In a sign of the times and following other tech companies, CEO Sundar Pichai told employees today that Google is “slowing the pace of hiring for the rest of the year.”

Update 8/11: Business Insider reported today that Google has extended the initial two-week hiring freeze by another week. It comes as Pichai at the end of July reiterated that “productivity as a whole is not where it needs to be for the head count we have.” According to CNBC:

He asked employees to help “create a culture that is more mission-focused, more focused on our products, more customer focused. We should think about how we can minimize distractions and really raise the bar on both product excellence and productivity.”

This is being done through a crowdsourced “Simplicity Sprint” that asks employees for ideas that lead to quicker product development and “get better results faster.”

Update 7/20: According to The Information, Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan of Search, Assistant, Geo, Ads, Commerce, and Payments has announced a two-week hiring pause. This presumably applies to employees within his division.

“We’ll use this time to review our headcount needs and align on a new set of prioritized Staffing Requests for the next three months,” Raghavan said.

This will not impact existing applicant offers, but no new ones will be issued until the pause ends and the review is conducted.

The uncertain global economic outlook has been top of mind. Like all companies, we’re not immune to economic headwinds. Something I cherish about our culture is that we’ve never viewed these types of challenges as obstacles. Instead, we’ve seen them as opportunities to deepen our focus and invest for the long term.

Original 7/12: This is according to an internal memo sent today that was published by The Verge and meant to share how Pichai and company leadership are thinking about the second half of 2022. He is fast to point out that Google is still hiring to support the “most important opportunities.” 

For the balance of 2022 and 2023, we’ll focus our hiring on engineering, technical and other critical roles, and make sure the great talent we do hire is aligned with our long-term priorities.

This follows the company adding almost 10,000 employees in Q2, which Pichai considers “extraordinary numbers” that reflect “excitement about long-term opportunities, even in uncertain times.” He spends some time reiterating the company’s continued mission:

In these moments, I turn to our mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. It’s what inspired me to join the company 18 years ago, and what makes me so optimistic about the impact we are able to have on the world. Knowledge and computing are how we drive our mission forward. That’s the lens we use to decide where to invest — whether it’s in areas like Search, Cloud, YouTube, Platforms and Hardware, the teams that support them, or in the AI that enables more helpful products and services.

We help people and society when we focus on what we do best, and do it really well.

The CEO calls on Googlers to be “more entrepreneurial, working with greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger than we’ve shown on sunnier days.” 

In some cases, that means consolidating where investments overlap and streamlining processes. In other cases, that means pausing development and re-deploying resources to higher priority areas.

The memo ends on the following note:

Scarcity breeds clarity — this is something we have been saying since the earliest days of Google. It’s what drives focus and creativity that ultimately leads to better products that help people all over the world. That’s the opportunity in front of us today, and I’m excited for us to rise to the moment again.

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Abner Li

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