In an internal memo circulated, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, cautioned employees to brace for additional job cuts this year, following a recent round of layoffs that impacted 1,000 staff members.
Pichai acknowledged the challenges faced by certain divisions within the tech giant and hinted at ongoing transformations within the company.
Last week, the Alphabet Workers Union, representing employees at both Google and its parent company, Alphabet, reported a round of job cuts affecting 1,000 workers.
Pichai addressed this in his memo, stating, “some roles may be impacted” as the company continues to make adjustments to meet its evolving goals.
“We have ambitious goals and will be investing in our big priorities,” Pichai explained in the memo, which was reported by tech news website The Verge. “The reality is that to create the capacity for this investment, we have to make tough choices.”
Which divisions are the job cuts affecting most?
Pichai outlined that the tough choices made so far included job losses in various Google divisions, such as search, advertising sales, and YouTube. Despite Google’s significant focus on artificial intelligence, including the unveiling of its AI models Bard and Gemini, Pichai assured that the role eliminations would not reach the scale of last year’s 12,000 redundancies across Alphabet.
The memo acknowledged the difficulty employees face witnessing colleagues and teams being impacted but emphasised the necessity of these measures for the company’s future success. Google, which had 182,000 employees as of the end of September last year, is steering through changes aimed at streamlining its operations and enhancing execution efficiency.
Last year, Pichai had disclosed job cuts as part of Alphabet’s response to a hiring spree that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the company had expanded for a different economic reality than it faced today.
What about the wider tech industry?
The tech industry has witnessed other layoffs recently, though not at the scale seen a year ago when major players like Microsoft, Salesforce, Amazon, and Meta made significant job cuts in response to the post-lockdown economic landscape. In December, Spotify announced a 17 percent reduction in its global workforce, and Amazon is laying off hundreds of employees across its Prime Video, studios, and Twitch units.
According to layoffs.fyi, a website tracking tech industry job losses, there have been 7,785 redundancies globally in the tech sector so far this year. This figure is notably lower compared to the same period last year, where tech firms laid off approximately 38,000 staff members.
Pichai concluded in the memo that the recent job cuts were part of an effort to “remove layers to simplify execution and drive velocity in some areas,” and hinted that additional role eliminations are expected to take place. The tech industry remains in flux as companies adapt to changing economic realities and evolving strategic priorities.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.