Google CEO Sundar Pichai refused to rule out layoffs when pressed on the topic by anxious employees during an all-hands meeting, according to a report.
Pichai fielded questions from employees on Thursday, including one who wondered whether there were plans to “cull” the company workforce sometime next year.
“It’s really tough to predict the future so unfortunately I can’t honestly sit here and make forward-looking commitments,” Pichai said. His comments were first reported by Insider.
The CEO added: “What we’ve been trying hard to do, and you’ve seen the messaging for the past many, many months, is we are trying to make important decisions, be disciplined, prioritize where we can, rationalize where we can, so that we are set up to better weather the storm regardless of what’s ahead.”
“I think that’s what we should focus on and try and do our best there.”
Google employees are nervously wondering if the writing is on the wall after other tech giants hampered by the economic downturn laid off chunks of their workforces.
Elon Musk dismissed more than half of Twitter’s software engineers and developers after he took over the social media company more than a month ago.
Facebook’s parent company, Meta, shed some 10% of its workforce last month. Snapchat’s parent, Snap, laid off a fifth of its headcount in August.
Apple announced last month that it was instituting a hiring freeze. Amazon announced plans to slash 10,000 jobs last month — with CEO Andy Jassy warning employees that more layoffs were planned for the new year.
Google had previously announced a hiring slowdown as well as several organizational changes in order to weather the storm.
It also introduced a new performance rating system known as GRAD, which has left Google employees dissatisfied. Workers reportedly expressed concern over frequent “support check-ins” from their managers who wanted to discuss performance with workers who may not be pulling their weight, according to Insider.
The tougher review system, which was instituted earlier this year, has piqued concern among the ranks that their jobs could be on the chopping block.
A company spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.
Alphabet’s most recent earnings report showed that the company’s summertime revenue growth fell to its slowest pace since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic two years ago.
Alphabet, which also owns YouTube, posted revenue of $69.1 billion for the July-September quarter, a 6% increase from the same time last year.
It marked the first time Alphabet’s year-over-year quarterly revenue has risen by less than 10% since the April-June period of 2020.
At that time, the advertising that generates most of Alphabet’s revenue dried up because of the economic uncertainty during the pandemic’s early months.
Google’s ad sales weakened even more dramatically than Alphabet’s overall revenue. Ad revenue totaled $54.5 billion, up just 2.5% from the same time last year.
In another sign of more challenging times, YouTube’s quarterly ad sales decreased 2% from last year, the first time the video site’s revenue has regressed since Google began disclosing its results in 2019.
The revenue slowdown also created a drag on Alphabet’s profits.
The Mountain View, Calif., company earned $13.9 billion, $1.06 per share, a 27% drop from the same time last year. Both revenue and earnings per share fell below projections of analysts surveyed by FactSet.
With Post wires
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