Alphabet’s subsidiary, Google, has announced plans to lay off 12,000 employees, becoming the latest technology company to trim staff following rapid expansions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The layoffs are a result of a “rigorous review” of Google’s operations and will affect jobs across all product areas, functions, levels, and regions, according to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. The cuts represent 6% of Alphabet’s workforce, which numbered 186,000 as of September.
This move by Google is similar to other large tech companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, who have also announced significant job cuts as they prepare for a possible economic recession later this year. The technology industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, with nearly 100,000 positions eliminated in 2022 after expanding rapidly during the pandemic, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
In a letter to employees, Pichai acknowledged the difficult economic reality facing the company and stated that the layoffs are necessary to “sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.” Affected employees in the U.S. will receive a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google, as well as six months of health care, job placement services, and immigration support.
The technology industry’s job cuts come as the Federal Reserve moves to raise its benchmark interest rate in an effort to tame inflation, causing economic growth to weaken. Although experts forecast a slowdown in the labor market this year, hiring across the U.S. has remained robust. The nation’s unemployment rate in December fell to 3.5%, matching a 50-year low.
In conclusion, Google’s job cuts are a reflection of the difficult economic climate faced by many tech companies. The layoffs are necessary to “sharpen focus, reengineer cost base, and direct talent and capital to highest priorities” said CEO Sundar Pichai. This move is similar to other large tech companies who have also announced significant job cuts as they prepare for a possible economic recession later this year.
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