Insiders who have direct knowledge of the planned job cuts say they will be focused on its retail division, human resources and those involved in voice assistant Alexa.
The New York Times reported that the total number of layoffs is fluid, but if it remains around the expected figure of 10,000, it would account for 3% of the retail giant's corporate employees and less than 1% of its overall global workforce. Amazon currently employs more than 1.5 million people.
Yesterday, workers at several of its divisions, such as Luna cloud gaming and Alexa, were informed that they were being let go. At that time, Amazon had not sent company-wide notices about the planned layoffs, leading to frustration among employees as some started posting on LinkedIn and other platforms that they had been let go.
Over the past few weeks, the company started laying off contracted employees working in recruiting roles for internal operations, Fire TV and advertising. CEO Andy Jassy has been moving aggressively to reduce expenses throughout the company in the face of slowing growth and a weaker economy.
The company has also been delaying, canceling and closing new warehouse locations and stopping some experimental projects. However, they avoided some mass layoffs by offering those who were affected by project closures a chance to transfer to different divisions within the company.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced that it would be pausing hiring for corporate workforce roles, expanding a hiring freeze that was initially restricted to corporate roles within its retail business.
Human resources Chief Beth Galetti noted at the time that the move was in response to a worsening economic outlook, commenting: “We anticipate keeping this pause in place for the next few months, and will continue to monitor what we’re seeing in the economy and the business to adjust as we think makes sense.”
These job cuts mark a major turning of the tide at the retail giant, who struggled to find enough workers to staff its warehouses less than a year ago and embarked on a pandemic-driven hiring spree. The company nearly doubled its workforce in the period running from late 2019 to the end of last year, going from 798,000 worldwide employees to 1.6 million.
However, with consumers largely returning to physical stores as pandemic lockdowns become a thing of the past, its retail business is experiencing slowing growth. Meanwhile, inflation has also changed consumers’ buying habits, and Amazon’s third-quarter earnings results included guidance for the current period that was weaker than expected. Nevertheless, the company does plan to bring in 150,000 employees to get them through the holiday shopping period, which is the same number of workers they added for the holiday season last year.
Amazon is far from the only tech company making major job cuts in recent weeks. Last week, the parent company of Facebook, Meta, laid off more than 11,000 people, or 13 percent of its staff. CEO Mark Zuckerberg blamed pandemic overhiring and the wider economic downturn, as well as a decline in ad sales, for the layoffs. In a letter to staff that was posted on their corporate website, Zuckerberg admitted: “I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”
Mass layoffs also hit Twitter recently, with around 50 percent of its staff cut, while payment processing platform Stripe has cut 14 percent of its workforce, or around 1,000 jobs.
The website layoffs.fyi, which tracks tech layoffs, notes that more than 24,000 people have been fired from tech roles across 72 companies this month alone, with more than 120,000 tech jobs overall lost so far this year. As the economy continues its downward spiral, it won't be surprising if we see several other companies joining Amazon in mass layoffs before the year is over.
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