Google has been going through a phase of restructuring and realigning its workforce in response to its changing business priorities and economic cycles.
In January 2023, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs globally as a part of a company-wide restructuring effort. The initial wave of layoffs impacted workers in the US, while additional rounds of layoffs have since occurred in other countries, including India, Singapore, and China.
The current round of layoffs in China has mainly impacted high-paid senior employees “in an effort to reset the salary standard and improve overall work efficiency” as stated by Pandaily, a Beijing-based media company. The move is part of a larger effort to reduce operating costs across the organisation. China’s strict labour laws, which aim to protect workers from unjust dismissal, may have led to this.
Similar layoffs have occurred in other Google offices in India and Singapore. In a letter to employees, Sanjay Gupta, VP, Google India, explained that the decision to lay off workers was taken after due consideration of the working of various departments of the company.
While workers in the US were provided with compensation, including severance packages and payment for used vacation time, compensation in other countries will be subject to local laws and practices.
In his announcement letter, Pichai acknowledged that Google is “bound to go through difficult economic cycles as a 25-year-old company.” He emphasised the company’s growing focus on generative AI, which has become increasingly popular following the public release of the ChatGPT language model. Google has since released its own ChatGPT rival, called Bard AI, although it is not yet widely available. Microsoft has also released its own AI language model, Bing AI, which is competing with Google in this space.
The recent rounds of layoffs at Google are part of the company’s ongoing efforts to realign its workforce and adjust to changing business priorities. While difficult for affected employees, the company is making every effort to provide compensation and support during this transition period.
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