In a meeting this week, Shailesh Prakash, the VP in charge of Google News, announced a surprise round of layoffs that had hit the company. He had to tell hundreds of employees on his team that about three dozen roles would be eliminated.
While the job cuts in Google News were small, they indicate bigger shifts happening at Google and its parent company Alphabet. During the pandemic, Google had rapidly increased hiring and promoted many employees to high levels. However, Prakash said the company had grown its headcount too fast and there would need to be “a reckoning” as business conditions change.
In January, Google conducted its first major layoffs in over 10 years, cutting around 12,000 jobs or 6% of its workforce. More recently, it let go of hundreds of recruiters, showing it plans to slow down hiring. Prakash suggested Google hired and promoted too aggressively when working from home was the norm.
Now that offices are reopening, Google seems to be adjusting staffing levels that better match the current economic environment. It’s a major change from Google’s previous reputation of being one of the most secure employers in Big Tech. The cuts in Google News could foreshadow more job losses impacting its most senior staff across divisions.
While small in size, the layoffs at Google News provide insights into how one of the world’s largest companies is adapting to shifting business realities after unprecedented growth during the pandemic era. Employees face more uncertainty as Google makes adjustments to deal with tougher market forces.