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Google Layoffs: What is in store for the tech giant this year?

by Krishnendu P
by Krishnendu P

In the years 2023 and 2024 the tech giant, Google, witnessed its largest-ever lay-off spree and it is speculated that there is more in store too. In 2023, Google lay-offs resulted in job loss of about 12,000 people in their workforce. In early 2024 too the company cut off thousands of people from its core engineering and hardware teams. 

The tech giant paid off a 60-day minimum federal notification period, severance of at least 16 weeks salary, and two weeks for each additional year at the company. Laid-off employees were also offered accelerated restricted stock units vesting, 2022 bonuses, and remaining vacation days. The company also encouraged some of the impacted employees to reapply for the open positions in the company. However, the number of employees re-hired, if any, isn’t being disclosed. 

The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai has warned that Google might face more lay-offs in 2024 again. He said the upcoming cuts are all about  “removing layers to simplify execution and drive velocity in some areas.” The cut-offs will not reach the scale of 2023 but will largely impact the teams in sales, advertising, product, and the YouTube division.

Google’s lay-offs aren’t because the company isn’t doing well but it is rooted in two main areas: over-hiring during the pandemic and restructuring for the AI boom. In the 2023 lay-off announcement, Pichai said that the company has been witnessing dramatic growth and that Google hired “for a different economic reality than the one we face today”.

 However, amidst the lay-off confusion too Google is hiring new talents, and the open positions are mainly in engineering and technology. But it’s clear Google is shifting priorities, the main one is advancing AI.

Sundar Pichai also said that the company could have handled the lay-offs more efficiently. “I think it’s something we could have done differently for sure,” he said. He also said the decision to cut off access to work accounts immediately after announcing the cuts was very difficult.

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

After Gemini’s image generator released inaccurate racial depictions of historical figures in 2024, industry leaders called for Pichai’s removal as Google’s CEO. Many critics, including industry experts, laid-off Googlers, and even some of Google’s very first employees, have assailed Pichai’s pace in the AI race and called for him to step down because he hasn’t acted quickly enough.

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