In brief: Amazon is joining the growing number of companies laying off staff as the global economy continues to impact businesses. The tech giant is initiating the largest round of job cuts in its history by letting go of 18,000 workers, some of whom won’t discover that they’ve been fired for another two weeks.
Back in November, the New York Times reported that Amazon planned to lay off approximately 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobs. The cuts began straight away, with many of them concentrated on Amazon’s devices organization, retail division, and human resources.
Thousands of employees have already lost their jobs, and many more layoffs are coming—a higher number than expected. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote that this year’s review of Amazon’s annual planning process has been more difficult given the uncertain economy and the company’s rapid hiring to keep up with demand during the pandemic. As such, the number of roles being eliminated is rising to 18,000. Jassy added that several teams are impacted, though the majority of eliminations will come from Amazon Stores and PXT organizations.
The cuts make up around 5% of Amazon’s corporate workforce and 1.2% of its overall 1.5 million employees. They represent the biggest round of layoffs in the history of the company and the highest number of layoffs among tech firms cutting staff in recent months.
Amazon saw its fortunes boom during the height of the pandemic before many consumers returned to traditional shopping and reined in their spending as inflation and the cost of living skyrocketed.
Jassy said that as the decision to lay off even more staff was leaked before time—The Wall Street Journal revealed the revised figure before the CEO’s post—he shared the news early, rather than speaking to those directly affected first. It means many staff being let go won’t discover their fate until January 18. That could mean a long and stressful two weeks for those who fear their jobs are at risk.
Last year was a difficult one for tech firm employees. Twitter, HP, Meta, Lyft, Microsoft, Snap, Robinhood, and many more announced they were reducing their workforces.