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Recent Tech and Media Company Layoffs Raise Concerns For Soon-To-Be Graduates

In the past week, tech giant Google has laid off 6 percent of its workforce, giving both recent and soon-to-be college graduates concerns. Photo by Kai Wenzel on Unsplash.

Cedoni Francis, a 24-year-old 2020 graduate of Vanderbilt University and college and career content creator on Tik Tok, was one of 12,000 people impacted by Google’s mass firing.

Francis, a former product marketing manager for one of the world’s leading search engines who grew her following to 200,000 discussing her work experience, announced changes in her content as a result of the layoffs. 

@cedonifrancis

norhing is ever out of god’s plan. im thankful for the past few years and even more excited for whats to come! “put the word on the street that we up!” ♬ original sound – Cedoni

“My entire team got laid off from Google,” Francis said in a Tiktok. 

“The writings have been on the wall for some time, for example, my team got reworked twice in the past year,” she continued. 

On Jan. 20, Google cut about 6 percent of its global workforce for many reasons, including premature expansion during the pandemic and the current economic landscape. 

“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,” Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, said in an email sent to terminated employees that was later posted on the company’s site for public viewership. 

Google joins fellow tech companies Amazon and Microsoft who, earlier this month, cut 18,000 and 10,000 jobs respectively. These layoffs are a concern, not only for the laid-off employees but those entering the workforce, such as Evolone Layne, a computer science major at Howard University and the president of the Howard chapter of the Google Student Developer’s club.

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“I graduate in December, and I am scared to apply full time, not just at Google, but anywhere since Google isn’t the only company laying employees off…I had a feeling that layoffs would start soon, but I was shocked that they were to this extent,” Layne said.

“The graduating class of ‘23 and ‘24 are in for a difficult recruiting process now that they will be competing with other engineers with more experience,” she continued. 

Not only are other potential applicants competition, as Layne commented, artificial intelligence, or AI, could be as well. In his email, Pichai also attributed the layoffs to the company’s “early investments in AI.”

Last Friday, the stock saw a jump and has maintained that increase since. Alphabet shares increased 4.6 percent, within the context of a 27 percent decrease within the last year, according to Bloomberg

Tech companies are not alone in the mass layoff trend. Media companies BuzzFeed, CNN, Vox, and The Washington Post have joined the pattern as of late Dec. 2022 and early 2023. They have each laid off 12, eight, and seven percent of their workforces, respectively, and the Post laid off 20 workers.  

All these media powerhouses have attributed the terminations to the current economic environment, but budding journalists about to graduate, such as LeAnne Roberts, expressed concerns for both herself and those already working.

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“Journalism is facing what all companies are facing right now: inflation, a recession, and overall uncertainty,” Roberts, a senior journalism student at Howard, said. 

“If I was a 26-year-old journalist and still in my early career, I’d be a little bit more worried than I am,” she continued. 

The Center for Career and Professional Success, formerly known as Career Services, is aware of these workforce changes and is prepping students accordingly. 

Nicole Johnson, the office’s Experiential Learning Coordinator, emphasized the importance of making students aware of the increasingly stiff competition. “1 out of every 10 applications actually lead to that role, I want to make sure they know that competition exists.”

She also noted that it’s not just current students that are seeking advisement, but alumni of four to five years are as well. “We’re having alumni come back to use Career Services,” she said, I’ve never seen that in my professional career.”

The Center urges students to book appointments to improve resumes, receive career coaching and more. Students can find more information on their website

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Copy edited by Nhandi Long-Shipman

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