Google fired hundreds of recruiters in another round of layoffs on Wednesday. The cuts are an indication that it will continue the belt-tightening that began at the Silicon Valley company this year, even as it doubles down on investments in artificial intelligence.
The recruiters and related staff members had previously been "invited to a last minute global all hands meeting with the agenda to share hard news," according to a post on an internal Google messaging board viewed by The New York Times. Brian Ong, the vice president of recruiting, told employees that he had wanted them to hear the news from him and that they could finish work from home or head home if they were in the office.
Courtenay Mencini, a Google spokesperson, said in a statement that the volume of requests for the company's recruiters has gone down.
"As we've said, we continue to invest in top engineering and technical talent while also meaningfully slowing the pace of our overall hiring," she added. Aspects of the cuts were reported earlier by the news site Semafor.
The cuts are not believed to be part of wide-scale layoffs, but other parts of the company could also decide to reduce position.
Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai had rallied employees behind an effort to trim expenses and boost productivity. Following its peers like Amazon and Meta, Google announced in January that it was cutting 12,000 jobs, or 6% of its workforce, marking the first significant layoffs in the company's history. As of June 30, the company had 181,798 employees.
Pichai's conduct of layoffs was then criticised by former employees, who said that they were fired in the middle of the night and immediately lost their corporate access. The cuts also overlapped with broader anxieties about what the success of AI rivals like OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, and its partner, Microsoft, could mean for Google's business.
Prior to its early layoffs, Google sought to focus on building and releasing its own AI to compete with rivals. It updated most of its products to incorporate the technology and introducing a chatbot, Bard. Since the new type of AI is very expensive to develop and run, the company told investors it would look for ways to offset the cost of its investments.
Ruth Porat, Alphabet's president and chief investment officer, told financial analysts in July that the company was focused on "reengineering our cost base to create capacity for investments," or ensuring it was spending money on the right things, to get the biggest payoff.