Amazon, the e-commerce giant, announced on Wednesday that it will be laying off over 18,000 employees starting January 18. The company had already laid off about 10,000 staff in November. In an email to staff, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy cited “uncertain economy” and “rapid hiring” as the reasons behind the job cuts.
“Between the reductions we made in November and the ones we’re sharing today, we plan to eliminate just over 18,000 roles,” Jassy said in the statement to his staff. The majority of the role eliminations will be in Amazon Stores and the People Experience and Technology Solutions (PXT Solutions) teams. However, Jassy stated that several teams have been impacted.
Andy Jassy added that Amazon is “deeply aware these role eliminations are difficult for people, and we don’t take these decisions lightly.” The company is working to support those who are affected and is providing packages that include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support. The company will be communicating with impacted staff (or employee representative bodies in Europe) starting on January 18.
Tech Companies including Amazon Turn to Job Cuts to Survive Economic Headwinds
This layoff announcement is in line with the approach followed by many tech companies, which have resorted to job cuts in order to survive the economic headwinds. Firms are looking to reduce expenses in the face of inflation and rising interest rates.
In November, Facebook parent Meta announced the loss of 11,000 jobs, or about 13% of its workforce. At the end of August, Snapchat fired about 20% of its employees, or about 1,200 people.
After billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, the social media platform let go about half of its 7,500 employees. More recently, IT major Salesforce announced that it was laying off around 10% of its employees, or just under 8,000 people.
While Jassy’s email did not mention India specifically, it was reported in November that Amazon was looking to cut jobs in the country as well. The company has shut down its smaller businesses in India, such as food delivery, wholesale distribution, and Amazon Academy, as part of its restructuring efforts in the country.
However, in December, Amazon’s consumer business country manager for India, Manish Tiwary, stated that the company was only reevaluating its experiments in the country and not shutting down businesses.
Tiwary added that Amazon remains committed to the local market and will be doubling down on its investments in its business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, pharmacy, grocery, and social commerce in 2023.
While job cuts can be a necessary measure for companies to survive economic challenges, they can also be a difficult and unsettling experience for the employees affected. Companies such as Amazon have stated that they are working to support those who are affected and are providing packages that include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support.
It remains to be seen how these job cuts will impact the tech industry as a whole. However, it is clear that tech companies are taking steps to navigate the uncertain economic climate and position themselves for future success.