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Chronology of job cuts and restructuring

Getting a job at Google has long been synonymous with a stable career and luxurious benefits. The tech giant is known for offering its employees generous salaries and lavish amenities like on-site laundry facilities, massages and gyms at Googleplex headquarters and other offices.

Over the past 25 years, the company has built a culture of pride among its employees and experienced a few waves of layoffs. But recent years show that Google is far from immune to economic pressures and workforce adjustments in the technology sector.

Google is one of several tech companies making layoffs in 2023 and 2024. Here’s a timeline of Google’s job cuts and where the company is heading with layoffs and hiring.

Google laid off more than 12,000 employees in 2023

Google’s 2023 layoffs affected about 6% of the company’s global workforce, or about 12,000 people, as of January.

Google also made several small rounds of layoffs in the recruiting, Google News, and Google Assistant divisions later in the year.

The tech giant paid staff during the minimum 60-day federal reporting period, severance pay of at least 16 weeks of pay and two weeks for each additional year at the company.

Terminated employees were also offered accelerated vesting of restricted stock units, 2022 bonuses and remaining vacation days. Google also offered six months of healthcare, job replacement services and immigration assistance if needed.

The layoffs hurt Google’s profits, costing the company $2.1 billion, according to parent company Alphabet’s fourth-quarter report.

Hundreds more were laid off in January 2024


Google employees walk on the Googleplex campus under a bridge emblazoned with the Google logo.

Google started the new year by laying off thousands of employees.

Anadolu/Getty Images



Layoffs at Google also began in 2024, starting January 10. The company cut thousands of jobs across key engineering and hardware teams.

The company encouraged some affected employees to apply for open positions at Google. According to the email, April 9 was the last day for those who were unable to secure a new position.

Google did not respond to Business Insider’s inquiries about how many of those employees have found new positions at the company.

Further layoffs are expected in 2024

In January, CEO Sundar Pichai warned of further layoffs at Google in 2024.

The upcoming cuts, he said in an internal memo to employees, are intended to “remove layers to simplify execution and accelerate in certain areas.”

The “role cuts” would not reach the same scale as in 2023. The sales, advertising, product and YouTube division teams are expected to be impacted by the cuts.

Future changes can be expected as teams take steps to focus on business priorities. These decisions will be made at the team level.

Google did not specify how many jobs would be affected.

Why so many job cuts in 2023 and 2024?


Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers a speech on stage in front of a screen showing

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has made it clear that advancing AI is a top priority for the company.

JOSH EDELSON/GETTY



Google’s layoffs don’t necessarily mean the company isn’t doing well. The company’s market capitalization has almost quadrupled since 2015, to $1.7 trillion.

Like many other tech companies, the layoffs are being driven by two main areas: over-hiring during the pandemic and restructuring in anticipation of the AI ​​boom.

In his 2023 layoff announcement, Pichai said the company had seen “spectacular growth” over the past two years. To meet that growth, Google has been hiring “for a different economic reality than we face today,” he said.

“A number of our teams have made changes to become more efficient and work better, removing layers and aligning their resources with their biggest product priorities,” a Google spokesperson told BI.

The spokesperson said the changes give employees the opportunity to work on Google’s most innovative breakthroughs while reducing bureaucracy, which 45% of employees said slowed down their work in a company-wide survey. the company in 2023 and reviewed by BI.

Google continues to hire talent, even amid layoffs, and currently has a number of open listings on its site, most of which are in engineering and technology.

But it is clear that Google is changing priorities: the main one is to advance AI.

With 80% of Google’s parent company Alphabet’s revenue still coming from advertising, the company is at a critical inflection point to shore up other revenue streams.

Google has been developing AI for more than a decade and gradually integrating it into its search engine, advertising products and YouTube recommendations.

But Google still lags behind rivals like Microsoft and Amazon, particularly when it comes to Google’s Gemini chatbot and Google Mic AI voice assistant.

Now, Google is ramping up its AI efforts with a series of cloud advancements, such as an Arm-based processor, the general availability of TPU v5p, the new version of Gemini 1.5, and a series of changes to the AI in Google Workspace.

Pichai admits Google could have handled its layoffs better

Leaked audio from a Google all-hands meeting in December 2023 revealed Pichai saying it wasn’t the best idea to notify all employees affected by the layoffs simultaneously.

“I think it’s something we could have done differently, for sure,” he said.

He also said the decision to remove access to business accounts immediately after the cuts were announced was very difficult.

Google continues to support affected employees in accordance with local requirements, with outplacement services and severance packages during its latest round of layoffs. Specific details such as severance pay vary by role and location.

A change in corporate culture


A Google employee rides a bicycle outside the Googleplex, Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Layoffs at Google have had an impact on staff morale, according to the internal “Googlegeist” employee survey.

Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images



As of its last earnings release, Alphabet had more than 182,000 employees worldwide. And some of those employees say Google’s year of efficiency has changed Google’s corporate culture.

After thousands of people were laid off over the past two years, some employees are questioning the company’s family culture.

Pichai acknowledged that the layoffs had a “clear impact on morale,” which was reflected in feedback and comments on the “Googlegeist,” the company’s internal survey that measures employee satisfaction.

Most Google employees are still proud to work at the tech giant, according to more than three-quarters of respondents in a 2023 company-wide survey obtained by Business Insider.

But some are opposed to it.

A Google software engineer, Diane Hirsh Theriault, even took to LinkedIn in January to complain about the company’s leadership, calling its management “deeply boring and glassy-eyed.”

Another ex-Googler wrote a letter on his blog in 2023, criticizing the company. The former employee said Google lacked visionary leadership and destroyed transparency between staff and executives.

The Alphabet Workers Union also planned protests in January at five Google campuses in the United States to challenge the logic of Google’s decision-making.

Pichai has also been criticized for his leadership.

After Gemini’s image generator published racially inaccurate depictions of historical figures in 2024, industry leaders called for Pichai’s removal as Google CEO.

Many critics, including industry experts, laid-off Googlers, and even some of Google’s earliest employees, have criticized Pichai’s pace in the AI ​​race and called for him to step down because he didn’t not acted quickly enough.

businessinsider

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