Google announces mass layoffs amid tech slump. Read the CEO’s full memo on the cuts

Google‘s parent company is laying off roughly 12,000 people, marking the latest major tech firm to cut staff amid corporate concerns about inflation and global economic downtowns after rapid expansions and record-breaking profits.

CEO Sundar Pichai announced cuts in an email to staff on Friday, which was shared in a company blog post pointing to a “different economic reality” than one that parent company Alphabet had initially anticipated over a period of “dramatic” growth. The cuts mark the largest-ever within the company thus far.

The layoffs reflect around 6 per cent of Google’s global workforce and come on the heels of layoffs at tech giants like Amazon, which cut roughly 18,000 jobs, or about 6 per cent of its workforce, and at Microsoft, which laid off about 10,000 employees, or 5 per cent of its workforce. Meta – the parent company for Facebook and Instagram – also recently laid off 11,000 workers, or about 13 per cent of the company’s workforce.

“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,” Mr Pichai shared in the company memo. “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.”

The company’s earnings report in October reported $69bn in revenue and $13.9bn in profit, marking growing revenue but shrinking profit margins, down from $18.9bn from the same quarter in the previous year.

Impacted Google employees will be paid “during the full notification period,” a “minimum 60 days,” with severance packages starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google, according to the memo. The company also will pay 2022 bonuses and pay out remaining vacation time, and offer six months of healthcare, job placement services, and immigration support for eligible employees, the memo said.

The Independent has requested additional comment from Google.

Read Mr Pichai’s full statement below:

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.

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.