Google Institutes ‘Unofficial Hiring Freeze’
I’m struck that people always seem interested in stories that appear to reveal Google as “an ordinary company,” subject to the same rules and economic pressures as others. That’s partly schadenfreude, partly about Google as internet bellwether and partly about Google’s own self-promoted uniqueness and related curiosity about how long it can be sustained. But Google is a company that ultimately, like other companies, is about earning money and not immune from the pressures of the recession we’re now in.
Accordingly, the company is looking for cost savings and has recently tightened controls over its free food and a few other perks. There is also, apparently, a de facto hiring freeze now in place at Google. CNBC characterizes it as “unofficial“:
Google, one of the nation’s great growth engines for employment, has essentially stopped hiring for the last month, according to several executives at the company. A spokesperson at the company says there has been no freeze on hiring, but several executives I have spoken with who have hiring responsibility said it was made clear to them one month ago they were to make no new hires, including at the secretarial level and they were directed to fill all vacancies with internal candidates. In effect, they term it an unofficial hiring freeze.
Google had a very strong third quarter, especially in the context of the state of the current economy. But Q4 and Q1 will be harder for everyone. Seemingly mindful of these “economic headwinds” Google is trying to hold down costs.
Currently the company has just over 20,000 employees globally. By comparison Yahoo has about 14,000 employees with 10 percent layoffs still to come. Microsoft has close to 90,000 employees (as of May, 2008).