Google Layoffs is still the talk of the tech-world. Though it has been a couple of days since the catastrophe hit us hard, the global tech industry is yet to recover from the shell-shock. 

Just when the year seemed to be packed up with a lot of exciting stuff in its kitty, as we went on to catch a glimpse of it at the star-studded CES 2023, things changed drastically in no time. Much like human life in general. 

First, the all-new AI chatbot ChatGPT by OpenAI, not only grabbed the eyeballs but also raised the eyebrows as well. And this was quickly followed up by the devastating news of tech-giant Google firing as many as 12,000 employees overnight.

Let’s delve deeper with the story to find out what led to this shocking incident and what lies as the aftermath. 

Google Firing

Parul Koul, executive chair of Alphabet Workers Union-CWA said in a statement, “Alphabet leadership claims ‘full responsibility’ for this decision, but that is little comfort to the 12,000 workers who are now without jobs.” [Image Credit: Freepik]

Google Layoffs: The Story Behind the Story 

For the uninitiated, this happens to be the largest ever layoff in the company’s history, as its CEO Sundar Pichai announced to the world that the tech power-player has decided to let go 6% of its total global workforce. Pichai stated that it was indeed a tough call and he takes full responsibility for this shocking development. He said that the company had to conduct this large-scale firing in order to adapt with the changed scenario, which has tweaked all equations upside down. 

Pichai himself wrote in the email sent to the Googlers, which was later shared by Google on its website, “I have some difficult news to share. We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. … 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.” 

Let’s have a quick look at the ‘decisions that led’ to the Google Layoffs, while also shedding light on the other important factors that have something seriously to do with this disaster and other major talking points. 

  • Google along with most other tech companies embarked on a hiring spree during the pandemic times. This was done to encash on the new opportunities that those otherwise gruesome times came with. For your information, Google’s parent  company, Alphabet’s total workforce rose from 150,000 to 187,000 within less than a year. 

But the dividends were short-lived. The stocks of Mountain View, California-based Alphabet, had plummeted by 30% in the last 12 months, something which speaks volumes about the current state. Pichai himself says in his letter, “We hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”

  • Pichai started to cut down costs in July, when he labeled the company’s productivity “not where it needs to be.” Since then Google has shut shop the hardware division’s laptop efforts, spun off Project Loon, downsized the Area 120 “idea incubator” group in half, closed Google Stadia, decided to invest less in Google Assistant, merged Waze into Google Maps, cut 15 percent of Alphabet health company Verily’s workforce, and cut 17 percent of the staff at the “Intrinsic” Alphabet robotics company.

If we connect these dots, the reading was already on the wall. 

  • There’s an increasing fear of global recession in the air. We saw the Meta layoffs, the Twitter mass exodus, shortly after the company conducted layoffs and a host of tech layoffs in recent times – Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, Lyft, HP, Cisco, Intel – the long-list goes on and on. 

Susannah Streeter, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown opined, “It is clear that Alphabet is not immune from the tough economic backdrop, with worries about a U.S. recession growing.”

  • Alphabet has been one of the pioneers in AI, for years. But pretty recently, the surge of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which is backed by Microsoft, has started to make things difficult for it. 

What’s Next and the Other Side of the Story? 

Contrary to what Pichai has said to justify the Google Layoffs, Parul Koul, executive chair of Alphabet Workers Union-CWA said in a statement, “Alphabet leadership claims ‘full responsibility’ for this decision, but that is little comfort to the 12,000 workers who are now without jobs.” 

She slammed the top-brass of the management by further adding, “This is egregious and unacceptable behavior by a company that made $17 billion dollars in profit last quarter alone.” The fact that even workers spending close to two decades on the company were not spared, has shook the entire tech industry. 

Meanwhile, as Google sacks a significant chunk of its workforce, the panic grows even further. Tech layoffs don’t seem to dwindle a bit, as more and more companies gear up to orchestrate disposing of employees. In a way, this opens up the nakedness of the tech world, where words like humanity, empathy and sensitivity appear to be from a distant planet and acknowledgement or consideration for ‘loyalty’ has long faded into oblivion. 

It has been learnt that Google sacks 12,000 of its employees “to ensure that our [Google’s] people and roles are aligned with our [its] highest priorities as a company.” The Mountain View-headquartered tech-giant is reported to focus more on AI in the coming days, which also found reflection in Pichai’s statement. 

We will keep a close tab on how Google shapes after this highly controversial mass firings and how the tech world responds to the series of layoffs amidst the rising fears of a global recession. Stay tuned, we will get back to you soon with further updates.