Earlier this week, we reported on Microsoft’s plans to freeze hiring during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Redmond has now confirmed the broad freeze. However, Microsoft says it will still recruit across important strategic divisions, including its Azure cloud.

Business Insider reports Microsoft’s decision is in view of the ongoing importance of cloud-based services during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company has seen a surge in users across Azure cloud services bother in enterprise and consumer. Office 365, Microsoft Teams, and Skype are just three Microsoft apps currently thriving.

So, why is Microsoft not continuing hiring across the board? After-all, CEO Satya Nadella has said the company is well positioned to emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns “pretty strong”. It seems Redmond’s decision to suspend hiring reflects the overall economic concerns caused by the pandemic.

“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 earlier this week.

Ongoing Job Security

While this decision freezes hires, it has obviously led to questions about the status of Microsoft employees. It’s not unusual for the company to have a yearly cull and lay-off workers. At the moment that will not happen. Microsoft has also placed a lay-off freeze during the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, the economic consequences of the virus could mean Redmond is forced into more lay-offs than usual when the pandemic eases. That’s speculation, of course, but it will be interesting to see if the company’s “pretty strong” position will reflect in staff keeping their jobs.