Google parent Alphabet has now firmly joined the ranks of companies laying off employees, with plans to cut 12,000 jobs.
Two of Alphabet’s “Other Bets” companies, Intrinsic and Verily, announced layoffs last week, but today the company announced mass layoffs at its core: Google and Alphabet. In an email, which later became a blog post, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company would be laying off some 12,000 employees, surpassing both Microsoft and Meta’s numbers.
In his memo to employees, Pichai called the move “a difficult decision to set us up for the future.”
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.
Like many other executives announcing layoffs, Pichai blamed it on a changed economic reality from the one that led to the frenzied hiring of the past couple of years.
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.
Interestingly, Pichai said the layoffs were in response to a review of the company’s personnel and roles in an effort to identify “people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company.” This statement seems to confirm fears Googlers had in December that new evaluation methods were being used as a prelude to layoffs.
Pichai says impacted US employees have already been notified, although notifying international employees will take longer because of local laws. In the meantime, employees will continue to be paid during the notification period, a minimum of 60 days.
Alphabet is also offering a severance package that starts at 16 weeks’ pay, plus an additional two weeks for every year at the company. The company will also accelerate a minimum of 16 weeks GSU vesting.
The company also plans to pay all 2022 bonuses and vacation time and provide six months of healthcare, job placements, and immigration assistance.
Pichai tried to reassure employees that the company was well-positioned for the future, despite the layoffs.
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.
Regardless of how Pichai spins it, the fact remains that these layoffs are a major black mark on Alphabet and Google’s reputation. The company has long prided itself on never laying people off. With this announcement, however, the company has managed to lay off more employees than any other company in the last year except Amazon.
Future tech talent looking for a company to spend their career at may well remember this.