Tech sector layoffs in 2023 soar past whole of last year

Tech sector layoffs for 2023 have already exceeded the whole of last year amid a huge swathe of job cuts among the Silicon Valley digital giants.

Approaching 169,000 people have been laid off globally since January, compared with the 164,411 who were let go across the entirety of 2022, according to data tracker

The world’s biggest technology companies are slashing jobs amid economic uncertainty and after huge staffing increases during and after the online pandemic boom.

In March, Facebook owner Meta said it would be shedding 10,000 more staff, after the social network group had axed a record 11,000 workers in November. Google’s parent company Alphabet, plus Amazon, Salesforce, Spotify and Microsoft, are also among those to have also announced significant layoffs.

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Given the current market turmoil, more experimental projects and non-core divisions have faced the cut as companies focus on the challenges of innovating in a much more volatile economic backdrop.

Among the digital giants there has also been an admission of over-hiring during the pandemic, cited as the key reason behind Amazon’s record cull of 27,000 jobs around the world.

Amazon’s chief executive, Andy Jassy, said in a letter to workers that the company had added a substantial amount of staff to its payroll in the past few years, but the uncertain economy has forced it to choose cost and headcount cuts. Amazon employs more than 1.5 million people worldwide.

The company has also been systematically cutting back on expenses across the business, announcing earlier this month that it was hitting the pause button on the construction on part of its second headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Amazon has slowed down the global expansion of its network of distribution centres, warehouses and other facilities since at least 2022, in some cases scrapping planned projects entirely.

Meanwhile, Meta has been looking to sub-let part of its new campus in Dublin, while the digital giants have been considering cutting their footprint in the booming Irish tech city.

However, Google and Amazon have found it difficult to lay people off in the EU region because of the strict labour protection laws in these countries. In France, Alphabet has asked employees to resign voluntarily and offered good severance packages in return, while Amazon is reportedly offering a severance package of one-year’s pay to some senior managers with five-to-eight years’ experience if they resign voluntarily. data suggests that when tech firms are making cuts, they are also doing so more ruthlessly than previously.

It estimates that around 570 firms have cut staff in the past four months, compared with 1,054 in the whole of 2022. This means that on average each firm is laying off 300 people in 2023, nearly double the average of 155 last year.

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