Microsoft, Google are latest tech giants to hit brakes on hiring

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) – With recession fears mounting – and inflation, the war in Ukraine and the lingering pandemic taking a toll – many tech companies are rethinking their staffing needs, with some of them instituting hiring freezes, rescinding offers and even starting layoffs.

TechCrunch reported earlier in July that over 30,000 tech workers have been laid off in the last two months.

Microsoft, Google and Lyft are some of the latest companies to pull back. Microsoft said on Wednesday (July 20) it was eliminating many job openings. Google is pausing hiring for the next two weeks, while Lyft is shutting down a division and trimming jobs. 

Here’s a look at the companies that are tapping the brakes:

Alphabet

Google’s parent company, has been decelerating its recruiting efforts. Chief executive officer Sundar Pichai told employees this month that although the business added 10,000 Googlers in the second quarter, it will be slowing the pace of hiring for the rest of the year and prioritising engineering and technical talent. Alphabet had nearly 164,000 employees at end-March.

Amazon.com

The e-commerce giant said in April that it was overstaffed after ramping up during the pandemic and needed to cut back. Amazon is subleasing some warehouse space and has paused development of facilities meant for office workers, saying it needs more time to figure out how much space employees will require for hybrid work. The company had 1.6 million workers as of March, making it the biggest employer in the tech world.

Apple

The company is planning to slow hiring and spending at some divisions next year to cope with a potential economic slump, according to sources. But it’s not a companywide policy, and the iPhone maker is still moving forward with an aggressive product-release schedule. Apple had 154,000 employees in September.

Lyft

The ride-hailing firm told employees it was reining in hiring in May after its stock dropped precipitously. The company went further this week, announcing plans to shutter its car-rental business and cut about 60 jobs. Lyft had about 4,500 employees in 2021.

Meta Platforms

The parent of Facebook, slashed plans to hire engineers by at least 30 per cent. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees that he’s anticipating one of the worst downturns in recent history. The company had more than 77,800 employees at the end of March.

Microsoft

It told workers in May that it was slowing down hiring in the Windows, Office and Teams groups as it braces for economic volatility. The company had 181,000 employees in 2021. More recently, the software maker cut some jobs – less than 1 per cent of its total – as part of a reorganisation. This week, the company said it began eliminating many job openings – a freeze that will last indefinitely.

Netflix

The streaming giant has had several rounds of highly publicised layoffs since it reported the loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter. It cut 150 employees in May and 300 in June. Last quarter, it reported US$70 million in expenses from severance and shed an additional 970,000 subscribers. Netflix had 11,300 employees in 2021.

Niantic

The maker of the Pokemon Go video game fired 8 per cent of its team in June. It was an effort to streamline operations and position the company to weather economic storms, CEO John Hanke told staff in an email. Niantic had around 800 employees at the end of last year.

Spotify Technology

The music streaming service is cutting employee growth by about 25 per cent to adjust for macroeconomic factors, CEO Daniel Ek said in a note to staff in June. The company has more than 6,500 employees, according to its website.

Tesla

The electric-vehicle maker cut 200 autopilot workers as it closed a facility in California, in June. CEO Elon Musk said about 10 per cent of salaried employees would lose their jobs over the next three months, though the overall headcount could be higher in a year. The company had 100,000 employees globally at the end of last year.

Twitter

It started a hiring freeze and began rescinding job offers in May, amid uncertainty surrounding Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company. The company had 7,500 employees in 2021.