We’re looking at some tough times for companies that have been supported by ad revenues, like newspapers, magazines, broadcasters, and Google. Google?!? Yes, Google.
It is being reported that Google is set to lay off about one-third of it’s workforce.
“Google has been quietly laying off staff and up to 10,000 jobs could be on the chopping block according to sources. Since August, hundreds of employees have been laid off and there are reports that about 500 of them were recruiters for Google.
By law, Google is required to report layoffs publicly and with the SEC however, Google has managed to get around the legal requirement. In fact, one of the ways Google was able to meet Wall Street’s Q3 earnings expectations was by trimming “operational” expenses.
Google reports to the SEC that it has 20,123 employees but in reality it has 30,000. Why the discrepancy? Google classifies 10,000 of the employees as temporary operational expenses or “workers”. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said, “There is no question that the number (of workers) is too high”.
According to this article, the bulk of these “temporary workers” have been working at Google for years and moved “from job to job every few months so that their status remains temporary”.
Update I 11/25: This note on CNet, Google cutting contractor workforce, says that Google announced its plans to trip their force of 10,000 contractors earlier in October, as reported by the SJ Mercury New.
Update II 11/25: Vint Cerf commented on Dave Farber’s IP mailing list that:
1. Google is still hiring but at a lower rate than before
2. for the past year, Google has been reducing the number of temporary staff and shifting jobs to employees.
Update III 11/25: Tim O’Reilly reports (also on IP) that WebGuild may not be the most reliable source of information on Google.