Lots of techspeak with very few answers here.

Questioning Power

Google employees have been pretty down as of late amid massive layoffs — but according to the company's C-suite, the beatings won't continue.

As CNBC reports, an all-hands meeting at Google's parent company Alphabet got contentious last week when staffers began asking executives why morale was so low despite record earnings that pushed the company's market cap past $2 trillion.

"We’ve noticed a significant decline in morale, increased distrust, and a disconnect between leadership and the workforce," read one employee comment from an employee on the all-hands forum. "How does leadership plan to address these concerns and regain the trust, morale, and cohesion that have been foundational to our company’s success?"

In another question, an employee asked why, "despite the company’s stellar performance and record earnings, many Googlers have not received meaningful compensation increases."

"When will employee compensation fairly reflect the company’s success," the employee asked, "and is there a conscious decision to keep wages lower due to a cooling employment market?"

With her feet to the fire, Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat admitted that although the company currently has more than $100 billion in cash on hand, growth is still its main priority.

"The problem is a couple of years ago — two years ago, to be precise — we actually got that upside down and expenses started growing faster than revenues," Porat said. "The problem with that is it’s not sustainable."

Steady the Ship

In an apparent course correction, Google began 2023 by laying off a whopping 12,000 employees and has since done at least three more rounds of job cuts, the latest of which coincided with hiring for the same roles in cheaper international labor markets. It should come as no surprise, then, that morale is accordingly low.

In his own comments during the forum, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai — who made, it should be noted, a whopping $226 million in 2022, the same year the company reportedly got its expense model upside down — insisted that Google is only now making up for over-hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Given the strong results," an employee asked him, "are we done with cost-cutting?"

"We’re growing our expenses as a company this year, but we’re moderating our pace of growth" Pichai said. "We see opportunities where we can re-allocate people and get things done."

"Assuming current conditions, the second half of the year will be much smaller in scale," the CEO said in reference to job cuts. In the meantime, Pichai said Google will be "very, very disciplined about managing headcount growth throughout the year."

How that shakes out remains to be seen, but at this rate, nobody can blame employees for feeling the burn.

More on Google: Google Appears to Have Partnered With the Company Behind Sports Illustrated’s Fake, AI-Generated Writers

Share This Article