Google LLC may be set to lay off a significant number of employees amid a worsening global economic situation and multiple quarters of negative economic growth in the U.S.

As reported by the New York Post late last week, Google has suspended hiring new employees and allegedly told some existing employees to “shape up or shape off” if expectations are not met. Those expectations include the financial figures in Alphabet Inc. – Google’s parent company, in its next earnings report due in October.

Unnamed employees told the Post that they are fearful that there will be significant layoffs. Employees who work in sales at Google’s Cloud division are also said to have been told by senior leadership that there will also be an “overall examination of sales productivity and productivity in general.” The same employees also describe the potential layoffs, in the case of a poor earnings report, resulting in “blood on the streets.”

Google, along with Microsoft Corp., were first reported to be scaling back hiring efforts in July. It was reported at the time that a hiring freeze wouldn’t affect job offers that had already been sent. “We’ll use this time to review our headcount needs and align on a new set of prioritized Staffing Requests for the next three months,” an internal memo stated. That memo may have turned out to be a forewarning of what is yet to come.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai also said in the same memo that the search engine giant planned to implement changes in other areas. “In some cases, that means consolidating where investments overlap and streamlining processes,” Pichai stated. “In other cases, that means pausing development and re-deploying resources to higher priority areas.”

That Google has slowed down or as now alleged to have suspended all hiring does not come as any surprise given the macroeconomic environment. Microsoft is also in the process of “eliminating many open jobs” across multiple business units, including in its Azure public cloud division and its cybersecurity software group.

The move to reduce headcounts can also be found among other leading tech companies. Also in July, it was reported that Facebook Inc. employees expected around 10% of employees to be laid off, be it that Facebook denied the reports.

The glory days of big tech and exponential growth that started around 2004-2005 in the wake of the dot com bust at the beginning of the century are coming to an end. Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the glory days are arguably over. While efforts are underway to address macroeconomic issues, tech industry figures – such as with venture capital funding, have now passed their peak.

Image: Google Cloud

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