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Google parent Alphabet laying off 12k workers in latest cuts to hit tech industry – GeekWire


A Google office building in Seattle’s South Lake Union. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Google parent Alphabet is laying off 12,000 workers, or about 6% of its global workforce, as it becomes the latest tech company to make cuts amid a fears of a slowing economy.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced the news in an email to employees on Friday (in full at bottom).

“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth,” Pichai wrote. “To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”

Pichai said the tech giant undertook a “rigorous review across product areas and functions” and that roles being eliminated “cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.”

The Associated Press reported that Alphabet’s workforce swelled during the pandemic to nearly 187,000 people by late last year from 119,000 at the end of 2019.

Two of the completed buildings on Google’s Kirkland Urban campus in Kirkland, Wash., in April 2022. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Silicon Valley-based Google first set up shop in the Seattle region more than 15 years ago. The company now operates sprawling campuses in Seattle’s South Lake Union and Fremont neighborhoods and in Kirkland, Wash. Last spring during a GeekWire tour of new Google offices in Kirkland, the company said it employed more than 7,200 workers in the region.

GeekWire has reached out to Alphabet for comment on how the layoffs will affect Seattle-area workers. We’ll update this story when we hear back.

The move to slash jobs comes during a particularly heavy week week for layoffs in the tech sector.

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it was cutting 10,000 jobs between now and the end of March, representing about 5% of the company’s workforce of more than 220,000 employees. At least 878 of those layoffs are at Microsoft’s offices in Redmond, Bellevue, and Issaquah, Wash.

Amazon is laying off 18,000 corporate and tech workers, including at least 2,300 in the Seattle region.

Full email to Google employees from Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai:

Googlers,

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.

-Sundar





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