On May 23, 2023, several reports emerged that commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield is set to eliminate more than 700 jobs, mostly probably tied to Google-owned properties in Silicon Valley via The Real Deal. These job cuts most likely follow the firm's loss of a significant contract to provide property management services at various Google-owned locations across Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, and San Bruno from The Business Journal. The substantial number of layoffs raises concerns, especially as the layoffs are reportedly taking place after Google's own cost-cutting measures.
Although many questions surround the situation, one key detail is relatively clear: the jobs impacted by these cuts include a wide range of roles, such as project managers, facilities coordinators, and "workplace experience ambassadors." This large-scale layoff will take effect on June 25, 2023, with other commercial real estate firms, JLL and CBRE, expected to take over property management responsibilities the following day.
Interestingly, neither Cushman & Wakefield nor Google has explicitly confirmed that the tech giant is indeed the undisclosed client behind the terminated contract. After all, a representative from Cushman declined to comment on the identity of the client or the specifics of the contract.
However, the timing of these events is rather noteworthy. Earlier this year, Alphabet, Google's parent company, shed 12,000 workers as part of its cost-cutting efforts, pairing this action with a $564 million charge in the first quarter for downsizing office spaces. Not only that, Google ceased development on its major Downtown West project in San Jose, and a key executive in the company's real estate division also departed earlier in the year. These staggered events could potentially hint at an underlying connection to the recent Cushman & Wakefield layoffs, but there is no direct confirmation from either party.
It's worth mentioning that Cushman & Wakefield is also in the midst of implementing its own cost-cutting measures. The company disclosed in February 2023 that it planned to save $90 million through job cuts, after experiencing an 80% drop in profits – with most of those cuts being permanent and spanning "all costs and all geographies," in the words of Cushman's CFO, Neil Johnston. As a consequence, it's possible that these layoffs from Google-related projects could simply be part of a broader effort by Cushman & Wakefield to control operational costs.
For now, impacted employees have the option to apply for positions with either JLL or CBRE, the firms taking over the discontinued contract. Cushman & Wakefield claims that 96% of the affected employees will likely be rehired at the contract's end, either within the incoming property management providers or with Cushman itself.