Big tech companies are pulling back on hiring. Is it time to worry?

Google and Microsoft have slowed hiring and axed job listings as economic pressures bite.
Written by Pallavi Kenkare, Associate Editor
Image: Getty/Thomas Barwick

Google and Microsoft have both instituted measures to slow hiring, marking the latest in a series of tech-giant moves to decrease new employment. 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced initiatives to slow hiring for the rest of the year, and has paused most new offers for two weeks to reevaluate hiring plans, according to a Google statement made to ZDNet. Microsoft has cut multiple job listings, specifically within its Azure cloud business and its security software unit. Both companies will continue to honor existing job offers. 

On July 12, Microsoft also announced small layoffs, cutting less than 1% of its 180,000-strong workforce, dominantly affecting consulting and customer solution groups. However, a representative from Microsoft told ZDNet these changes reflect resource realignment to prepare for the new fiscal year. 

SEE: The future of work: How everything changed and what's coming next

"Microsoft will continue to grow headcount in the year ahead, and we will add additional focus to where those resources go," the Microsoft spokesperson said.

These announcements come on the heels of similar news from other tech giants. Companies such as Meta and Tesla have announced scalebacks on new hires, while others, such as Lyft, Klarna and PayPal, have started layoffs. Cryptocurrency exchange platform CoinBase has even gone so far as to rescind accepted job offers. Concurrently, inflation is skyrocketing, interest rates are experiencing their largest hike in almost three decades, and experts warn of an impending recession. 

SEE: As hiring freezes and layoffs hit, is the bubble about to burst for emboldened tech workers?

Despite this, employment data suggests a less gloomy picture. The tech job market experienced a meteoric rise through 2021, and US data seems to indicate an even better performance through 2022. Analysis data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics by CompTIA found that job postings for tech positions totalled 623,627 in May and nearly 2.2 million during 2022 so far, representing a 52% increase over the previous year. There is also a growing digital skills shortage, which is likely to remain a priority for many companies over the next 12 months and beyond.

So, for the time being, hiring in tech is still going strong. However, recent big moves by tech giants may serve as a reminder that all good things come to an end – and that the tech industry is by no means untouchable by ongoing economic pressures. Though it's too soon to say if more significant layoffs will follow, the recent wave of hiring freezes could be just the beginning – leaving the prospects of graduates and job-hopping tech workers a little more uncertain.

Editorial standards