For more than two decades, the US tech industry has been a reliable source of booming stocks and comfortable, well-paying jobs. Within a few weeks, the shine faded and the ax fell.
Already this month, more than 24,000 technical employees have been laid off in 72 companies, according to layoffs.fyi, which tracks job cuts in the tech industry. It is safe to say that a reckoning is underway, even as each company grapples with its own challenges. (See: Twitter.)
Many companies making public statements cited at least one of two main causes:
First, they hired a lot of employees during the pandemic when people were extremely online. Now the internet boom has faded, offline life has resumed, and those new hires seem too expensive.
Second, broader economic swings have made brands more reluctant to spend on digital ads, a source of revenue for many tech companies. High interest rates have ended the cheap money era of venture capital.
Here are some of the companies that have announced the biggest job cuts.
Amazon: 10,000 jobs announced
The online retail and cloud computing giant plans to lay off some 10,000 employees in corporate and tech jobs, The New York Times was the first to report In Monday. Amazon did not respond to an NPR request to confirm the report.
As of fall, Amazon employed more than 1.5 million full-time and part-time workers worldwide, many of them in warehouses. The 10,000 planned layoffs would represent about 3% of Amazon company employees, according to the Timeand a much smaller share of its overall workforce.
The cuts would focus on Amazon’s devices division, including Alexa, the company’s virtual assistant technology, as well as its retail and human resources divisions.
Earlier this month, the company announced a hiring freeze on corporate jobs. “We face an unusual macro environment and we want to balance our hiring and investing while thinking about this economy,” wrote Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people experience and technology at Amazon.
Meta: 11,000 jobs
Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta laid off 11,000 people last week, about 13% of its staff.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg attributed the cuts to overhiring during the pandemic. In a letter to staff published on the company’s websitehe cited a decline in e-commerce, the broader economic downturn, increased competition and a drop in advertising sales – the main way the company makes money.
“I was wrong and I take responsibility for it,” he wrote.
The layoffs come as the company has invested billions in the so-called Metaverse, touted as a virtual reality future where people will work, mingle, exercise and go to concerts. But it’s an unproven bet on the future, and not everyone is convinced that should be the social media company’s goal.
Zuckerberg said the workforce reductions would affect the entire organization, with staff recruitment being disproportionately affected due to fewer expected hires over the coming year. A hiring freeze until the first quarter of 2023 will continue.
Twitter: about 3,700 jobs
Billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk bought the social media platform in late October and wasted no time in downsizing. He immediately ousted the company’s management, including its CEO, CFO and top lawyer. Massive layoffs have been announced on November 4, with approximately 50% reduction in personnel.
“When it comes to reducing the strength of Twitter, unfortunately, there is no other choice when the company is losing over $4 million a day,” Musk tweeted.
Co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that he accepted the blame for hiring too many workers in recent years.
“I take responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I increased the size of the company too quickly. I apologize,” he wrote.
Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter — which he tried to pull out of for several months — saddled the company with $13 billion in new debt.
His short tenure at the top of Twitter was marked by rushed changes that were quickly halted, including his plan to overhaul the Twitter Blue verification service, which charged $8 a month to get a blue tick on his account. Accounts impersonating celebrities, big corporations and Musk himself proliferated immediately, prompting Twitter to halt Twitter Blue signups twice in a week.
Key executives who have not been fired, including Twitter’s head of moderation and content safety on the platform, as well as the company’s head of privacy and compliance, quit last week.
Stripe: approximately 1,000 jobs
Stripe payment processing platform announced on November 3 that it was cutting 14% of its workforce.
Stripe CEO Patrick Collison wrote in an email to employees that the pandemic has pushed the world toward e-commerce, spurring company growth.
The CEO said he and his brother and co-founder John Collison made “two very consequential mistakes”: being too optimistic about the short-term growth of the internet economy and raising Stripe’s operating costs too quickly. .
“We face stubborn inflation, energy shocks, higher interest rates, shrinking capital budgets and scarcer start-up funding. … [M]all parts of the developed world appear to be heading into recession. We believe 2022 represents the start of a different economic climate,” Collison wrote.
Salesforce: hundreds of jobs
Salesforce, which makes cloud-based enterprise software, laid off some of its employees last week, CNBC reported.
Salesforce said in a statement to NPR, “Our sales performance process drives accountability. Unfortunately, this may lead some to leave the company, and we support them through their transition.”
A source familiar with the cuts said they affected hundreds of employees in the sales organization.
Microsoft: less than 1,000 jobs
The software company made cuts to its divisions last month, Axios reported. Fewer than 1,000 jobs have been cut, a source told Axios.
A request for confirmation of the layoffs was not immediately returned.
Zillow, Snap and Robinhood
Zillow, the online real estate marketplace, laid off 300 of its employees late last month, TechCrunch reported. The company laid off 25% of its workforce a year ago by shutting down its instant shopping service.
Snap, the company behind Snapchat, said in late August that it was reduce its workforce by 20%. The layoffs affected some 1,200 employees, with the company’s full-time workforce standing at around 6,400 in June.
Robinhood, the brokerage app company, laid off 23% of its workforce in August. i.e. 780 employees, according to Bloomberg. The company had already reduced its workforce by 9% in April. “It didn’t go far enough,” Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev wrote.
NPR’s Alina Selyukh contributed to this story.