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Amazon to axe 18,000 jobs as it cuts costs

Amazon plans to cut more than 18,000 jobs, the largest number in the firm’s history, as it battles to save costs.

The online giant which employs 1.5 million people globally, did not say which country the job cuts would be, but said they would include Europe.

Most of the job losses will come from its shops including Amazon Fresh and Go and its human resources division.

Boss Andy Jassy cited the “uncertain economy” for the cuts, saying it had “hired rapidly over several years.”

“We don’t take these decisions lightly or underestimate how much they might affect the lives of those who are impacted,” he said in a memo to staff.

He said the announcement had been bought forward due to one of the firm’s employees leaking the cuts externally.

“Companies that last a long time go through different phases. They’re not in heavy people expansion mode every year,” he added.

Amazon is the latest big technology firm to unveil major layoffs as the cost of living crisis sees customers cut back on spending.

Employees affected by the cuts are expected to be told by 18 January.

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The move comes after the technology giant said last year that it would reduce its headcount without saying how many jobs would be cut.

‘More pain ahead’

The company had already stopped hiring new staff and stopped some of its warehouse expansions, warning it had over-hired during the pandemic.

It has also taken steps to shut some parts of its business, cancelling projects such as a personal delivery robot.

Tough times for tech

imes continue to be tough for US Big Tech – Amazon is the latest in a string of giants to announce layoffs in recent months.

A potent combination of a downturn in advertising revenues due to businesses seeking to save cash, alongside consumers spending less as the cost of living crisis bites, is hitting tech firms hard.

Their boom time during pandemic lockdowns, when online activity rocketed while people were bored at home, has also come to an end.

Amazon has already announced that it’s cutting back on projects like the Echo (better known as Alexa) and delivery robots – which were nice-to-haves but not actually making money.

Anecdotally, there’s a tendency in Silicon Valley for firms to hire and retain talented workers on attractive salaries, even if they’re not immediately needed, primarily in order to stop them working for rivals. It looks like this culture is a luxury which big tech can no longer afford to maintain.

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Prior to the pandemic, tech companies would often remove only the bottom 1% to 3% of their workforce,” Ray Wang from the Silicon Valley-based consultancy Constellation Research told the BBC.

Dan Ives from investment firm Wedbush Securities said he believes Amazon will face “more pain ahead” as customers tighten their belts.

Industry-wide cuts

Tens of thousands of jobs are being shed across the global technology industry, amid slowing sales and growing concerns about an economic downturn.

In November Facebook owner Meta announced that it would cut 13% of its workforce.

The first mass lay-offs in the social media firm’s history will result in 11,000 employees, from a worldwide headcount of 87,000, losing their jobs.

Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the cuts were “the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history”.

The news followed major layoffs at Twitter, which cut about half its staff after multi-billionaire Elon Musk bought the firm in October.

Amazon started laying off staff as early as November, according to LinkedIn posts by workers who said they had been impacted by job cuts.

Posts seen by the BBC included those from employees in Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant business, Luna cloud gaming platform division and Lab126 – the operation behind the Kindle e-reader.

SourceBBC
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