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Google May Lay Off up to 10,000 Workers



11:15 pm on Nov 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

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.


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.


4:15 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Chester, just look at the latest failures.
Chrome, Lively, Wiki Google, You Tube, and last but not least, Google Desktop.
Yes it's time to trim down, HP did and posted less revenue and more profits.
Google needs to stick to search and quit data mining(Double Click) analytics and the other fails and stick to adwords and search, where they used to be on top of their game.
Enough with the gimmicks every week or two, see stock go up up...


5:45 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You are talking products, the others were talking about how they treat their employees. Different things.

But if anything, the downturn is showing they shouldn't put all their eggs in one basket.


7:42 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

"employees" were never employees they were temps, or otherwise known as a commodity or "product"


10:01 am on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why isn't this getting bigger press coverage?

Why is it getting press coverage at all?


4:23 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

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.

Don't forget free dinner too. The people I know at Google stay for dinner and don't bother eating at home in the evening. This encourages late working.

Google is well angled for people to enjoy their jobs as much as they can, and therefore put their all into it. They try to turn the job into an important part of the employee's life. It's a strategy that seems to work well for both the employee and the company.


4:58 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Guys I have nothing against Google offering their employees all these freebies and extras. But with the economy going the way it is, you just can't afford it. If you do the math, this money that is being spent on these things, could add to your bottom line and your revenue will only suffer.

It is all about the long term: if there is any proof that all these freebies boost employee productivity and even increase profits, then keep them. But there is no such definite proof.


6:22 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

It is all about the long term

That's why well-managed companies aren't "penny-wise and pound-foolish."

if there is any proof that all these freebies boost employee productivity and even increase profits, then keep them.

I'd imagine that Google pays close attention to its employee-attrition rates and how they compare with the industry at large. And you needn't be the proverbial rocket scientist to understand that (to use jamiebrown's example) providing a free dinner encourages working late, especially among employees who live alone.


7:46 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Who really works 100% of the time? Everyone at work takes 20% of their time and procrastinates/relaxes anyways; the only difference here is that Google knows it and says they give you 20% free time to come off as a great company. ...which they are.

Working 100% of the time will leave you burnt out and isn't even realistic, everyone knows this.


9:53 am on Nov 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The real problem is that we don't have enough data to figure out whether Google is making a smart move or a stupid one.

We don't know how many contractors are really given the boot. 10,000 is the total figure for Google's contractors. How many are actually dispensed with? According to the Forbes article, an analyst is being told by his sources that about 3000 "temps" are affected, but that temps sign confidentiality agreements and so can't disclose when they stop working for an employer. Is that reliable info?

We don't know why either. For instance, the article mentioned people biking around to make video recording of the area. That sure took some time. Does anyone knows if the job is done? I assume they never tried to film every street of the world with their own employees, so perhaps the job for which those temps were employed is done. No job = bye bye.

Bottom line is that without exact data about who got fired and why, we can't say whether it was smart or foolish, or if it was in any way related to the employees privileges or anything else.

Unless someone here can say really who got fired, what they were working on, and what is the status of the project they were working on, we can't say much, can we?

We do know that Google has tried its hand at a lot of things. Some of it is quite useful (Google maps, Picasa, Youtube), and some less so. Paying people on bikes to film streets is not an adequate approach to the problem, the same way that manual classification of Websites is a foolish approach. Google Apps have a serious potential, about 5 years down the line.


4:45 pm on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

bunch genius ph.d's on the loose just upped the competition for the existing jobless


5:40 pm on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Ye, I hate this horrible Free (labour) Market global economy

We should bring in some kind of system that guarentees employment for all. And in order to reduce 'waste' through overcompetition in some areas at the expense of disinterest in others, we should introduce pre-determination, or at lease economic planning.

</sarcasm (and/or bitterness)>

Back on topic, are the gossiping classes suggesting G hired contractors because they are despensible (and are thus evil), or that they are letting them go to hide the fact they are downsizing (and thus are manipulatively evil)?

Couldn't it be that they forsaw a PROJECT might actually get FINISHED and the SKILL SET might not fit in within another? And that now they are commisioning FEWER projects so there is a net loss in employement. Which to me would seem a statement of the bloomin obvious, no? After all, G's projects tend to be slow-burn at best from a monetisation POV.


6:43 pm on Dec 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

In tough times, people are more open to radical ideas. Not sure if that's a good thing.


4:00 pm on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Reading between the lines...Is it really ethical to use such a large number of contract workers to drive high profile projects. This is where Brand meets baloney.


4:12 pm on Dec 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Reading between the lines...Is it really ethical to use such a large number of contract workers to drive high profile projects.

Why would it be unethical to use contractors for projects that might or not pan out, or that might require large numbers of workers in the beginning (during the development phase) but fewer later on? To me, using contractors for projects is a lot more ethical than hiring and discarding employees according to a company's needs of the moment.

Note that I said "for projects." Some companies use contracting as a way to avoid paying benefits to de facto employees, but that's an issue for another day, another thread, and another forum.


9:35 pm on Dec 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Shadddows - I can guarantee employment for all. Everyone who doesn't have a job can come work in my factory; we make Soylent Green and other Soylent products.

Google has 10,000 contractors, but how many regular, full-time employees? I have to agree with signor_john here. In the IT industry as a whole, a lot of times you need a lot of hands for some projects that you won't need again after. Contractors or Temps are great for this, but that's under the presumption that that's what they're being used for. Schmidt says that the projects that are worked on are going to be scrutinized more carefully to decide where the fundings going, so I wouldn't be surprised if they were laying off the temps who aided in developing those tail-end budget projects.

Something tells me Google isn't in the business of cuttings costs through cutting people, and that this layoff is part of a larger cost-saving effort.

I could very-well be wrong, though.


5:14 am on Dec 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I heard that yahoo already laid-off some of its workers. I hope that the fiscal crisis would be resolved soon
This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46

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