A majority of the employees hired by companies like Meta and Google during the Covid-19 outbreak have now been terminated. The economic slump, rising inflation, and other factors are the main causes of these massive layoffs. According to Thomas Siebel, CEO of C3.ai, the “craziness” has finally gone out of the market, as these tech giants are no longer over-hiring.
Why Google and Meta hired employees when they “didn’t have positions for these people” was a legitimate concern expressed by Siebel. Surprisingly, these employees were not even given enough work to keep them occupied and motivated during the work-from-home period.
Thomas Siebel further mentioned that his software company, which currently employs approximately 1,000 people, adopts a more prudent approach towards hiring new employees. His company, C3.ai, conducts a rigorous and highly competitive interview process, evaluating candidates based on their compatibility with the company’s ambitious work culture. As a result, out of the 4,000 candidates interviewed over the past year, only 300 were selected for employment.
“I’m not suggesting that we’re in any way superior in our work ethic, but there are people who like to work together in teams, and have a book in their hand, and like to work on really hard problems,” Siebel said.
The CEO of C3.ai also criticised the work-from-home culture. His message is clear for all job seekers and employed people: If you enjoy working in teams, having a book in your hand, and taking on challenging problems, you’ll enjoy the work culture at C3.ai. And, if you prefer to work from home, possibly in your pyjamas four days a week, you should consider joining Facebook instead.
In jest, the billionaire mentioned that his company introduced an “optional” policy for employees to work from the office in 2021.
Siebel referred to his company’s strict return-to-office policy, stating that employees are either present at their desks voluntarily or have opted to work elsewhere of their own accord.
He indirectly criticized Google by displaying a photograph taken on Friday, February 24, 2023, at 3:30 p.m., which depicted the C3.ai parking lot at full capacity while an unnamed high-tech company’s parking lot remained almost empty. The Business Insider used Google Maps to identify the nearby parking lot belonging to one of Google’s offices situated in California.
Layoffs on Google and Meta
These tech behemoths cannot handle the overhiring, which leaves them with no productive work for the employees. As a result, laying off employees or giving them work from home have become viable options for these tech titans.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, laid off 12,000 employees, accounting for 6% of its workforce. These layoffs did not affect only one industry; individuals from recruitment, corporate functions, engineering, and product teams were all affected.
However, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has provided a range of benefits and support to affected employees to minimize the impact. In addition to 16 weeks of salary plus two weeks for every year spent at Google, employees will also be entitled to 2022 bonuses and six months of healthcare benefits. Furthermore, the company will extend job placement services and immigration support to affected employees.
Another tech giant Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, is preparing to lay off thousands of employees in a second round of job cuts. This move is likely to have an impact on both the financial and mental well-being of affected employees.
In the first round of layoffs in November 2022, Meta terminated 11,000 underperforming employees, comprising 13% of its workforce. The social media giant stated that this significant downsizing was an attempt to enhance operational efficiency.
Britney Levy, a former employee of Meta, claimed on TikTok on Saturday that she was placed in a non-working group before being terminated earlier this year.
Levy stated that finding work was a challenge and that the work environment at Meta was unusual. She believed the company hired them to prevent other organizations from hiring them and then kept them like Pokemon cards.
Siebel’s apprehension regarding insufficient work output among tech employees is not a novel perspective. In recent times, Keith Rabois from the PayPal Mafia echoed similar concerns, alleging that Google and Meta hired thousands of personnel to perform “fake work.” This viewpoint has garnered support from some investors and founders in Silicon Valley.
In the previous year, Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, cautioned that remote work had intensified “productivity paranoia” among managers.
According to Nadella, there is a disconnect between the perspectives of leaders and employees regarding productivity. While leaders may believe that their employees are not productive, the employees themselves often feel that they are being productive and may even experience burnout as a result.
In August, The New York Times reported that companies are utilizing various worker surveillance measures in response to the shift towards remote and hybrid work environments. These measures include monitoring mouse clicks, keystrokes, and even taking random photos to ensure employees are present at their computers. The publication documented multiple methods companies have employed to measure workers’ productivity.
However, the shocking truth about over-hiring at Meta and Google, as revealed by C3.AI’s CEO, highlights a significant issue in the tech industry. It appears that some companies prioritize hiring talented individuals over ensuring that they have meaningful work to do. This results in employees feeling unchallenged and unfulfilled, leading to low morale and potentially high turnover rates.
It is essential for companies to prioritize creating a work environment where employees can thrive and feel engaged in their work. This requires a balance between hiring the right number of employees and providing them with meaningful work that allows them to grow and contribute to the company’s success.