Alphabet CEO tells employees the company will slow hiring, investments

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google I/O keynote session at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 7, 2019.

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is pulling back on some of its investments for the rest of the year amid the Covid-19 crisis and it’s starting with hiring.

“We believe now is the time to significantly slow down the pace of hiring, while 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,” CEO Sundar Pichai told workers this week in a memo first reported by Bloomberg.

“Beyond hiring, we continue to invest, but will be recalibrating the focus and pace of our investments in areas like data centers and machines, and non business essential marketing and travel.”

A spokesperson confirmed the slowdown in a statement to CNBC. “We’ll be slowing down the pace of hiring, while maintaining momentum in a small number of strategic areas, and onboarding the many people who’ve been hired but haven’t started yet.”

Pichai reportedly noted that the company added 20,000 employees in 2019 and had planned to do the same this year. So far, it has on-boarded 4,000 new employees and a thousand more are scheduled to onboard soon, the memo stated.

The announcement comes as the company faces economic headwinds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has effected the global economy. CNBC found Wednesday that the company started pulling back on skills training resources for the contractors and temporary workers that make up nearly half of its workforce. The move also comes as the company tries to motivate its workforce to stay focused on customer needs amid shelter-in-place orders triggered by the pandemic.

“Just like the 2008 financial crisis, the entire global economy is hurting, and Google and Alphabet are not immune to the effects of this global pandemic,” Pichai reportedly stated in the memo. “We exist in an ecosystem of partnerships and interconnected businesses, many of whom are feeling significant pain.”

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