Google Will Reduce New Hires Until 2021

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Google’s parent Alphabet plans to slow its pace of hiring due to the economic slowdown triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo to staff on Wednesday (April 15), chief executive officer Sundar Pichai said that aside from slowing down new hires until after the new year, the company is also implementing cost-cutting measures and will be “recalibrating the focus and pace of our investments in areas like data centers and machines, and nonbusiness essential marketing and travel,” according to a report in Bloomberg.

“By dialing back our plans in other areas, we can ensure Google emerges from this year at a more appropriate size and scale than we would otherwise. That means we need to carefully prioritize hiring employees who will address our greatest user and business needs,” Pichai wrote in the memo.

The memo was confirmed by a Google spokesperson who also said that hiring would continue “in a small number of strategic areas,” while “on-boarding the many people who’ve been hired but haven’t started yet.”

Google donated over 4,000 Chromebooks to help schools teaching remotely during the pandemic and has also extended $800 million in grants, loans and credits. Its global workforce of 118,899 people started working from home in March, and the search giant said it would continue to pay independent contractors. No layoffs or furloughs were announced.

“The entire global economy is hurting, and Google and Alphabet are not immune to the effects of this global pandemic,” Pichai wrote in the memo. “We exist in an ecosystem of partnerships and interconnected businesses, many of whom are feeling significant pain.”

The Silicon Valley firm also said that it invested money to ramp up testing and step up production and distribution of PPE and lifesaving medical devices.

“The clear lesson from 2008 is that preparing early is key to weathering the storm and emerging in a position to continue long-term growth, as we have done over the past decade,” he said in the memo. 

Google and Apple are collaborating with the NHSX, the technology arm of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) to develop a mobile app to track the coronavirus.