Amazon has become the latest giant technology group to pull the trigger on widespread layoffs. The world’s largest retailer is said to be ready to start cutting about 10,000 jobs throughout its corporate and technology divisions within days.
The spectre of recession has prompted some of America’s most powerful technology companies to pare back their workforces, drawing a stark line under years of expansion.
The redundancies at Amazon are set to focus on its devices business, including its Alexa voice assistant, according to The New York Times, as well as its retail and human resources units. The group did not respond to a request for comment.
Shares in Amazon have almost halved in value this year amid concern over its prospects as rampant inflation forces people to reduce spending. The company spooked Wall Street last month with a meagre growth forecast for the present quarter, which includes Christmas and typically is its most lucrative of the year.
Andy Jassy, 54, Amazon’s chief executive, moved to reassure investors that the company was making “steady progress” on lowering costs across its fulfilment network. He said the business was working through a series of initiatives “that we believe will yield a stronger cost structure for the business moving forward”.
Last week, Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, laid off more than 11,000 staff, about 13 per cent of its global headcount, and Mark Zuckerberg, 38, its founder and chief executive, moved to make the business “leaner and more efficient”. Days earlier, Elon Musk, 51, halved Twitter’s workforce by laying off about 3,750 employees after completing his $44 billion takeover of the social media network. He has since warned that the company is fighting to avoid bankruptcy and has culled thousands more contractors.
Technology companies have laid off some 120,700 workers this year, according to a tracker compiled by Roger Lee, an entrepreneur.
Amazon’s dominance spans far beyond retail, with an array of interests that spans streaming to smart speakers. The group, based in Seattle, Washington, and founded in 1994, enjoyed record profits during the early years of the pandemic, but its momentum has since slowed.