At Google, the Hiring Freeze That Wasn’t

Like many of tech’s biggest companies, Google announced earlier this year that it would slow hiring in response to economic uncertainty and fears of a recession.

But according to The Information, the search-engine giant hired 26 percent more workers in the third quarter than the second, despite a significant drop in operating profit and slowing ad revenues. There are also reports that Google (along with Meta) is snatching up employees fleeing Twitter ahead of Elon Musk’s dramatic acquisition.  

As of the end of September, Meta’s employee count had grown 28 percent year-over-year, but economic pressures (including the need to free up billions of dollars to spend on the “metaverse”) may lead the social-networking giant to initiate layoffs at some point in the near future. Amazon and Apple also engaged in significant hiring over the past 12 months despite the warning signs of slowing growth.

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And therein lies the dichotomy: While many of tech’s biggest companies have reported slowdowns in their core operations (for example, Microsoft reported during its quarterly earnings results that the tempo of Azure sales had decreased), these companies also need to remain competitive—and that means hiring specialized technology professionals in critical areas such as artificial intelligence (A.I.), cloud, and cybersecurity. Even as the tech giants say they’re freezing hiring (or laying off workers), they’ll still hire critical talent.

Throughout the broader economy, meanwhile, tech hiring remains robust. Tech unemployment dipped to 2.1 percent in September, defying the increasingly grim headlines about economic calamity. “Despite the prevailing sentiment of a slowing economy, the gains in tech employment say otherwise,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the organization’s monthly breakdown of employment data, which it draws from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

And year to date, tech industry employment is up 22 percent over 2021. While tech giants such as Google and Meta went on hiring sprees over the past few years, using their substantial profits to hire thousands of technology professionals, hundreds of other companies didn’t bring aboard new workers at quite the same rate—and they still need all kinds of specialists to help bring their respective strategies to life.

2 Responses to “At Google, the Hiring Freeze That Wasn’t”

  1. jake_leone

    It was all about “Scare them back to the office”.
    It is difficult to say whether Twitter employees are a bargain. Literally, Suru Murugesan said Twitter employees work only 4hrs/wk. If you are used to that kind of a laid back environment, are you good for any job at all? I would say most moved on because they had friends that can get them past the HR wall at Meta or Google. (Google and Meta are infamous for HR rejecting many successful engineers, Spotify, Whatsapp…)
    Right now, under Elon, Twitter employees were told either implement (work 24×7) a pay scheme for the Blue Check Mark, or get fired. And the people who want to stay at Twitter have no choice. It must feel like having to dig your own grave before getting executed and dropping into the pit.
    But the reality is, if a Tech company isn’t paranoid, it will fall behind. And (this is the corollary), if a tech company has CEO with an idea that “WILL NEVER GAIN TRACTION IN THE MARKET” (ie, the Metaverse with those expensive, uncomfortable, goggles), it will flounder miserably.
    Meta should literally be working only on Automatic Content Generation, which doesn’t require a head set. Literally, give the public the tools to generate their own animated (or near CGI real) series or entertainment. That is the thing that will become the Trillicorn (by helping others sell junk to the masses).
    If you want to see a good example of the floundering, look at Yahoo under Marissa Mayer.
    Occasionally, founders have great ideas, that do (after some work), gain traction. The reason, LUCK, because no one really sees the big picture, which I lay out below. But 9 out of 10 times (or more) great ideas are just some nerd talking. And you can be a nerd about anything, but the more categories you delve into, the more of a rare uncommon box you pin your hard work to, the less likely you are going to succeed to big money. And that can be shown to be universally true.
    The key to success, is to sell to the masses, second down from that, help business sell to the masses (that’s the Trillicorns). After that, get an idea, that can/(or has to be) used by the masses (that’s the Billicorns). After that you hit the cliff, and you are in a niche business. You can’t become a Trillicorn or a Billicorn. After that cliff, you are a Millicorn or just everyday Joe contractor.
    The more elements you have, in your business model, that fall into the niche, the less likely you are working on a successful Billicorn.