Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stealth Layoffs at Google?

According to Web Guild, and others, Google too has been making layoffs, but just not telling anyone.

Web Guild claims that Google has 50% more headcount than is being reported as such, with an additional 10,000 workers lumped into the "temporary" category and comprising staff that get moved around from job-to-job in order to pass muster with US employment law. Advantages to Google of taking this approach abound including that categorising people this way makes them cheaper to keep (no benefits, being not the least of them) and total actual headcount is now much easier to hide from the prying eyes of Wall Street analysts.

The first article also claims that Google has in fact already made some layoffs, primarily in the ranks of recruiters where, if this story is accurate, 500 heads have been lopped off. I can't even begin to think about what sort of a company needed 500 recruiters, but I suppose the answer is "a big one" and "a hungry one", albeit one whose appetite seems to have faded. If the other stories are true then another 500 will bite the dust sometime this week, and presumably they will be something other than recruiters ....

I don't have any insider information on whether or not this premise holds water so I guess we'll have to wait and see how things pan out, but whatever the facts of the case it's clear that on-line advertising is at best slowing down, and more likely actually contracting in real terms. It's going to be a long, hard winter in Google-land if so.

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