Amazon is set to scrap about 10,000 employees starting this week, according to a report from the New York Times which cites multiple unnamed sources and follows days of speculation about coming cuts. The lay offs will reportedly target the company’s device sector, responsible for voice-assistant Alexa, plus the retail division and human resources, according to NYT.
But don’t worry, it’s not all bad news. After all, Amazon’s founder and executive chairman, Jeff Bezos, said that he plans to—one unspecified day—donate his billions to charity. The announcement (and subsequent NYT write-up) were released the same day as the news of the impending mass lay-offs. Curious how that seems to happen!
Globally, Amazon employs more than 1.5 million people, according to Statista—most of whom are hourly workers in warehouses or delivery drivers. 10,000 layoffs represents about a 3% reduction in the company’s corporate workforce, according to the Times, and a less than a 1% cut in its total workforce. Amazon made moves to enact a hiring freeze earlier this month, but the forecast cuts are a big escalation from that. The company had aggressively expanded and hired during 2020, amid covid-19 shutdowns. Yet, the pandemic-era online shopping bubble didn’t last.
In the e-tailer’s most recent quarterly report, Amazon posted a valuation loss of one trillion dollars, becoming the first company to ever lose that much in stock value. The mind-boggling devaluation followed months of less-than-stellar earnings. So, it’s not particularly surprising that Amazon would be changing tack to cope with the losses and the fallout of a bad business bet.
Further, Amazon is far from the only giant tech company to enact big layoffs recently. Elon Musk’s Twitter scrapped thousands in cuts impacting half of the platform’s staff (before backtracking and trying to re-hire some employees). Meta laid off 11,000 of its own, following CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s deeply flawed hiring decisions and massive investment in virtual reality. And even Microsoft let go of some staff in October. The rapid disappearance of tech jobs has led some to speculate that we’ve entered another dot com crash.
But again, don’t worry too much about the future of big tech. Or, at least, don’t cry for Bezos. Whatever’s going on at Amazon, it’s not enough to stop the billionaire from making plans to send his girlfriend into space.
Correction 11/14/2022, 3:33 p.m. ET: A previous version of this article misstated the percentage reduction in Amazon’s total workforce.