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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.
joined:Oct 25, 2005
Why isn't this getting bigger press coverage?
Why is it getting press coverage at all?
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.
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.
joined:July 3, 2008
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.
Working 100% of the time will leave you burnt out and isn't even realistic, everyone knows this.
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.
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.
joined:July 3, 2008
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.
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.