Amazon has announced that it will lay off more than 18,000 employees as part of a previously disclosed workforce reduction. According to CEO Andy Jassy, the layoffs will largely impact the company’s e-commerce and human resources departments, and will be communicated starting January 18. The cuts represent 6% of Amazon’s roughly 300,000-person corporate workforce, and are a surprising move for a company that recently doubled its base pay ceiling in order to attract more talent.
Jassy stated that annual planning has been difficult due to the uncertain economy, and the company’s rapid hiring over the past few years. Amazon has been bracing for slower growth as rising inflation has led businesses and consumers to cut back on spending, and the company’s stock price has halved in the past year. The layoffs follow the company’s decision to let go of staff from its devices division in November, targeting around 10,000 cuts.
The tech industry as a whole has seen over 150,000 layoffs in 2022, according to tracking site Layoffs.fyi, and this number is expected to continue growing. Salesforce also announced plans to eliminate about 10% of its staff, numbering nearly 8,000 as of October 31. Amazon’s layoffs now surpass the 11,000 cuts announced by Facebook-parent Meta Platforms last year.
Jassy’s announcement followed a report in the Wall Street Journal that the reduction would be more than 17,000 jobs. He stated that Amazon decided to disclose the news before informing affected staff due to a leak. The company will still need to file certain legal notices regarding the mass layoffs, and plans to provide severance to impacted employees. Despite the challenges, Jassy emphasized that Amazon has weathered difficult economies in the past and will continue to do so.