Internal Microsoft memo shows significant hiring slowdown, with Charlie Bell’s new cybersecurity org cutting open headcount to just 200

Microsoft is significantly slowing hiring across the company, Insider has learned — notably cutting growth plans for ex-Amazon executive Charlie Bell’s much-hyped new cybersecurity organization for the next fiscal year beginning in July, according to an internal email and a person with direct knowledge of the plans.

The cuts to hiring targets, of which Microsoft’s chief financial officer, Amy Hood, informed executives last week, were even more significant than expected.

According to the email, open headcount for Bell’s division was cut to 200 for the fiscal year beginning next month — just weeks after Bell unveiled sweeping changes and a new vision for the unit. Bell previously planned to grow his org by 4,000 in the fiscal year 2023, according to a person briefed about the plans. Microsoft’s spokesperson said the numbers are inaccurate but did not provide new numbers. They added that while Bell’s hiring headcount is likely less than expected, the company plans to grow the organization by more than 1,000 employees in the coming fiscal year.

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

The company is slashing hiring targets less than a month after it announced plans to increase compensation for employees through salary raises based on performance and annual stock awards increases by a minimum of 25% for employees below “partner level,” Insider previously reported. Senior employees will receive stock award increases of at least 20%, per an internal email.

The increases are meant to address growing dissatisfaction with compensation and stop employees from leaving to competitors like Amazon, people familiar with the matter previously told Insider. Microsoft has kept attrition below 10% in the past year, but there are “pockets where attrition is higher,” the company’s chief people officer said in an internal email,

Just 66% of employees in an annual internal Microsoft employee survey this year responded favorably to a question asking if they got a “good deal at Microsoft (i.e. there is a reasonable balance between what I contribute to Microsoft and what I get in return).” That appears to be down from 73% last year, though Microsoft overhauled its employee survey this year so the results may not be comparable.

Many technology companies have announced hiring slowdowns and freezes, bracing for a


. Facebook parent company Meta, for example, is freezing hiring through the year and Salesforce is slowing hiring and limiting corporate travel. Coinbase said it would stop hiring and rescind already-extended offers

Are you a Microsoft employee or do you have insight to share? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email (

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