Google CEO 'Takes Full Responsibility' Lays Off 12,000 Employees

The Google logo on a background of circles
(Image credit: Google, Malte Luk)

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced via an blog post earlier today that the companies would be reducing the global workforce by around 12,000 employees, roughly 6% of its employees according to Reuters.

The layoffs, made public via the January update titled "A difficult decision to set us up for the future," makes reference to the past two years which saw a global pandemic and a period of rapid growth.

"Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth," the post reads. "To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today." The "different economic reality" that Pichai is referring to can be seen as the current global cost-of-living crisis, or the possibility of a potential recession.

Pichai states that "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," and that roles cut from Alphabet will come from many functions, levels and locales. Who and what roles have been cut is not made clear in the update, those details will undoubtedly rise to the surface as many ex-Googlers use social media to announce their next steps. Reuters claims the job losses will be across recruiting, engineering and product teams, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Employees based in the United States are set to receive 60 days pay, a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary, 2022 bonuses, vacation time paid, six months healthcare, job placement and immigration support. Employees based outside of the US will receive support in line with local legislation.

The tech sector is riding out a period of uncertainty. Just a few days ago Microsoft announced that it too was laying off around 10,000 (approximately 5% of the global workforce) employees, and investing in AI. At the beginning of 2023 Amazon announced that it was laying off over 18,000 (5%) of its workforce. It seems that no-one is immune to this situation.

More details around the support and how Google will move forward will be made clear at a town hall meeting on Monday, January 23.

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".

  • peachpuff
    What punishment is he going to give himself for this failure?
    Reply
  • RichardtST
    peachpuff said:
    What punishment is he going to give himself for this failure?

    sarcasm onWhat failure? He's saving the stockholders billions by taking responsibility and making the hard decisions.
    He will be giving himself a bonus for being so strong and decisive.
    sarcasm off
    Unfortunately, the sarcastic part is what will happen in real life.
    Nevermind that he allowed the overstaffing and failed to anticipate the slowdown.
    Reply
  • PlaneInTheSky
    This is just the beginning of the tech bubble popping.

    Smartphones sales are down a record 17%.

    The biggest drop in a decade.

    Reply
  • King_V
    So, here's what I wonder when all these huge, highly profitable companies start laying people off due to economic trends.

    Are they really doing this in order to preserve the company? Because, frankly, my suspicion is that it's more along the lines of "well, we'd still be making profits, just less profits, if we kept them all."

    Which is a <Mod Edit> move any way you slice it by any company.
    Reply
  • Zerk2012
    Well if they average 100K each a year that is saving 1 billion in payroll.
    200K then 2 B
    Reply
  • vanadiel007
    peachpuff said:
    What punishment is he going to give himself for this failure?

    $20 million severance package instead of $30 million severance package.
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    peachpuff said:
    What punishment is he going to give himself for this failure?
    But a 5th home and 10th car.
    Reply
  • JamesJones44
    I agree with what others have said here, this is just to make wall st. happy with their d bag investors pounding the table for them to cut costs. All that being said, Google is at least giving them an extra 2 weeks of severance for every 1 year served. If an employee has been their 3 years they will get 30.5 weeks of pay (60 days + 16 weeks + 6 weeks (2 weeks * 3)). I've never seen anything like that in my 20+ years in tech. The last time this happened for tech in the dot gone era, they were just showing employees the door with very little in the way of a severance.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Zerk2012 said:
    Well if they average 100K each a year that is saving 1 billion in payroll.
    200K then 2 B
    Which is a tax deductible expense, but ALSO an expense that produces valuable results.

    But, I guess not quickly enough for next-quarter's bonuses.
    Reply
  • palladin9479
    The major tech companies are now cutting all the dead weight they've been holding onto for the past several years. Previously times were good, no reason to get rid of the baggage, now it's crunch time and gotta cut down.

    Just see all those tiktok videos with a Gen Z doing "day in the life at company X".
    Reply