Another tech giant changes course on hiring – this time it’s Google

'Scarcity breeds clarity' Alphabet CEO tells staff in internal memo

Google issued a heads-up to its staff on Tuesday that it will be slowing down some hiring for the remainder of 2022, thereby adding the ad giant's name to a growing list of companies tapping the brakes after a lengthy COVID-fueled tech boom.

The notice came in the form of an internal memo in which Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told workers any continued hiring this year and in 2023 would focus on filling "engineering, technical and other critical roles."

"Because of the hiring progress achieved so far this year, we'll be slowing the pace of hiring for the rest of the year, while still supporting our most important opportunities," he added.

Company leaders were warned of the hiring pullback last month, according to Business Insider, and these changes are now coming into effect. In the third quarter of 2022, the number of open positions allocated to some teams will be reduced, and some positions may be opened back up in the final quarter.

And while this is not a hard hiring freeze nor a layoff, it does mean projects may be curtailed.

According to Pichai's memo, Google added 10,000 employees to its roster in Q2, and had a "strong number" of people committed to starting in Q3, partly due to seasonal college recruiting.

"These are extraordinary numbers, and they show our excitement about long-term opportunities, even in uncertain times," said the CEO in his email, obtained by The Verge.

He then told staff of the US giant, historically known for throwing wads of cash at research and development, how the slowed rate of hiring would affect work and plans:

Moving forward, we need to be more entrepreneurial, working with greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger than we've shown on sunnier days.

In some cases, that means consolidating where investments overlap and streamlining processes. In other cases, that means pausing development and re-deploying resources to higher priority areas.

"Scarcity breeds clarity," opined Pichai at the end of the missive, before claiming he was excited for Google to "rise to the moment again."

Other tech companies shaking up staffing include Meta and Microsoft. At the end of last week, Meta's VP of Remote Presence and Engineering Maher Saba asked managers to submit the names of "poor performers" to the corporation's internal performance improvement plan tool – signaling its intent to trim its workforce without a formal layoff effort.

The effort to weed out poor performers follows a plummeting of Meta's stock price in early February and plans by the Zuck to cut 2022 engineering hiring by 30 percent.

Microsoft hit its workforce with a more blunt tool in the form of a regular old minor layoff this week, as over a thousand staff across geographies and roles saw their positions cease to exist. Microsoft stated in its latest financial results that it would "grow overall headcount in FY 2023."

Shares of Google parent company Alphabet are down 21 percent this year while year-on-year Q1 2022 [PDF] revenue saw 23 percent growth – a slowdown from the 34 percent year-on-year growth seen in Q1 2021. ®

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