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‘I Have Difficult News To Share’ - Google To Eliminate 12,000 Jobs

January 20, 2023
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On Friday, Google parent company Alphabet Inc., became the latest tech company to announce massive layoffs due to several years of over hiring and building fears of a looming recession. Alphabet Inc. is set to terminate 12,000 positions, or 6 percent of its workforce.

The announcement was made when CEO Sundar Pichai wrote an email to employees about the cuts on Friday and posted it to the company’s blog as a post titled, “A difficult decision to set us up for the future.

Pichai did not avoid the difficult news saying immediately:

I have some difficult news to share. We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. We’ve already sent a separate email to employees in the US who are affected. In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices.

Like many of the other tech companies that have had mass layoffs in recent months, Pichai was quick to blame the reduction on over hiring for a very different economy than the one the company now finds itself in.

“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.”

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Pichai made it clear that the cuts would be across the entire company, including multiple regions and departments:

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.

Google’s announcement to cut a large portion of its workforce is no the only one in recent months. Microsoft Corp announced plans to slash 10,000 jobs just days ago. Meta and Amazon have also carried out massive reductions in addition to Twitter as concerns of a coming recession continue to mount.

Read Pichai’s full letter to employees below:

Googlers,

I have some difficult news to share. We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. We’re already sent a separate email to employees in the US who are affected. In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices.

This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.

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.

While this transition won’t be easy, we’re going to support employees as they look for their next opportunity.

In the US:

  • We’ll pay employees during the full notification period (minimum 60 days).
  • We’ll also offer a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google, and accelerate at least 16 weeks of GSU vesting.
  • We’ll pay 2022 bonuses and remaining vacation time.
  • We’ll be offering 6 months of healthcare, job placement services, and immigration support for those affected.
  • Outside the US, we’ll support employees in line with local practices.

As an almost 25-year-old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles. These are important moments to sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.

Being constrained in some areas allows us to bet big on others. Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry.

Thanks to those early investments, Google’s products are better than ever. And we’re getting ready. To share some entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses, too. We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.

All this work is a continuation of the “healthy disregard for the impossible” that’s been core to our culture from the beginning. When I look around Google today, I see that same spirit and energy driving our efforts. That’s why I remain optimistic about our ability to deliver on our mission, even on our toughest days. Today is certainly one of them.

I’m sure you have many questions about how we’ll move forward. We'll be organizing a town hall on Monday. Check your calendar for details. Until then, please take good care of yourselves as you absorb this difficult news. As part of that, if you are just starting your work day, please feel free to work from home today.

-Sundar

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