According to Business Insider, Microsoft's decision reflects a wider situation happening across industries. Many companies are in a state of flux because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Tens of millions of people have been forced into their homes.
“We continue to seek industry-leading talent in a range of disciplines as we continue to invest in certain strategic areas. However, in light of the uncertainties presented by Covid-19, we are temporarily pausing recruitment for other roles,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.
While organizations that have significant infrastructure online or in the cloud can continue to operate, there has been an impact felt across the board. Many industries have simply shut down.
Microsoft is in a more robust position than most, something CEO Satya Nadella confirmed two weeks ago. Nadella said Microsoft's product and service catalog that is mostly in the cloud or remote functional, means the company will emerge from the pandemic “pretty strong”.
However, that has not stopped Redmond from taking similar steps to thousands of other companies. Microsoft has not said specifically which areas of its business are freezing hires. The company continues to tell employees to work from home if they are able to.
Future Job Roles
What is interesting is what will happen when Microsoft comes to its yearly round of job cuts. Usually guised as organizational changes, such as reducing Windows staff as cloud becomes increasingly important, this year could see cuts due to COVID-19.
At the moment, Microsoft has a layoff freeze in place. However, once the lockdown lifts and a degree of normalcy returns, could wider job cuts than usual be announced? That would not tally with Nadella's stance on Microsoft's outlook post COVID-19, but it seems likely headcount counts are coming.