Microsoft pumps the breaks on hiring

Microsoft is pulling back on hiring tech talent for its Windows, Office and Teams chat and conferencing software groups.

Microsoft is pulling back on hiring quotas for its Windows, Office and Teams chat and conferencing software groups.

Redmond is apparently readjusting staffing needs in reaction to a global economy that's been buffeted by rising prices, supply chain problems, and spillover effects from war in Ukraine. The move was first reported by Bloomberg.

"As Microsoft gets ready for the new fiscal year, it is making sure the right resources are aligned to the right opportunity," the company said in a statement. "Microsoft will continue to grow headcount in the year ahead and it will add additional focus to where those resources go."

Microsoft's share prices are down so far this year, from around $337 per share in early January to about $265 a share today, according to Markets Insider. Financial markets overall are down for the year as well.

Microsoft is not alone. A handful of other big-name tech companies have acknowledged similar moves on hiring – the latest being Salesforce and software and graphic card maker Nvidia, which during its earnings call Wednesday said: “We're slowing for now to integrate these new employees and to focus our budget on taking care of existing employees as inflation persists."

Other companies to announce hiring slowdowns include Lyft, Snap, Uber, Meta, Salesforce, and Coinbase — all have made similar moves amid tumbling share prices, according to Protocol.

Meanwhile, at Microsoft all new hires must be approved by executive vice president Rajesh Jha and his leadership team, according to Bloomberg.

The move comes as Microsoft remains under tremendous pressure to attract and retain talent, with the vendor boosting worldwide compensation for employees to remain competitive with some of its big-tech rivals, including Amazon and Meta.

Redmond plans to nearly double its global budget for merit-based salary increases, and increase its range for annual stock-based compensation by at least 25 per cent for employees at the senior director level and below, according to a GeekWire report.

“Specifically, we are nearly doubling the global merit budget,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told employees in an email.

“Merit budgets will vary by country, based on local market data, and the most meaningful increases will be focused where the market demands and on early to mid-career levels. We are also increasing Annual Stock ranges by at least 25 per cent for all levels 67 and below.”

The reference to “levels 67 and below” refers to employees up to senior directors, according to Geekwire.