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Google, Airtable lay off hundreds of workers this week

A sign is posted in front of an office at Google headquarters on February 02, 2023 in Mountain View, California. Google parent company Alphabet reported lower-than-expected fourth quarter revenue with net income $13.62 billion, or $1.05 per share, compared to $20.64 billion, or $1.53 per share, one year ago.
The Google headquarters in Mountain View | Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If you thought tech layoffs were over, think again. Key tech companies are trimming staff—with Google and San Francisco tech unicorn Airtable letting go of several hundred employees each this week.

Google laid off a few hundred employees in its recruiting division Wednesday, with a spokesperson telling The Standard that the “volume of requests for our recruiters has gone down,” indicating that hiring at the Silicon Valley titan—and in the tech sector at large—remains tepid.

“In order to continue our important work to ensure we operate efficiently, we’ve made the hard decision to reduce the size of our recruiting team,” Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini said in a statement provided to The Standard. “We’re supporting everyone impacted with a transition period, outplacement services, and severance as they look for new opportunities here at Google and beyond.” The news was first reported by Semafor.

The Google spokesperson did not provide an exact number of total affected workers or details on benefits. A WARN notice obtained by The Standard shows that 75 employees in Google’s San Francisco offices were laid off. 

In January, Google conducted a massive layoff round affecting 12,000 workers, around 6% of its employee count at the time. Workers in that layoff round received 16 weeks of severance pay and six months of health care and job search assistance, in addition to preexisting bonus and vacation pay. 

On Thursday, Airtable laid off 237 people—around 27% of its current employee base. CEO Howie Liu said he takes “full responsibility” for the move, which, in a letter shared on the Airtable website, he said he made because the company “demands a different mix of roles than we have today.” 

The company’s current strategy, he said, requires continued enterprise growth; workers in product and sales teams working with smaller-scale customers were the primary targets of the cuts. Liu touted the company’s positive cash flow and strong war chest in the note. Laid-off employees at Airtable will receive 16 weeks of pay, two months of accelerated equity vesting and six months of health care coverage.

Airtable laid off 254 employees last December, about a fifth of its staff at the time, and three executives concurrently left the company. 

‘A Sickening Feeling’

In an interview with Forbes Thursday, Liu also accepted blame for getting “caught in the hyper-competitive environment” of pandemic-era hiring.

“It’s a sickening feeling,” he told Forbes. “I made the decisions that got us here, but it would be even worse to not make a change because if business continues on in this way, it would not be ideal for anyone––the employees, the investors, or the company.” 

According to an analysis by The Standard, more than 54,000 employees in San Francisco-based companies have received pink slips so far this year.