LONDON (AP) — Google is laying off 12,000 workers, or about 6% of its workforce, becoming the latest tech company to cut staff as the economic boom the industry has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic wanes. .
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who also heads its parent company Alphabet, told the Silicon Valley giant’s staff of the cuts on Friday in an email also posted on the company’s news blog..
It’s one of the company’s biggest rounds of layoffs and adds to tens of thousands of other job losses recently announced by Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook’s parent company Meta and Facebook. other tech companies as they tighten their belts amid a darkening outlook for the industry. This month alone, at least 48,000 job cuts have been announced by major companies in the sector.
“Over the past two years, we have experienced periods of dramatic growth,” Pichai wrote. “To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than we face today.”
He said the layoffs reflected Google’s “rigorous review” of its operations.
The cut jobs “cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions,” Pichai said. He said he was “deeply sorry” for the layoffs.
Regulatory filings illustrate how Google’s workforce swelled during the pandemic, rising to nearly 187,000 at the end of last year from 119,000 at the end of 2019.
Pichai said Google, founded nearly a quarter of a century ago, had to “go through tough economic cycles.”
“These are important times to sharpen our focus, reorganize our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities,” he wrote. He called the company’s investments in artificial intelligence an area of opportunity.
There will be job cuts in the United States and other unspecified countries, according to Pichai’s letter.
The tech industry was forced to freeze hiring and cut jobs “as the clock struck midnight on hyper growth and digital advertising headwinds loomed on the horizon,” wrote Friday Dan Ives, Taz Koujalgi and John Katsingris, analysts at Wedbush Securities.
Just this week, Microsoft announced 10,000 job cuts, i.e. nearly 5% of its workforce. Amazon said this month it was cutting 18,000 jobs, although this is only a fraction of its 1.5 million employees, while enterprise software maker Salesforce is laying off around 8,000 employees, or 10% of the total. Last fall, Facebook parent Meta announced it would cut 11,000 jobs, or 13% of its workers. Elon Musk cut jobs at Twitter after acquiring the social media company last fall.
These job cuts also affect small players. British cybersecurity company Sophos has laid off 450 employees, or 10% of its global workforce. Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase has cut 20% of its workforce, or around 950 jobs, in its second round of layoffs in less than a year.
“The stage is being set: technology names across the board are cutting costs to preserve margins and lean” in the current economic climate, Wedbush analysts said.
US employment held up despite signs of a slowing economy, with 223,000 more jobs added in December. Yet the tech sector has grown exceptionally rapidly in recent years due to increased demand as employees have begun to work remotely.
The CEOs of a number of companies have been blamed for growing too quickly, but these same companies, even after the latest round of job cuts, remain much larger than they were before the start of the pandemic economic boom.
In their layoff announcements, Pichai and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stressed the importance of capitalizing on their advances in artificial intelligence technology, reflecting renewed competition among tech giants sparked by the growing partnership. Microsoft with San Francisco startup OpenAI.