Amazon begins to cut jobs, with layoffs hitting Alexa unit and cloud gaming division

Amazon begins to cut jobs, with layoffs hitting Alexa unit and cloud gaming division

Andy Jassy, ​​CEO of Amazon.Com Inc., speaks at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle, Washington, U.S. on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

david ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon began laying off employees from its corporate and technology staff on Tuesday as CEO Andy Jassy steps up efforts to control costs.

The company notified workers in several divisions, including Alexa and cloud gaming unit Luna, that they were being laid off, according to LinkedIn posts from Amazon employees who said they were affected.

Amazon aims to cut about 10,000 jobs, mostly in retail, appliances and human resources, The New York Times reported Monday. The number remains fluid as the cuts are implemented by individual teams, according to the Times.

As of noon Tuesday, Amazon had not sent any company-wide communication about the planned layoffs, sparking frustration among employees, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named for confidentiality reasons.

Amazon representatives declined to comment.

In recent weeks, Amazon also began laying off some contract workers who worked in recruiting roles for its advertising, internal operations and Fire TV divisions, according to people with knowledge of the cuts.

One employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said Amazon told her earlier this month that she would not be renewing her contract. Last month, she was in talks to take a full-time position in Amazon’s consumer division, but her interview was abruptly canceled due to ongoing restructuring, she was told.

The Amazon Spheres, part of Amazon’s headquarters campus, right, in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, U.S., Sunday, October 24, 2021.

Chona Kasinger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jassy has aggressively cut the company’s spending in recent months as it faces a weakening economy and slowing growth in its retail business. Previously, the company announced that it would suspend the hiring of its employees, and it halted some experimental projects, as well as opted to close, delay or cancel new warehouse locations.

So far, it had managed to avoid mass layoffs by offering employees affected by project closures the possibility of being transferred to other divisions of the company.

The job cuts represent a sharp reversal for Amazon, which less than a year ago couldn’t find enough workers to keep its warehouses staffed in a boiling job market and was still in the midst of a frenzy. of hiring fueled by the pandemic. It almost doubled its workforce between the end of 2019 and the end of 2021, growing from 798,000 employees worldwide to 1.6 million.

Since then, it has shifted to slow headcount growth as consumers have returned to physical stores, and its retail business is no longer growing as quickly as it has in recent years. Amazon chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said last month that the company was seeing signs that consumers were feeling inflation.

“We’re preparing for what could be a period of slower growth,” Olsavsky said in a call with reporters following the company’s third-quarter results, which included weaker-than-expected guidance for the company. current period.

The company still plans to recruit 150,000 employees for the holiday season, the same number of workers it announced last year.

The job cuts are hitting the tech sector hard after years of runaway growth. Parent Facebook Meta last week laid off 13% of its staff, while Twitter, Shopify, Selling power and Stripe also announced discounts.

The expected layoffs would represent the biggest reduction in the company’s 28-year history. In 2001, Amazon cut 1,300 jobs, or 15% of its workforce, after the bursting of the dot-com bubble.

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