Google CEO Pichai says company will slow hiring through 2023 in memo to employees

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 09: Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at a panel at the CEO Summit of the Americas hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on June 09, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. The CEO Summit entered its second day of events with a formal signing for the “International Coalition to Connect Marine Protected Areas” and a speech from U.S. President Joe Biden. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Google parent Alphabet will slow the pace of hiring and investments through 2023, CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees on Tuesday.

“Like all companies, we’re not immune to economic headwinds,” Pichai wrote in the memo, which was viewed by CNBC. “We need to be more entrepreneurial working with greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger than we’ve shown on sunnier days.”

He started by acknowledging that “the uncertain global economic outlook has been top of mind.”

Alphabet shares are down 21% so far this year, falling alongside the rest of the tech industry as investors rotate out of the stocks that drove the bull market of the past decade. The company missed analyst estimates for the first quarter, and Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat warned another rough period could be ahead. 

Growth in the first quarter slowed to 23% from a year earlier, down from 34% growth in the first three months of 2021, when the economy was reopening from the pandemic. Still, Pichai said in the letter that the company has hired 10,000 employees in the second quarter.

“Because of the hiring progress achieved so far this year, we’ll be slowing the pace of hiring for the rest of the year, while still supporting our most important opportunities,” he wrote. “For the balance of 2022 and 2023, the company will focus on hiring on engineering, technical and other critical roles.”

A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

Google, which has historically invested heavily in research and development, will also be more particular about where it spends money during this period of economic uncertainty.

“In some cases, that means consolidating where investments overlap and streamlining processes,” Pichai wrote. In other instances, it will mean “pausing development and re-deploying resources to higher priority areas,” he said.

Pichai ended the note by telling employees that “scarcity breeds clarity” and emphasizing that “I’m excited for us to rise to the moment again.”

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