Microsoft and Alphabet Vow to Slow Headcount But Still Have More Employees Than Ever

The tech companies continued to grow their headcount last quarter even as executives moved to slow hiring or lay off workers.

A man walks in front of a building with Google's logo in New York City.
Google's New York City headquarters.
Corbis via Getty Images

Both Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, increased their number of employees in the quarter ending Sept. 30 but have pledged to slow hiring as they cut costs.

Alphabet hired 11,765 people during the last quarter and now employs nearly 187,000 workers overall, up from 156,500 at the end of last year. Microsoft’s headcount grew by 22 percent last quarter from the previous year, said chief financial officer Amy Hood, thanks in part to new acquisitions including Nuance, an AI communications firm, and Xandr, an advertising company.

The hiring numbers contradict their previous actions regarding their employees. In July Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees the company would be “slowing down the pace of hiring for the rest of the year,” and just last week Microsoft laid off 1,000 workers in its latest cost-cutting measure.

Still, the tech firms suggested they would be easing their hiring over the next few months. Alphabet, whose revenue growth dropped by 35 percentage points from the previous year due to a slowdown in ad spending, said it will hire fewer than 6,380 workers over the next quarter. Microsoft’s Hood said she expected headcount growth to be “minimal.” Shares of Microsoft were down by as much as 8 percent today after the company said it expected to earn between $52.35 and $53.35 billion in revenue next quarter, below analysts’ expectations. Microsoft and Alphabet Vow to Slow Headcount But Still Have More Employees Than Ever