Google to cut 12 000 jobs

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 20 Jan 2023
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.

Global search engine Google will reduce its workforce by 12 000 roles.

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement in an email sent to Google employees on Friday.

The news comes the same week as Microsoft’s announcement of plans to lay off 10 000 employees.

In the e-mail, Pichai says the company has already sent a separate e-mail to affected employees in the US; while in other countries, the 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.”

Google has become the latest technology company to announce staff reductions this year, amid rising inflation and mounting fears of another recession.

Earlier this month, Amazon also announced that it will retrench 18 000 employees. Meta, Twitter, and Salesforce are some of the global giants that announced massive job cuts in 2022.

Pichai states that they’ve seen periods of dramatic growth over the past two years. To match and fuel that growth, the internet giant hired for a different economic reality than the one it faces 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 [artificial intelligence]. 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.”

For employees in the US, the company is going to support employees as they look for their next opportunity, according to Pichai. Outside the US, Google will support employees in line with local practices, he indicates.

“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.”