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Google May Lay Off up to 10,000 Workers
tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 11:15 pm on Nov 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google has been quietly laying off staff and up to 10,000 jobs could be on the chopping block according to sources. Since August, hundreds of employees have been laid off and there are reports that about 500 of them were recruiters for Google.

...There is no question the economic downturn is hitting Google hard and with the slowdown in online advertising, their troubles are just beginning.

[webguild.org...]

The story goes on to explain that these workers are in temporary positions or are independent contractors. So Google is trimming these operational expenses, just as many other companies today are seeking internal economies to deal with the financial challenges of the day.

Thanks to SE Roundtable [seroundtable.com] for the tip.

 

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 12:09 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Here's a thread from the other day about this

http://www.webmasterworld.com/goog/3792829.htm [webmasterworld.com]

drall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 12:23 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

On several of the finance boards I frequent the rumor is spreading fast of Eric, Larry and Serg moving on.

signor_john



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 1:46 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

In its third-quarter results, Google stated that it had 20,123 full-time employees as of September 30, 2008. A San Jose Mercury-News article from October 16 quoted Sergey Brin as saying that the company also has about 10,000 contractors, a number that he described as "really high." In the article, Brin indicated that Google started working on a plan to trim the number of contractors last spring "through vendor management, converting some contractors to regular employees, and other approaches."

While it's true that contractors are "workers," they aren't employees. Many are hired from third-party vendors for specific projects, for a finite period of time. Unless the author of the Webguild article can tell us how many of those "up to 10,000 workers" are employees and how many are contractors, it will be impossible to know what proportion of that unsubstantiated number represents layoffs and how much of it represents cutbacks in outsourcing of work to contractors who are employed by temp agencies. (And yes, there is a difference, though it may not be apparent to the employees or contractors who lose their paychecks.)

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 1:54 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's interesting that Google apparently chooses to chop those non-employee "workers". Many compaines in the past chose to replace a lot of their full employees with temporary "workers".

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:22 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks to SE Roundtable for the tip.

Heck, I linked it up 2 days before SE Roundtable! ;)

[webmasterworld.com...]

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:40 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why isn't this getting bigger press coverage ?

signor_john



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 3:22 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why isn't this getting bigger press coverage ?

I can think of one obvious reason: For professional mainstream news media, there's a big difference between "up to X,000 contractor jobs could be on the chopping block, according to anonymous sources" and "X,000 contractor jobs have been eliminated."

In other words, it may become news, but it isn't news (or at least it isn't big news, or legitimate news) yet.

Vimes

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 4:30 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

10,000 wasn't that the figure thrown around for the "human review" contractors.

Vimes.

loner

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 7:11 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Tough luck for them- too bad.

JS_Harris

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 9:21 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google wouldn't let them go only to hire them again in 6 months or a year. The Google crystal ball says a long term decline online is underway just like every other market right now.

Good luck everyone.

Shaddows

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 9:45 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think the reason some companies (notably MS) chose a high proportion of permatemps is because they look different on financial reports (they become a scalable incremental cost rather than a fixed overhead), and because they give you flexibility in an unpredictable environment. I would imagine the combination of these would also make you more credit worthy, as it would be theoretically easier to dramatically cut costs quickly.

However if your environment is not unpredictable, instead being tough but determinate, it costs LESS per head to employ directly. And if you do not need to raise capital, and you know what staff levels you will require, it would make more sense to scale down your fixed-term contracts as they expire rather than lower morale by threatening your permanant workforce.

davidof

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 10:09 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I wonder how long before Google installs cubicles like every other company? Oh, and you want what? 20% of your time to work on your own stuff, tell you what how about 100% of your time to work on your own stuff, sonny.

rise2it

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 11:47 am on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

announcement of layoffs = stock price increases (usually)

DilipShaw

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 1:18 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

20% of your time to work on your own stuff

na... to research for the company and come up with good ideas to do business.

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 1:20 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's interesting that Google apparently chooses to chop those non-employee "workers". Many compaines in the past chose to replace a lot of their full employees with temporary "workers".

A good observation. I would guess it is because they invest so much in hiring good employees that they see them as more of a critical part of their success rather than an expense. Most companies don't view employees this way, most companies think us employees as just a line of an expense sheet.

If they can avoid laying off actual employees, bravo to them.

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 1:23 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

10,000 wasn't that the figure thrown around for the "human review" contractors.

Not sure they apply. I was one of them once and I did not "work for Google" as a contractor. I worked for a contracting company (paid by the contracting company) and was given assignments through Google.

So I'm not sure they would be considered the same. But maybe? That would be a less significant lay-off, since most of those folks are part-timers.

Let me rephrase that... Any layoff is significant in these times as folks need all the money they can find, but I think dropping their human evaluators would not hurt their ability to compete or grow as a company...

Rugles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 1:50 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why isn't this getting bigger press coverage ?

Because the US lost 250 000 jobs in October. Plus the auto industry which employs about 10% of the economy is on the verge of bankruptcy.

So 10 000 contractor layoffs (who are spread around the planet) is not that big a deal in comparison.

rehabguy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:30 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

So basically, Google is laying off their entire staff of foreign "website quality reviewers" that give out -950 penalties when they don't understand the context of your website, right?

flymore

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:41 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

good luck for them .

A good observation ,I like GOOGLE.

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:58 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

So basically, Google is laying off their entire staff of foreign "website quality reviewers" that give out -950 penalties when they don't understand the context of your website, right?

Foreign reviewers could only rate sites for their country/language.

As I as an English rater, I could only do English sites.

asas111

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 3:31 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I saw this coming. Long time ago, even when Google was thriving and breaking all profit records, I made the following two predictions:

-How long can Google keep giving out free lunch. A lot of people told me 'hey, it is only food, they make billions, they can easily afford it'

-How long can they afford to give their employees 20% free time to think about new products (most of this is probably wasted)

-How long can Google afford to keep hiring employees, as if they are a government.

It wasn't hard to see that all these trends would one day stop, because they can't afford them forever.

signor_john



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 3:59 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

So basically, Google is laying off their entire staff of foreign "website quality reviewers"

Where did you get that information?

I was one of them once and I did not "work for Google" as a contractor. I worked for a contracting company (paid by the contracting company) and was given assignments through Google.

The Webguild story incorrectly refers to contractors as "employees," so you almost certainly would have been considered a "Google employee" in the context of the Webguild article.

It's hard to know for certain whether the Webguild writer was merely inept or was trying to make Google look bad. I'd guess the latter, to judge from statements such as "Google has hundreds of lawyers figuring out how not to get caught" and "By under-reporting actual employee headcount, Google looks good to Wall Street." Someone from outside the tech industry who reads the article might assume that Google is pulling a unique scam to fool the SEC and investors, when in fact Google is using contractors in the same way that other large tech companies do. Whether Google's use of permatemps is good or bad doesn't change the fact that the article would never get past an editor on a legitimate news site.

Miamacs

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 7:00 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

which area did you say they'll reduce workforce in...?

it's support... right? *smirk*

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 7:01 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I agree signor_john, the article has a definite "dirty laundry" smell to it. However, at this point it has been discussed by several major news sources, including the AP, CNet and eWeek, so I felt we should have a place where our community could discuss it. Sorry I missed the earlier thread when I created this new one.

hutcheson

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 8:57 pm on Nov 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

>I agree signor_john, the article has a definite "dirty laundry" smell to it.

It's fairly easy to figure out where the motivation for this is. Just review the past 10 news items or so. There's another snarky smear job on Google: But look! see what company appears twice, with two articles that are nothing more than gently regurgitated company press releases!

webguild: fertilizing the astroturf, all day, every day.

frontpage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 12:29 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

That Adsense warning folks received a few weeks back is making more and more sense. Canary in the coal mine.

Whether Google's use of permatemps is good or bad doesn't change the fact that the article would never get past an editor on a legitimate news site.

You might want to rethink this as a few Wallstreet companies are reporting the same thing such as Forbes.

Google has been letting go of workers and avoiding nasty headlines through a loophole in legal law, it appears. According to reports, Google has about 30,000 employees, though only 20,000 are officially listed as full-time workers. The other 10,000 are listed as contractors. Since these contractors aren't full-timers, Google doesn't have to announce when it trims its "temporary contractor" workforce by 1,000 here or 500 there. It has been doing just that. Some are suggesting that Google is misleading Wall Street and investors with this practice. The problem is that many of the "temporary" workers being affected have been with Google for up to five years. That doesn't sound very temporary to me. Evil? You be the judge.

Google's Stealth Layoffs
[forbes.com...]

Ouch!

Until housing prices drop to 2001 levels and oil hits $25 a barrel again--or incomes go up dramatically--there won't be enough discretionary income to keep Google's advertising-driven business growing, Chowdhry figures. "Because Google is the leader for the consumer Internet, their success is their curse," Chowdhry says.

ChesterFalls

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:09 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

asas111, you are making a ton of assumptions with none of them being true.

Getting a high ROI on your people is always a good investment and that remains true. I never get why people have so much hate for how well Google treats their employees.

it is pretty simple. Free lunch. Keeps employees on the grounds, shortens the lunch hour and keeps employees in an environment where they can interact with fellow employees and talk work.

Allowing employees 20% their time not only generates new ideas, but gives them more motivation and focus on their other 80%. It removes the grind that is harmful to productivity.

Shuttle. Gives employees an environment where they can be productive on their way to work.

The rest like car wash, laundry etc. Is all about helping their employees live a better life outside of work so they can spend more time at work.

All of these are just as valuable in an upturn or a downturn. Your glee is misplaced, your predictions are not true. I am just mystified why so many people can't see the true results of treating your employees like this.

ByronM

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:13 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

In a tough economy, there is no such thing as free lunch. In a tough economy, a company should trim the "perks" before they trim peoples livelihoods.

ChesterFalls

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3794979 posted 2:26 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

So in tough times they should get less return out of their people?

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >
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