Amazon begins widespread layoffs across corporate ranks

Amazon begins widespread layoffs across corporate ranks


In a dramatic U-turn from its steady expansion of the past decade, Amazon began laying off company employees on Tuesday, becoming the latest tech giant to downsize amid an increasingly uncertain economic climate.

Amazon employees were called into meetings with their managers across the country on Tuesday, and many were told they had two months to find another job internally or accept severance pay.

The e-commerce giant is expected to cut around 10,000 workers, or 3% of its workforce. The company began communicating the layoffs to employees on Tuesday afternoon, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters.

Amazon plans to lay off thousands of corporate employees

Hours after the layoffs began, employees began posting on LinkedIn and the anonymous job app Blind to say they had been laid off and were looking for new jobs.

Within Amazon, employees say they were given little notice of the layoffs – they received no company-wide communication or notice, said two company employees who spoke undercover anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.

Several employees have been laid off from Amazon’s Alexa team, which works on voice assistant technology, and layoffs have taken place in Boston, Seattle, Vancouver and the Bay Area, screenshots show internal company Slack messages shared by an employee who spoke about the condition. anonymity to protect their jobs.

In the chat app, employees talked about being called into meetings with their managers and human resources to break the news.

“Seeing these ‘I’ve been fired’ messages is horribly distressing,” an anonymous employee wrote in Slack. “It’s horrible :(“

The cuts are expected to primarily affect areas such as retail, human resources and appliances. Earlier this month, Amazon announced a sweeping hiring freeze among its white-collar workers that would last at least “for the next few months.”

The cuts are expected to be the e-commerce giant’s biggest round of layoffs in its history, marking a big turnaround for a company that has been hiring aggressively for the past decade.

Amazon is expected to continue hiring at its warehouses, where it is adding staff to support its busy holiday season.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Employees posted goodbye notes to colleagues in Slack along with their layoff announcements.

“I can’t thank you enough for the lessons you taught me and the friendships you so freely gave,” wrote an anonymous employee. “I will miss working with you and wish you all great things.”

In recent weeks, Twitter, Salesforce, Facebook parent company Meta and other tech companies have announced major layoffs or hiring freezes, after months of warning signs, such as tech start-ups having more difficult to raise capital.

Dan Ives, financial analyst at Wedbush Securities, told the Washington Post on Monday that the layoffs could signal an impending recession. Tech companies, he said, “are hugely bloated, and they’re not designed for a softer economy as we see it.”

Meta cut 11,000 jobs, or 13% of its workforce, last week. Ride-sharing service Lyft also lost 13% of its staff. Fintech company Stripe and real estate market Zillow have also announced layoffs since October.

This month, Twitter CEO Elon Musk cut his company’s workforce in half shortly after acquiring the social network.

Twitter cuts staff as Musk era sets in

The massive layoffs represent a sharp reversal for Amazon, which has grown for much of its history. At the end of September, it employed more than 1.5 million workers, an increase of 5% compared to the previous year. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)

Amazon saw huge growth during the coronavirus crisis as people spent more time at home and increasingly shopped online. In May, the company admitted that it had hired its warehouses too quickly to keep pace with demand, which was then cooling.

Additionally, in the face of high inflation and increasingly budget-conscious consumers, Amazon issued a disappointing forecast for the holiday season — usually its strongest time of the year — causing its stock to plummet the month. last. Amazon’s stock has fallen nearly 39% since the start of the year, despite still having a market cap of over $1 trillion.

Josh White, an assistant professor of finance at Vanderbilt University, said layoffs at Amazon were more alarming than at other big tech companies “because Amazon is very consumer-centric, and so far the consumer got hooked”.

“They have the technology and they have the ability to see trends or maybe a potential slowdown in consumer spending,” he told The Post. “And that’s starting to push us into this potential recession.”

Mandy Dean, 39, was a contract recruiter in Chicago for Amazon Luna, the company’s cloud gaming platform. The company let her contract expire in September, although she said she was on track for a full-time interview.

It wasn’t a complete surprise: Dean said she saw the signs in August, when the software engineer openings she was responsible for filling dwindled.

“It was a bad time for it all to happen,” Dean said. “I really enjoyed working for Amazon. I liked the culture, the people I worked with, the work itself. It was a difficult situation, but I couldn’t do anything.

Caroline O’Donovan contributed to this report.

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