Apple to Amazon: How tech giants are opting for layoffs, freezing new hires

Following Elon Musk’s acquisition, Twitter fired nearly half of its workforce as part of cost-cutting measures. The company later had to ask some of the fired employees to return after it realized that they were either fired in error or were too essential to certain operations. But the Twitter layoffs are part of a larger trend in the technology industry. The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, plans to begin large-scale layoffs that will affect thousands of its employees. As the world economy heads into recession with unchecked inflation and central banks across the world raising interest rates, more technology companies are likely to follow suit. Here, we have put together some of the biggest layoffs and hiring freezes in the tech industry..

Twitter

Musk’s takeover began with the firing of Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde immediately after the completion of the acquisition. Later, Twitter fired nearly half of its 7,500-strong staff on November 4. Employees were first informed about the layoffs in an email sent to them the previous day. Apart from raising questions about the company’s ability to deal with misinformation ahead of the US midterm elections, the layoffs also prompted a class action lawsuit from the company’s former employees.

In India, the email came at 4 am and the Indian Express reported almost all people in Twitter India’s marketing, communications and engineering teams were impacted by the layoffs. One employee told the Indian Express that “the entire process seems like a game of Russian roulette”. Twitter had close to 250 to 300 employees in India.

Meta

Facebook-parent Meta plans to begin laying off workers en masse in a move that will affect thousands of employees, according to a WSJ report citing people familiar with the matter. In October, the company forecasted a weak holiday quarter this year and significantly increased costs next year. This wiped off about $67 billion from Meta’s stock market, adding to the almost 500 billion in value it has already lost this year.

According to Reutersthis disappointing outlook for the company comes as it grapples with slowing global economic growth, intense competition from TikTok, privacy changes from Apple, increased regulatory pressure and concerns about the massive spending on the metaverse.

Snap

Snap, the company that develops and runs Snapchat, cut off around 20 per cent of its 6,400-strong workforce in August this year. The layoffs were announced as Snap’s stock price has fallen over 80 per cent in the last year. The layoffs affect some departments more than others with developers building mini-apps and games, and employees at the social mapping Zenly (which Snap acquired in 2017).

In an email to employees, Snap CEO and cofounder Evan Spiegel wrote, “While we will continue our work to re-accelerate revenue growth, we must ensure Snap’s long-term success in any environment. I am deeply sorry that these changes are necessary to ensure the long-term success of our business.”

Microsoft

Microsoft has laid off nearly 1,000 employees according to an Axios report citing an unidentified source. The company cut jobs across many levels, teams and parts of the world. “Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis and make structural adjustments accordingly. We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead,” said Microsoft in a statement to Axios.

Intel

Intel is planning to let go of thousands of employees to cut costs, according to a Bloomberg report citing people with knowledge of the situation. The layoff will reportedly hit the company’s sales and marketing group particularly hard with cuts affecting up to 20 per cent of the staff. The report notes that the fall in the PC market– which saw a small revival during the Covid era– has forced Intel to take this decision.

Amazon

While Amazon has not announced any firings just yet, it has frozen corporate hiring in its retail business for the rest of the year. This was reported by New York Times citing an internal company announcement. The announcement, which came in an email to recruiters, said that the company was halting hiring for all corporate roles in its stores business. Amazon’s stores business covers its physical and online retail business as well as its logistics operations. Before the freeze, more than 10,000 openings were posted in that division, according to NYT.

Apple

Apple is pausing hiring for many jobs outside of research and development, according to a Bloomberg reports. Apple has predicted that growth will slow down during the holiday period. It is also predicting that the supply of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will be impacted due to China’s lockdown policy to deal with the new Covid-19 infections.

The pause will not apply to the teams working on future devices and long-term projects, but it would affect standard hardware and software engineering roles and some other corporate functions, adds Bloomberg.

Stripe

Stripe is an Irish-American financial services company that provides payment processing software and APIs for e-commerce companies. Its list of customers includes firms like Amazon, Uber, Zoom, Slack and others. The company has announced it will lay off around 14 per cent of its workforce. Around 14 per cent of people at Stripe will be leaving the company. We, the founders, made this decision. We overhired for the world we’re in, and it pains us to be unable to deliver the experience that we hoped that those impacted would have at Stripe,” wrote Stripe CEO Patrick Collins in an email to employees.

He blamed stubborn inflation, energy shocks, higher interest rates, reduced investment budgets, and sparser startup funding as reasons for the layoffs.

Byju’s

According to Financial Express, Byju’s was valued at $22 billion during an October funding round where the company raised $250 million from existing investors. This makes the Bengaluru-based company one of the largest ed-tech companies in the world. But the valuation and the fresh influx of capital did not stop Byju’s from announcing the layoff of around 2,500 employees due to “job redundancy and duplication in roles.”

According to PTI, the company also said that it plans to hire 10,000 new employees across the globe, with half of them being hired in India. The company also drew flak for signing footballer Lionel Messi shortly after announcing the layoffs.