SCIENCE & TECH: Google Sheds Hundreds of Recruiters in Another Round of Layoffs
Google conducted another round of layoffs on Wednesday, telling its recruiters that by the end of the day hundreds of them would be losing their jobs, three people with knowledge of the layoffs said.
Google’s recruiting group, which at one point had more than 3,000 employees, has already been hit hard by layoffs this year.
The cuts are an indication that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, will continue the belt-tightening that began at the Silicon Valley company this year, even as it doubles down on investments in artificial intelligence.
The recruiters and related staff members had previously been “invited to a last minute global all hands meeting with the agenda to share hard news,” according to a post on an internal Google messaging board viewed by The New York Times. Brian Ong, the vice president of recruiting, told employees that he had wanted them to hear the news from him and that they could finish work from home or head home if they were in the office, a person said.
Courtenay Mencini, a Google spokeswoman, said in a statement,“We’ve made the hard decision to reduce the size of our recruiting team,” because the volume of requests for the company’s recruiters has gone down.
“As we’ve said, we continue to invest in top engineering and technical talent while also meaningfully slowing the pace of our overall hiring,” she added. Aspects of the cuts were reported earlier by the news site Semafor.
The cuts are not believed to be part of wide-scale layoffs, but other parts of the company could also decide to reduce positions.
For more than a year, Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, has rallied employees behind an effort to trim expenses and boost productivity. In January, Google followed peers like Amazon and Meta, and announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its work force, marking the first significant layoffs in the company’s history. As of June 30, the company has 181,798 employees.
Mr. Pichai was criticized by current and former employees for how he conducted the latest layoffs — announcing them in the middle of the night and immediately revoking employees’ corporate access. The cuts also overlapped with broader anxieties about what the success of A.I. rivals like OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, and its partner, Microsoft, could mean for Google’s business.
In the months since its earlier layoffs, Google has sought to focus on building and releasing its own A.I. to compete with rivals, updating most of its products to incorporate the technology and introducing a chatbot, Bard. The new type of A.I. is very expensive to develop and run, and the company has told investors it would look for ways to offset the cost of its investments.
Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s president and chief investment officer, told financial analysts in July that the company was focused on “re-engineering our cost base to create capacity for investments,” or ensuring it was spending money on the right things, to get the biggest payoff.