The tech industry’s moment of reckoning: layoffs and hiring freezes


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Over the last year, it feels like every day, we’ve heard the news of mass layoffs and hiring freezes from big tech companies that were formerly famous for having deep pockets and near-endless amenities for workers.

To open 2023, Amazon announced layoffs of mostly corporate employees will trim 18,000 workers from the roster, the biggest reduction — in raw numbers, despite Amazon’s 1.5 million-strong workforce — yet.

Slightly smaller raw numbers have popped up at Google, with 12,000 layoffs, and Microsoft, with 10,000.

Elizabeth Lopatto spoke to experts to try and answer the question of why so many layoffs are happening right now, despite tech companies continuing to register sizable profits. One reason is that “investors have changed how they’re evaluating companies,” even if there’s a lack of evidence that the layoffs can help solve any of the problems they may have.

Here’s all our coverage of the recent outbreak of layoffs from big tech, auto, crypto, and more:

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  • TODAY, 5:56 PM UTCJay Peters

    Amazon’s layoffs included ‘just over 400’ job cuts at Twitch.

    Twitch CEO Dan Clancy, who just stepped into the role on Thursday, shared the number as part of a new blog post shortly after the announcement of Amazon’s next huge wave of layoffs.

    “Like many companies, our business has been impacted by the current macroeconomic environment, and user and revenue growth has not kept pace with our expectations,” according to Clancy. “In order to run our business sustainably, we’ve made the very difficult decision to shrink the size of our workforce.”

    You can read more about Amazon’s layoffs in our post from earlier today.

    Illustration of Amazon’s logo on a black, orange, and tan background.

    Illustration of Amazon’s logo on a black, orange, and tan background.

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  • TODAY, 3:00 PM UTCEmma Roth

    Amazon’s latest round of layoffs adds to the 18,000 job cuts that have already been announced. Divisions impacted in this latest round include HR, Amazon Web Services (AWS), advertising, and Twitch.

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  • Mar 14Alex Heath and Emma Roth

    The news comes after 13 percent of the company was cut in November. ‘This will be tough and there’s no way around that,’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees.

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    Mar 1Richard Lawler

    Waymo has laid off over 200 employees this year.

    The autonomous car unit shares its parent company, Alphabet, with Google, which in January cut over 12,000 jobs or about six percent of its workforce. The Information reports that after a new round of layoffs affecting primarily engineers, Waymo has let go of about 8 percent of the people working there.

    Like the other recent tech layoffs, it’s a sharp turn from a few years ago — in 2017, Bloomberg reported some Waymo staffers were quitting because the jobs paid so well.

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    Feb 11Emma Roth

    Meta’s “year of efficiency” reportedly isn’t off to a good start.

    According to a report from The Financial Times, Meta employees say things are “still a mess” and that “zero work” is getting done because the company hasn’t provided clear guidance surrounding budgets for various projects.

    Meanwhile, morale remains low as staffers prep for another round of layoffs as part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to cut costs across the company, which the FT says could occur around March.

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    Feb 9Mitchell Clark

    Thursday has brought even more layoff news.

    Yahoo is reportedly laying off around 20 percent of its workforce, including 1,600 people in its ad tech department, according to Axios.

    It’s not the only tech company making cuts today — Deliveroo is getting rid of around 350 jobs, and both GitLab and GitHub are laying off staff. The latter is also planning to close all its offices and go fully remote.

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    Feb 7Mitchell Clark

    Ebay is the latest to announce layoffs.

    The company reportedly told employees that it’d be cutting 500 positions, according to Reuters. It’s another entry for the sad yet informative big tech layoff tracker.

  • Feb 7Jay Peters

    US employees were notified via email and will be getting a 16-week severance package.

  • Feb 2Mitchell Clark

    These ‘organizational changes’ will reportedly affect around 150 people.

  • Feb 1Andrew J. Hawkins

    The EV company is going through another round of layoffs, less than a year after cutting 6 percent of its workforce. The layoffs come amid a broader round of belt-tightening in the tech sector.

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    Feb 1Elizabeth Lopatto

    Is it time to start the Intel deathwatch?

    Intel has been firing staff — and now, it’s instituting pay cuts, too. But don’t worry, the CEO will continue using cash to offer a dividend, because I guess paying off shareholders is the most important thing.

  • Jan 31Richard Lawler

    PayPal is laying off 2,000 employees.

    The latest mass layoff event in tech is happening at PayPal, where CEO Dan Schulman announced:

    I’m writing to share the difficult news that we will be reducing our global workforce by approximately 2,000 full time employees, which is about 7% of our total workforce.

    If you’re wondering why we’ve seen so many of these and why the 7 percent figure is so familiar, Elizabeth Lopatto can try to explain.

    A cardboard box, stuffed with the detritus of a desk job

    A cardboard box, stuffed with the detritus of a desk job

  • Jan 23Jon Porter

    The cuts follow layoffs at other tech giants in recent month. Content and ad chief Dawn Ostroff is also leaving the company.

  • Jan 21Richard Lawler

    Some of the departments affected include people working on everything from drones to Alexa AI, and even Halo.

  • Jan 19Mitchell Clark

    1,852 Amazon workers are out of a job in Seattle.

    The company is in the process of laying off 18,000 people, and carried out a round of cuts today. Washington’s publicly-accessible WARN system lets us know how many people in Amazon’s home state were affected: 1,852 in Seattle, and 448 across the lake in Bellevue, for a total of 2,300.

    Screenshot of a WARN announcement regarding Amazon’s layoffs.

    Screenshot of a WARN announcement regarding Amazon’s layoffs.

    Workers are reportedly getting a “60-day non-working transitional period with full pay and benefits.”
    Screenshot: Sean Hollister / The Verge

  • Jan 18Tom Warren

    Microsoft hints at hardware changes just as 10,000 job cuts are announced. Microsoft is expected to announce big hits to Windows and devices revenue next week.

  • Jan 18Tom Warren

    Microsoft is cutting thousands of jobs just as CEO Satya Nadella warns of a challenging two years ahead for tech companies.

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    Jan 12Mitchell Clark

    DirecTV is reportedly laying off hundreds of workers.

    “Most” of the people affected will be managers, according to Deadline, though apparently the company classifies around half of its employees with that title. In a statement to Deadline, DirecTV said it was “adjusting [its] operations costs” because less people are paying for TV and shows are getting more expensive to secure and distribute.

  • Jan 11Jay Peters

    The cuts, which reportedly affect more than 200 employees, mark the first for an Alphabet-owned company amid the many recent tech layoffs.

  • Jan 11Alice Newcome-Beill

    This is the first time the social media giant has withdrawn signed, full-time offers from potential employees and follows its first mass layoffs last fall.

  • Jan 11Jay Peters

    100 Thieves has become one of the most recognizable brands in esports, but it’s reportedly laying off around 30 workers.

  • Jan 5Mitchell Clark

    Amazon confirms it’s laying off 18,000 workers.

    Following a report from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is notifying employees that the company’s ongoing layoffs will affect 18,000 workers.

    It’s the first time we’ve gotten a concrete number from Amazon since The New York Times reported in November that the company planned on cutting 10,000 jobs.

    Illustration of Amazon’s wordmark on an orange, black, and tan background made up of overlapping lines.

    Illustration of Amazon’s wordmark on an orange, black, and tan background made up of overlapping lines.

  • Jan 5Mitchell Clark

    In November 2022, The New York Times reported that Amazon planned to lay off about 10,000 employees, but that figure has grown.

  • Jan 4Mia Sato

    In an email sent to Vimeo workers and posted online, CEO Anjali Sud said ‘ongoing cost discipline’ was necessary to keep the company sustainable.

  • Jan 4Richard Lawler

    Apple’s market cap is down $1 trillion from its peak exactly one year ago.

    On January 3rd, 2022, the value of Apple’s shares briefly crossed $3 trillion.

    Today, on January 3rd, 2023, the value of $AAPL shares fell to 125.07 at the market’s close, a 52-week low that sets its market cap at a frankly piddling $1.99 trillion. Now analysts are predicting a slight decline in revenue when Apple releases its latest quarterly earnings report in a few weeks.

    The share price is down amid greater economic and interest rate concerns (see, it’s not just Tesla and crypto taking a beating), as well as gloomy news about both iPhone production and demand.

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    Dec 5, 2022Mitchell Clark

    Some ex-Meta employees say they’re not getting full severance.

    A group of former Meta employees say they’re only receiving eight weeks of base pay and three months of COBRA as severance — half of what CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised when the mass-layoffs were announced, according to CNBC.

    The full-time, non-contract workers, who were in a Meta apprenticeship program, say the company hasn’t responded to their questions with an answer on whether the discrepancy is intentional.

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    Dec 5, 2022Jay Peters

    GameStop is reportedly cutting more jobs.

    Axios reports GameStop has begun another round of layoffs. The scale of the layoff is unclear, but Axios says the blockchain team was “heavily impacted.” In an email to employees obtained by Kotaku, CEO Matt Furlong said the decision to lay off staff was due in part to high inflation and “weakened consumer confidence.”

    The company, which gained a lot of notoriety as a meme stock, laid off staff and fired its CFO in July.

  • Nov 30, 2022Emma Roth

    The news of Kraken’s layoffs comes just months after CEO Jesse Powell went on a hiring spree for employees who would comply with his ‘crypto-first’ culture, which involves not telling people that what they said was racist.

  • Nov 30, 2022Emma Roth

    DoorDash CEO Tony Xu says the company hired too quickly during the covid pandemic and that its operating costs could ‘outgrow’ its revenue.

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    Nov 22, 2022Mitchell Clark

    Job cuts are coming to a Silicon Valley original.

    HP, one of the world’s largest PC vendors, according to data from Gartner, announced in an earnings report that it’ll lay off 4,000 to 6,000 employees by the end of 2025. According to numbers cited by CNBC, that’s between seven and 11 percent of its workforce.

    This is just the latest in a series of large tech layoffs, not to mention that the PC market has also had an especially rough year following a pandemic boom.

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    Nov 20, 2022Emma Roth

    Alexa isn’t pulling its weight.

    Internal documents obtained by Insider indicate that Amazon’s Alexa division made up the “vast majority” of the over $3 billion that the company lost across its “Worldwide Digital” department, which includes Alexa, Echo devices, Prime Video, and other products.

    Amazon confirmed layoffs affecting thousands of employees on its hardware and services teams last week, and the company’s CEO says to expect even more job cuts next year.

  • Nov 18, 2022Andrew J. Hawkins

    The company, which was founded by two engineers from the Google self-driving car project, said in a note to staff that it hired too quickly in 2021.

  • Nov 17, 2022Jay Peters

    The company hasn’t decided how many more jobs it’ll cut, but workers could be left wondering about their jobs for months.

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    Nov 16, 2022Sean Hollister

    Amazon employees are still waiting to hear if they’ll keep their jobs.

    Were you expecting Amazon to simply announce its expected 10,000 layoffs? Recode writes that the company’s swinging the ax quietly instead — quietly enough that many don’t know what’s going on. Meanwhile, “large swaths of the company’s HR division” are receiving voluntary buyout offers.

    More at Recode:

  • Nov 16, 2022Jay Peters

    Amazon’s SVP of devices and services informed employees on Wednesday that it will be cutting jobs from the division.

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    Nov 16, 2022Mitchell Clark

    The Amazon layoffs have started.

    After reports that Amazon plans to lay off 10,000 workers this week, CNBC and The Washington Post are reporting that some workers there are being informed they will need to find another job with the company soon or accept a severance payment. Neither outlet mentioned how many people were affected today, and so far there haven’t been any companywide notifications.

    From the Post:

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

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    Nov 15, 2022Monica Chin

    Ask A Manager has weighed in.

    A nervous Twitter employee, whose boss and coworkers are now gone, has written to the popular work advice column Ask A Manager, asking how the heck they should handle their company’s whole…situation.

    Columnist Alison Green’s advice: Stick it out, if you can. “Staying at least gives you the option of severance down the road…and gives you an ongoing income and health insurance,” Green wrote. She added, “I’m sorry something you helped build is being needlessly destroyed.”

  • Nov 14, 2022Chris Welch

    The cuts would be the most significant in Amazon’s history and continue a wave of mass firings in the tech industry.

  • Nov 14, 2022Emma Roth

    Tim Cook confirms that Apple’s slowing down on hiring.

    In an interview with CBS Mornings, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirms the company is now being very “deliberate” in its hiring and that it’s only bringing new staff members on board in certain departments.

    We believe strongly in investing for the long term and we don’t believe you can save your way to prosperity. We think you invest your way to it.

    In July, Bloomberg reported Apple planned to slow hiring in 2023 and that not-quite-a-freeze may be setting in early, while other Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft undergo their own hiring freezes and layoffs.

  • Nov 13, 2022Emma Roth

    According to Platformer, Twitter terminated 4,400 to 5,500 contractors without notifying them in advance.

  • Nov 12, 2022Mitchell Clark

    The company, like many others, is looking to cut costs by reducing its workforce. It’s also looking into hiring freezes, and slowing down travel.

  • Nov 9, 2022James Vincent

    The company has had a rocky year, squeezed by both the rise of TikTok and the public (and expensive) failure of its push into the metaverse.

  • Nov 8, 2022Richard Lawler

    Twitter’s layoff notices in Africa are missing something.

    Elon Musk’s mass layoffs at Twitter included severance payment for some workers, and Musk himself said in a tweet that “Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.”

    However, CNN reports termination letters sent to staff at Twitter’s only office in Africa didn’t include their names or mention any next steps or severance, only saying they will be paid until December 4th.

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    Nov 8, 2022David Pierce

    Meta layoffs are starting tomorrow, and they’re going to be bad.

    “Many thousands of employees” are set to be laid off, The Wall Street Journal reported, especially on the recruiting and business teams. Mark Zuckerberg is blaming overstaffing based on inflated growth plans, and has said he’s “accountable” for the mistakes. (Safe to assume he will not be getting laid off, though.)

    Those who lose their job should be finding out tomorrow morning, and will reportedly get at least four months’ severance.

  • Nov 4, 2022Alex Heath and Mia Sato

    About half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees are now gone, with teams focused on trust and safety issues hit the hardest.

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    Nov 3, 2022Richard Lawler

    Amazon confirms a “pause” on corporate hiring.

    The hits keep coming, and this time it’s Amazon, confirming a New York Times report from last month with a public announcement of a “pause on new incremental hires in our corporate workforce.”

    The notes about the economy echo other decisions about layoffs or hiring freezes, but as Chris Welch points out, it also oddly refers to Prime Video and Alexa a “newer initiatives” for some reason.

    We still intend to hire a meaningful number of people in 2023, and remain excited about our significant investments in our larger businesses, as well as newer initiatives like Prime Video, Alexa, Grocery, Kuiper, Zoox, and Healthcare.

  • Nov 3, 2022Andrew J. Hawkins

    The ride-hail company is expected to slash hundreds of roles, with Lyft’s president citing a potential recession and worsening economic outlook.

  • Nov 3, 2022Victoria Song

    Apparently, the ‘ship is turning,’ but the company’s stock tells a different story as Peloton falls short of Wall Street’s expectations

  • Nov 1, 2022Casey Newton and Zoe Schiffer

    Behind the scenes at the wildest tech takeover ever, where everyone knows company-shaking changes are coming — and no one knows exactly when

  • Oct 27, 2022Mitchell Clark

    The company announced its making cuts in both operations and sales departments and is refocusing on building stateside foundries and cutting up to $10 billion in costs annually by 2025.

  • Oct 18, 2022Mitchell Clark

    According to the company’s internal reports, its attrition rate is immense, and costing it billions of dollars a year.

  • Oct 12, 2022Emma Roth

    While paring back its workforce by 26 percent, it also nearly closed its writers’ and directors’ workshops, which often serve as a pipeline for artists from underrepresented backgrounds

  • Oct 6, 2022Jay Peters

    In a second memo, CEO Barry McCarthy refuted the notion that the company has six months to live.

  • Oct 6, 2022Jon Porter

    Barry McCarthy told workers in an email that after its fourth round of layoffs this year, “the bulk of our restructuring work is complete.”

  • Sep 30, 2022Mitchell Clark

    Many people seem convinced the newly formed company is trying to sell itself to Comcast. But is that really the play here?

  • Sep 29, 2022Richard Lawler and Alex Heath

    With drops in growth and revenue, Meta is responding with a hiring freeze across the company. Zuckerberg previously warned of an ‘intense period’ that could last up to two years.

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    Sep 21, 2022Jay Peters

    Meta and Google’s definitely-not-layoffs prod employees to compete for new jobs.

    Meta isn’t saying it’s laying off employees, but the WSJ reports department reorganizations are sending “a significant number of staffers” into a purgatory internally referred to as “the 30 day list” as they seek other jobs internally.

    When Google cut half of the incubating projects within Area 120 last week, it gave people until January to find new jobs, a longer than usual window. 1,400 staffers petitioned for more time for internal job searches in the spring.

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