Google layoffs: Mountain View massage therapists are fired

Staff at Google have long lauded the company’s work perks, from freshly-made meals in its cafes to in-house massage therapists. But the dark clouds of economic recession have cast their shadow over the tech behemoth—with masseuses among those included in the company’s biggest ever round of job cuts.

On Jan. 20, Google, which is owned by Alphabet, confirmed it would be axing 12,000 jobs—roughly 6% of its workforce — after rumors about layoffs had swirled for months. Some employees realized they lost their jobs when they were unable to access corporate systems.

In filings submitted on the same day, it was revealed that 15% of the cuts—1,845 positions—would come in Google’s home state of California. In filings released by the state and viewed by CNBC, 1,436 jobs were cut in Google’s headquarters of Mountain View, 119 cuts were in YouTube’s home of San Bruno, while Palo Alto saw 53 cuts. In Los Angeles, 177 people lost their jobs, and Irvine saw 60 jobs axed.

Although a significant proportion of the jobs—around a quarter—announced in the West Coast hub had titles including the words “director” or “senior,” a raft of massage therapists were also laid off. The cuts included 27 therapists in total, 24 at the head office and three across Los Angeles and Irvine.

The filing added: “Employee separations at the facilities resulting from this action are expected to commence March 31, 2023.” Google did not immediately respond to Fortune‘s request for comment outside of U.S. work hours; a company spokesperson previously told news outlets that the March date is due to the notification period required in California.

In his initial announcement to the company, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company would pay employees their full notification period—a minimum of 60 days—as well as a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google; 2022 bonuses and vacation time will also be paid, with six months of health care, job placement services, and immigration support provided for those affected.

Pichai added the announcement made for one of the “toughest days” for the company to date.

“As an almost 25-year-old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles. These are important moments to sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities,” he added.

“Being constrained in some areas allows us to bet big on others. Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry. Thanks to those early investments, Google’s products are better than ever. And we’re getting ready to share some entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses, too. We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.

“All this work is a continuation of the ‘healthy disregard for the impossible’ that’s been core to our culture from the beginning. When I look around Google today, I see that same spirit and energy driving our efforts. That’s why I remain optimistic about our ability to deliver on our mission, even on our toughest days.”

Google’s move comes amid a raft of tech layoffs, with Spotify Technology filing Monday that it will cut about 6% of its employees, joining a slew of technology companies from Amazon to Meta Platforms in announcing job cuts to lower costs.

Pichai himself has also taken a financial hit following the news, when he confirmed that all roles above the senior vice president level at the company face “very significant reduction in their annual bonus.” Business Insider reported that Pichai added that for senior roles, compensation was linked to company performance.

It was not immediately clear how big Pichai’s own pay cut would be. 

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