Main image of article At Google, the Hiring Freeze That Wasn't

Like many of tech’s biggest companies, Google announced earlier this year that it would slow hiring in response to economic uncertainty and fears of a recession.

But according to The Information, the search-engine giant hired 26 percent more workers in the third quarter than the second, despite a significant drop in operating profit and slowing ad revenues. There are also reports that Google (along with Meta) is snatching up employees fleeing Twitter ahead of Elon Musk’s dramatic acquisition.  

As of the end of September, Meta’s employee count had grown 28 percent year-over-year, but economic pressures (including the need to free up billions of dollars to spend on the “metaverse”) may lead the social-networking giant to initiate layoffs at some point in the near future. Amazon and Apple also engaged in significant hiring over the past 12 months despite the warning signs of slowing growth.

And therein lies the dichotomy: While many of tech’s biggest companies have reported slowdowns in their core operations (for example, Microsoft reported during its quarterly earnings results that the tempo of Azure sales had decreased), these companies also need to remain competitive—and that means hiring specialized technology professionals in critical areas such as artificial intelligence (A.I.), cloud, and cybersecurity. Even as the tech giants say they’re freezing hiring (or laying off workers), they’ll still hire critical talent.

Throughout the broader economy, meanwhile, tech hiring remains robust. Tech unemployment dipped to 2.1 percent in September, defying the increasingly grim headlines about economic calamity. “Despite the prevailing sentiment of a slowing economy, the gains in tech employment say otherwise,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the organization’s monthly breakdown of employment data, which it draws from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

And year to date, tech industry employment is up 22 percent over 2021. While tech giants such as Google and Meta went on hiring sprees over the past few years, using their substantial profits to hire thousands of technology professionals, hundreds of other companies didn’t bring aboard new workers at quite the same rate—and they still need all kinds of specialists to help bring their respective strategies to life.