Google is laying off 12,000 workers, or about 6% of its workforce, becoming the latest tech company to trim staff as the economic boom that the industry rode during the COVID-19 pandemic ebbed.
CEO Sundar Pichai informed staff Friday at the Silicon Valley giant about the cuts in an email that was also posted on the company’s news blog.
The firings add to tens of thousands of other job losses recently announced by Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook parent Meta and other tech companies as they tighten their belts amid a darkening outlook for the industry. Just this month, there have been at least 48,000 job cuts announced by major companies in the sector.
“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth,” Pichai wrote. “To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”
He said the layoffs reflect a “rigorous review” carried out by Google of its operations.
The jobs being eliminated “cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions,” Pichai said.
In a regulatory filing late last year, the company said that it employed nearly 187,000 people.
Pichai said that Google, founded nearly a quarter of a century ago, was “bound to go through difficult economic cycles.”
“These are important moments to sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities,” he wrote.
There will be job cuts in the U.S. and in other countries, according to Pchai’s letter.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced 10,000 job cuts, or nearly 5% of its workforce. Amazon has said it’s cutting 18,000 jobs, although that’s a fraction of its 1.5 million strong workforce. Facebook parent Meta is shedding 11,000 positions, or 13% of its workers, while business software maker Salesforce is laying off about 8,000 employees, or 10% of the total. Twitter CEO Elon Musk has slashed jobs at the company after he acquired it last fall.
Employment in the U.S. has been resilient despite signs of a slowing economy, and there were another 223,000 jobs added in December. Yet the tech sector grew exceptionally fast over the last several years due to increased demand as employees began to work remotely.
CEOs of a number of companies have taken blame for growing too fast, yet those same companies, even after the latest round of job cuts, remain much larger than they were before the economic boom from the pandemic began.