Google Employees Sense a ‘Real Vibe Change’ as Hiring Freeze Continues

As major tech companies are forced to make cuts to personnel, Google employees are anticipating the same fate.
Isobel O'Sullivan

As tech companies continue to react to the rising rates of inflation, two Google employees revealed the company will be extending its hiring freeze for at least another week.

Google's temporary pause on recruitment was only planned to last until early August. But now, in addition to scaling back hiring efforts for the rest of the year, insiders fear that their jobs might be put on the “chopping block.”

This news comes only a month after the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Sundar Piachai, advised employees to be “more entrepreneurial” and to work with “more hunger.”

Google Hiring Freeze Continues

According to a report from Business Insider, Google's hiring freeze will resume for at least another week, as they continue to grapple with the impact of the Ukraine war and decades-high rates of inflation.

While the company hasn't publicly reversed its decision, two current employees — who chose to remain anonymous — explained that Google is still “tightening its belt” when it comes to filling new roles. They also cited a “real vibe change” throughout the company, as executives use stick management to keep personnel costs down.

“I have no idea if I'll be told I can hire someone tomorrow, or what kind of limits might be placed on me in terms of how many people I'll be able to onboard, or what their salaries might be and whatnot,” said an anonymous Google employee.

Google's initial hiring freeze was rolled out on July 20th to “review headcount needs.” The announcement came just eight days after CEO Sundar Pichai told employees they will be slowing down the pace of hiring for the rest of the year.

Google's Internal Communication Becomes Increasingly Threatening

Aside from commenting on the company's recruitment practices, Google employees also commented on the alarming rhetoric that was being used on rank-and-file employees.

When speaking to Business Insider, one current staffer explained:

“The communication has been rude and it's threatening people to make sure we hit numbers.”

Another revealed that members of the Sales leadership team at Google Cloud threatened employees, saying that there will be an “overall examination of sales productivity and productivity in general” and that if results in the next quarter don't improve:

“There will be blood on the streets.”

Statements of this kind are alarming, but they aren't out of line with the company's internal messaging. Just last month, when CEO Sundar Pichai was warning workers of “economic headwinds,” he urged them to work with “more hunger” and with “greater urgency,” insinuating that those who didn't may face the chopping block.

But as a slew of tech companies lay off workers to alleviate financial pressure, will Google be the latest firm to give the axe?

Will Google be the Latest Tech Company to Make Cuts?

At the time of writing, Google has not planned on making any redundancies. This claim has been backed up by some of its workers, with an anonymous contractor commenting, “I haven't heard of reductions, but there are definitely no additions.”

Despite this, undoubtedly spurred on by the company's aggressive messaging, other workers fear that they could be put on improvement plans or face redundancies.

“I don't think you should underestimate the kind of impact that's going to have on morale, or this sense of paranoia that they are looking for someone to put on the chopping block, and that it could be you,” said one Google employee.

While the future of Google's personnel still hangs in the balance, one thing appears certain. Even if employees are able to hang on to their jobs at the tech firm, Google's toxic workplace culture shows no sign of abating anytime soon.

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Isobel is a writer at Tech.co with a wealth of experience covering business and technology news. Since specializing in Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also spent time working as a freelance tech researcher. As a writer, Isobel takes a particular interest in issues regarding data security, social media, and emerging business technology.

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