The tech industry has taken a hit this summer, and major companies like Snapchat and Netflix have not been immune to disappointing earnings reports and mass layoffs.
It seems like no tech company is safe, not even Google.
On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke ambiguously about plans to increase efficiency at the company during the tech Code Conference in Los Angeles.
“The more we try to understand the macroeconomic, we feel very uncertain about it,” the CEO told moderator Kara Swisher. “The macroeconomic performance is correlated to ad spend, consumer spend, and so on.”
Pichai cited a noticeable slowdown in productivity after mass headcount increases.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, increased its total number of employees by an estimated 15.67% from 2020 to 2021, with an impressive 6,500 employees hired in Q4 of 2021 alone.
“We want to make sure as a company when you have fewer resources than before, you are prioritizing all the right things to be working on and your employees are really productive that they can actually have impact on the things they’re working on so that’s what we are spending our time on,” Pichai said.
The CEO noted the benefits of having a lower headcount at a larger company.
“Sometimes there are areas to make progress [where] you have three people making decisions, understanding that and bringing it down to two or one improves efficiency by 20%,” he said.
This is not the first time Pichai has hinted toward “uncertainty” for the company in recent months.
In July, the CEO sent an internal memo to employees announcing that the company would be slowing down hiring into 2023 and urging current employees to work with “greater urgency, sharper focus, and more hunger.”
Pichai then rolled out the ‘Simplicity Sprint’ internally, an initiative where Google employees were surveyed on three questions about working on the company through the middle of last month in hopes that executives from the company would be able to take some employee suggestions and turn them into policy.
The company reported relatively weak earnings in Q2 of 2022, with revenue slowing to a 13% increase versus 62% from the year prior.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Alphabet was down just over 25% in a one-year period.