Home / News / World /  Sundar Pichai hints at possible layoffs, wants to make Google 20% more efficient

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has hinted at possible layoffs in the company as he wants to make the company 20 percent more efficient after years of rapid hiring.

While speaking at Code Conference in Los Angeles, Pichai spoke about how he’s thinking of making the company run more efficiently ahead of economic uncertainty and a broader slowdown in ad spending, of which Google has been the largest beneficiary to date, CNBC has reported.

“The more we try to understand the macroeconomic, we feel very uncertain about it," he said, adding that, “The macroeconomic performance is correlated to ad spend, consumer spend and so on."

“We want to make sure as a company, when you have fewer resources than before, you are prioritizing all the right things to be working on and your employees are really productive that they can actually have impact on the things they’re working on so that’s what we are spending our time on," he further said.

"Across everything we do, we can be slower to make decisions. You look at it end-to-end and figure out how to make the company 20 per cent more productive," he said. "Sometimes there are areas to make progress [where] you have three people making decisions, understanding that and bringing it down to two or one improves efficiency by 20%," he said.

Speaking about Google hiring in the last five year, Macro Trends report shows, Google has jumped from under 100,000 full-time employees to over 150,000. 

This is not the first time news of layoff have come. Earlier in July, Google had reportedly warned its workers to either boost performance or prepare to leave as "there will be blood on the streets" if the next quarterly earnings are to come out in 2022 not good. According to a report by The New York Post, sales leadership has threatened employees with an "overall examination of sales productivity and productivity in general." In a company message viewed by Insider, it said that if next quarter results "don't look up, there will be blood on the streets.

Earlier in August, Sundar Pichai had said 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. The hiring pause is part of that slowdown, Google said, “to enable teams to prioritize their roles and hiring plans for the rest of the year." It had nearly 164,000 employees at the end of March.

Pichai at the Code Conference also defended the company against claims that it is anticompetitive, to which, he called Goggle “pro-competitive." 

As per the Bloomberg has report, Pichai also named Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. as competitors in the advertising business and TikTok as a rival in the video space. He also said that YouTube Shorts, Google’s TikTok competitor, is off to a “great start."

“Competition in tech is hyper-intense," Pichai said. The rise of TikTok “shows there is competition in the space" and “how vibrant this market is" compared to years past.

In 2020, The US Justice Department sued Google, alleging the company dominates the search market in violation of antitrust laws. The company is the most popular search engine and only has limited competition in that business from Microsoft Bing and Yahoo Search. The DOJ is also preparing to sue Google on claims it illegally dominates the digital advertising market, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month. 

“Do I wake up and worry about all the stuff that’s coming down?" Pichai said Tuesday. “Absolutely." Still, he said, “my guidance to our teams is to be respectful and engage the way we have in Europe" and “engage constructively through the process."

Apart from this, Pichai also said Google would continue to pursue acquisitions that make sense for the company. Citing Google’s purchase of Fitbit, he noted that the technology it gained will power Google’s upcoming Pixel Watch.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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