Big tech lays off workers who need coffee bars and yoga rooms, hires H1 visa types

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Another sort of talking out-of-one-side-of-the-mouth while doing something entirely different example today.

We’ve been keeping abreast of the lay-offs in the tech sector here as part of our watching the Biden economy teeter and totter precipitously, and there has been quite an adjustment in those overall numbers since last fall.


Silicon Valley’s tech giants have long claimed that they’re rewriting the playbook for how businesses should be managed. “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one,” the search firm’s co-founders wrote in their 2004 filing to list on the stock market.

It turns out that Google and its tech rivals are disappointingly conventional. The latest proof is how they’re shedding staff.

From Meta to DocuSign to Twilio, tech companies have laid off more than 275,000 workers since last year, according to, a website that tracks such announcements. Many, such as Zoom Video Communications Inc.—which alone cut about 1,300 jobs—were rewarded with significant increases in their share prices. Zoom’s stock jumped nearly 10% on the day of its layoff announcement. Twitter recently engaged in yet another round of layoffs, reportedly cutting a further 10% of its staff.

The employees that are retained are dealing with a vastly rejiggered cultural landscape as far as the perks, expectations, work from home, and general employment indulgences that were an ingrained part of their jobs for decades. Suck it up and tighten that belt if you want to stay.

In one example of shifting business practices in “subdued” times, Microsoft is still paying people, but they’ve announced they won’t be handing out annual raises this year.

Microsoft said it won’t raise salaries for full-time employees this year, the latest sign of tech companies’ belt-tightening amid concerns about a slowing economy.

The software company, which is in the midst of embracing new artificial-intelligence tools that could revolutionize work and learning, said it plans to offer promotions, bonuses and stock awards to full-time employees this year.

“As a company we recognize that navigating both a dynamic economic environment and a major platform shift requires us to make critical decisions in how we invest in our people, our business and our future,” a Microsoft spokesperson said Wednesday.

Microsoft said last month that its growth remained subdued in the first three months of the year. Economic concerns have dampened consumer demand and hurt corporate orders for the company’s software and cloud services. Its cloud-computing business has also slowed after years of expansion.


The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, was supposedly so devasted by having to lay-off people that he penned an epic sob-story farewell letter to the unlucky souls getting the boot. Read it out loud to yourself like you were doing a voiceover for a Ken Burns production.

ADIEU, mon freres. Alas and until we meet in better times *sniffle*


I have some difficult news to share. We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. We’ve already sent a separate email to employees in the US who are affected. In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices.

This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.

Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.

I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI. To fully capture it, we’ll need to make tough choices. So, we’ve undertaken a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company. The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review. They cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.

To the Googlers who are leaving us: Thank you for working so hard to help people and businesses everywhere. Your contributions have been invaluable and we are grateful for them.

…I’m sure you have many questions about how we’ll move forward. We’ll be organizing a town hall on Monday. Check your calendar for details. Until then, please take good care of yourselves as you absorb this difficult news. As part of that, if you are just starting your work day, please feel free to work from home today.



#Sadz no?

Maybe Sundar not so #sadz anymore although his former employees still are.

But not his new ones (paywalled).

…Just one month later, Pichai’s firm filed applications for low-paid foreign workers to come to America and take highly specialized tech jobs. Google filed dozens of applications for foreign workers to serve as software engineers, analytical consultants, user experience researchers, and other roles. Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google, also filed and received visa applications for engineering jobs. Many of the Google visas are for new employees, with some starting as soon as August 17th.

Slick, eh?

Based on data the government just put out, it seems Google, Meta, Zoom – shoot, they all went on a hiring spree last month for visa recipients. It’s a schweet workaround for tech firms, big and small.

The top 30 H-1B employers hired more than 34,000 new H-1B workers in 2022 and laid off 85,000 employees

The H-1B program was created with the intent to attract skilled and talented workers to the United States to fill labor shortages in professional fields—a sensible goal that has widespread support. But its implementation has been bungled by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security. Since employers aren’t required to test the U.S. labor market to see if any workers are available before hiring an H-1B worker or pay their H-1B workers a fair wage, employers have exploited the program. Rather than turning to the H-1B program as a last resort when U.S. workers cannot be found, most employers hire H-1B workers because they can be underpaid and are de facto indentured to the employer. This is evidenced by government data showing that technology companies continue to hire H-1B workers in large numbers while significantly reducing the sizes of their workforces.


Of course, if you’re already a visa worker and included in the lay-offs, you’re screwed. You have 60 days to find a new gig or you’re supposed to leave/be deported.

Rather a kick-in-the-teeth for the American techs they could have rehired who might well have been willing to work for less as their severances packages eroded or were already gone, if they got one.

And that’s how the visa game is played, ladies and germs.

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