Google CEO Sundar Pichai hints at possible second round of layoffs

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, has hinted that there may be a second round of layoffs after the company announced that it was firing six per cent of its total workforce or 12,000 employees in January. During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr Pichai hinted that more layoffs could soon follow at the company, but didn’t directly address the prospects.

According to Mr Pichai, the company is “literally looking at every aspect of what we do” in an effort to re-engineer its cost base permanently. He emphasised that even if there has been improvement, more things need to be done.

“We are trying to accomplish that across many different ways. We’re literally looking at every aspect of what we do, and as we said on our last earnings call, we’re thinking about how to re-engineer our cost base in a durable way. We are definitely being focused on creating durable savings. We are pleased with the progress, but there’s more work left to do,” he said.

In January, Google announced that it was cutting 12,000 jobs, which was a shock for some employees. Mr Pichai had said that cuts were made after careful consideration. “We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. We’ve already sent a separate email to employees in the US who are affected. In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices,” Mr Pichai said in a statement at that time.

It was also reported in February that the company had sacked around 450 employees across various departments in India. However, it is not clear whether the layoffs include the 12,000 job cuts announced by Alphabet Inc.

Mr Pichai also spoke about the company’s focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and its ongoing efforts to prioritize and move people to its most important areas. He referred to Google’s AI chatbot Bard, new Workspace capabilities in Gmail and Google Docs, and other projects, saying, “There’s also an important inflection point with AI. Where we can, we are definitely prioritizing and moving people to our most important areas, so that is ongoing work.”

The company’s cost-cutting efforts come as Google and its parent company Alphabet continue to face regulatory scrutiny and criticism over issues such as antitrust violations, data privacy, and censorship.

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