Google axes 12,000 jobs as layoffs spread across tech sector

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. lay off / leɪ ɔf / (phrasal v.) – to stop or end a worker’s job

    The company needs to lay off some employees.

  2. ebb / ɛb / (v.) – to gradually decrease

    The actress’s popularity ebbed when fans noticed that she was rude.

  3. tighten  (one’s) belt / taɪt n bɛlt / (idiom) – to spend less money than before

    I have to tighten my belt because my rent went up.

  4. balloon / bəˈlun / (v.) – to go up at a very fast rate

    The number of customers ballooned when the restaurant offered free desserts.

  5. downturn / ˈdaʊnˌtɜrn / (n.) – a state of decrease

    The economy went through a downturn in 2020.


Read the text below.

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 ebbs.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who also leads its parent company Alphabet, informed staff at the Silicon Valley giant about the cuts in an email that was also posted on the company’s news blog.

It is the company’s biggest-ever round of layoffs and adds 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 last 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. He said he was “deeply sorry” for the layoffs.

Regulatory filings illustrate how Google’s workforce swelled during the pandemic, ballooning to nearly 187,000 people by late last year from 119,000 at the end of 2019.

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, re-engineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities,” he wrote. He called out the company’s investments in artificial intelligence as an area of opportunity.

There will be job cuts in the U.S. and in other unspecified countries, according to Pichai’s letter.

Tech companies that “not long ago were the darlings of the stock market” have been forced to freeze hiring and cut jobs in preparation for an economic downturn, said a note from Victoria Scholar, an analyst with U.K.-based Interactive Investor.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Just in January, at least 48,000 employees in the tech sector were laid off. Do you think it’s risky to work in this sector? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Tech companies that “not long ago were the darlings of the stock market” have been forced to freeze hiring and lay off employees. What do you think is the future of the tech sector (ex. it will recover, it will decline even more)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Is job loss a problem in your country? How easy or difficult is it to get a job in your country? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what support should employers extend to staff who were laid off because of an economic downturn? What about the government? Discuss.