The Google Blog wrote that Google may have to cut up to 70 engineering jobs. Google implied the cuts would be due to the engineers based in Austin, Texas; Trondheim, Norway; and Lulea, Sweden not being willing or able to relocate to Google’s Mountain view headquarters.
Google explicitly made a point to say that their “long-term goal is not to trim the number of people we have working on engineering projects or reduce our global presence, but create a smaller number of more effective engineering sites.”
Why is Google being so defensive? Possibly because of Valleywag’s Google’s Loss of Innocence: 100 Jobs Cut where Owen Thomas seemed to have beat Google to posting the news. Is Google’s blog post a response to Owen, where he described the cuts as a “crushing blow to Google’s self-image?” I am not sure, the timing between the two blog posts were fairly quick.
But we all know Google has been getting a lot of press over the confirmed layoffs of contract workers, that was a rumor lingering since November. As Owen wrote, during the last downturn, Google “quite deliberately kept hiring while almost every other tech company shed staff; they were a legendary beacon of hope for Silicon Valley’s unemployed engineers.” Is Google losing that legendary status? Are they no longer looked at as indestructible? Is Google becoming hard up for money?
Postscript 1: Shortly after the engineering-related announcement, Google posted again to announce that they’re eliminating approximately 100 positions in their recruiting department. “Given the state of the economy, we recognized that we needed fewer people focused on hiring,” says Laszlo Bock, Google’s Vice President of People Operations.
Postscript 2: Google contacted us to stress that they don’t expect to cut 70 engineering jobs. Rather, they have about that many people who might not be willing to relocate when three offices are closed. They hope most will. But if some can, then those people may leave Google — but the engineering positions will be filled by new hires.