COMP NEWS – Alphabet has begun laying off employees related to experimental projects, with the total number of job roles count amounting to 12,000 so far.
Jan 20 (Reuters) – Google’s parent Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) is cutting about 12,000 jobs as it faces “a different economic reality”, it said in a staff memo, doubling down on artificial intelligence (AI) and axing staff who support experimental projects.
The job cuts affect 6% of its workforce, and follows thousands of layoffs at tech giants including Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) who are downsizing after a pandemic-led hiring spree left them flabby in a weak economy.
Shares in Mountain View, California-based Alphabet, which boosted its workforce by nearly a third through 2020 and 2021, rose 4% on Friday. They had fallen 30% in the past 12 months, echoing a 24% slump in the broader tech industry (.IXIC).
Alphabet is one of several large U.S. Tech companies that have been cutting jobs in recent months.
With Alphabet’s staff cuts, layoffs at four of the biggest U.S. tech companies total 51,000 jobs in the past few months. They have fanned fears of a recession even as the U.S. job market remains tight.
“The tech sector is bit like the proverbial canary in the coal mine,” said Stuart Cole, an economist at Equiti Capital, who believes the tech layoffs portend that the outlook for job security is finally beginning to turn more negative.
Apple (AAPL.O), which hired more prudently through the pandemic, has held off on cuts so far. On Friday, though, website AppleInsider reported citing sources that the iPhone maker had started to lay off non-seasonal employees in its retail channel in places such as Best Buy (BBY.N) stores.
Apple was not immediately available for a comment on the report.
The majority of cuts were made in Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator for new projects.
Among those losing their jobs are recruiters, corporate staff and people working on engineering and product teams, Pichai said. Google has cut most jobs at Area 120, its in-house incubator for new projects, a company spokesperson told Reuters.
The Alphabet Workers Union said in a statement that the company’s leadership taking “full responsibility” was “little comfort.”
“It’s appalling that our jobs are first on the chopping block so shareholders can see a few more points in a chart next quarter,” the union said.
In the United States, where Alphabet has already emailed affected employees, staff would receive severance and six months of healthcare as well as immigration support.
Overseas, layoff notifications will take longer due to local employment laws and practices, Pichai said in the memo. Employees in Asia will learn starting in February if the reduction impacts them.
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