emphasizing that it will weigh heavily on him. The executive notes that:
Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.
I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI. To fully capture it, we’ll need to make tough choices. So, we’ve undertaken a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company. The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review. They cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.
To the Googlers who are leaving us: Thank you for working so hard to help people and businesses everywhere. Your contributions have been invaluable and we are grateful for them.
Google says that in the U.S., payouts will be made for 2022 bonuses and remaining vacation time. Moreover, those affected will be paid for the full notification period (a minimum of 60 days), along with severance packages starting at 16 weeks salary. Finally, six months of healthcare, immigration, and job placement support will be offered. Outside of the U.S. though, any financial or other kind of support will be in line with local practices only.
Despite this bad news, Pichai says that Google's AI-first approach has paid off and that he looks forward to tackling the challenges of the future through the company's AI portfolio.
There will be a town hall meeting on the coming Monday and Pichai has encouraged employees to work from home today to "absorb this difficult news".