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Google to curb number of new hires for the rest of 2020

The decision means its 2020 hiring figure will be substantially lower than its 20,000 target

Google will slow its hiring process for the remainder of the year, according to an internal memo sent by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

In an email to employees, seen by Bloomberg, the CEO told employees that the company will “significantly slow down the pace of hiring” due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

Pichai said that the company will focus on “maintaining momentum in a small number of strategic areas where users and businesses rely on Google for ongoing support, and where our growth is critical to their success”.

“By dialing back our plans in other areas, we can ensure Google emerges from this year at a more appropriate size and scale than we would otherwise. That means we need to carefully prioritize hiring employees who will address our greatest user and business needs,” he added.

The decision comes after Alphabet revealed it had 118,899 full-time employees by the end of 2019. Google added over 20,000 staff last year alone, and Pichai said that the company “had been targeting a similar number for 2020”.

The CEO also likened the current economic situation to the 2008 financial crisis.

“The clear lesson from 2008 is that preparing early is key to weathering the storm and emerging in a position to continue long-term growth, as we have done over the past decade,” he said.

The decision to scale back on hiring new employees is not unique to Google and its parent company Alphabet. Earlier this month, Microsoft said it would be “freezing hiring except in some unspecified 'strategic areas'”.

Google’s announcement follows the news that vacancies in the IT sector had dropped by a fifth globally over March, according to job search engine Adzuna, while vacancies in the UK IT sector fell 13.4%. Two years ago, job vacancies in the IT industry were up by almost 30% for the first quarter of 2018.

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