Google laying off staff again and moving some roles to 'hubs,' freeing up cash for AI investments

Restructure of finance teams will see some leave, and other roles created in Mexico City, Bangalore, and US cities

Google is again firing the redundancy cannon for the second time this year, with a restructure being pushed through and teams in the finance and real estate units of the business understood to be impacted.

The headcount cuts are being reported as "pretty large-scale" with some roles being moved abroad, including to lower cost job locations – borrowing from the playbook used by many legacy tech services vendors. Numbers have not been confirmed.

Ruth Porat, CFO at Google parent Alphabet, told staff in a memo – seen by CNBC – that the plan is to create hubs to centralize ops for finance teams in Bangalore, Mexico City, Dublin, Chicago, and Atlanta.

"Over the past year, we have talked about creating hubs of Fin'ooglers around the world that are vibrant and have a strong culture," she states in the memo. "This strategy will help us be a more efficient organization and enables us to run 24 hours a day while respecting Fin'ooglers' worktimes."

"We are sad to say goodbye to some talented teammates and friends we care about, and we know this change is difficult."

Via the memo, Porat states that the tech industry is in the "midst of a tremendous platform shift with AI" and so putting more resources behind this makes sense to upper management at Google.

"As a company, this means we have the opportunity to make more helpful products for billions of users and provide faster solutions to our customers, but it also means we collectively have to make tough decisions, including how and where we work to align with our highest priority areas."

Google hasn't put a figure on the exact number of people who will be shown the exit door, but one thing is for sure: it won't be on the same scale as in 2023 when 12,000 heads rolled. The company employed 182,502 staff at the end of last year.

A spokesperson for Google told The Register via an emailed statement:

"As we've said, we're responsibly investing in our company's biggest priorities and the significant opportunities ahead. To best position us for these opportunities, throughout the second half of 2023 and into 2024, a number of our teams made changes to become more efficient and work better, remove layers and align their resources to their biggest product priorities.

"Through this, we're simplifying our structures to give employees more opportunity to work on our most innovative and important advances and our biggest company priorities, while reducing bureaucracy and layers."

In January, Google waved goodbye to 1,000 employees including team members operating in the core engineering group, the Google Assistant biz, Devices and Services, YouTube and even the advertising unit.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai warned that more cost cutting was coming to free up cash for other priorities.

Workers at Google aren't used to the events of the past 15 months: Google announced 12,000 redundancies in January, equating to six percent of the workforce. It hired more than 60,000 people during the early years of the pandemic and said the "business reality" no longer justified the headcount.

Google wasn't alone in making cuts after over-hiring, as Microsoft, Amazon, Meta and many others also initiated widespread redundancy programs. Some 263,000 + people lost their job in the tech industry last year. The pace of cuts has slowed, but this is scant consolation to anyone on the receiving end of notification of redundancy.

Alphabet reported net profit of $73.8 billion in calendar 2023, up from $59.96 billion in the prior year. Revenue grew nine percent to $307.39 billion. ®

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