Other companies are licking their chops at finally being able to hire tech workers.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.
Amazon made the news today on reports based on sources that it would be laying off up to about 10,000 full-time employees, less than 1% of its global workforce of 1.5 million; after Meta said it would lay off 11,000 people, about 13% of its workforce; after Twitter laid off 50% of its 7,500 employees globally and, in a second wave this weekend, cancelled 4,400 to 5,500 contractors. This comes after months of small-scale layoffs in “tech” – and “tech” these days is anything that does part of its business online, from used-car dealers (Carvana) to taxi enterprises (Lyft).
But where are these layoffs?
For example, Twitter. It has offices around the globe. Its 50% announcement included its staff in India. It had over 200 employees in India, and over 90% were laid off.
Then there are H1-B visa holders. Tech employs large numbers of them. Twitter did not specifically address that, but Meta did. They have only a certain amount of time to find another sponsoring employer, and if they cannot find one, they will lose their visa status and have to leave the country.
Twitter also laid off 784 workers in San Francisco, where it’s headquartered, according to Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act filings with the State; it laid off 106 employees in San Jose; and 93 in Santa Monica.
According to WARN act fillings with Washington state on Monday, 208 Twitter employees were laid off in Seattle. The layoffs are scattered all around the US and the globe.
The estimated 4,400 to 5,500 contractors that were cut this weekend were based all over the world, including India.
Twitter adopted work from home as the permanent approach. Employees who used to live in San Francisco before the pandemic might have moved to inland California or other states. Others might have turned into digital nomads, working in some tropical paradise.
Meta too had switched to working from home for many employees. Of those 11,000 employees that Meta is laying off, 362 will be from an office in San Francisco, according to Supervisor Matt Dorsey, citing a WARN Act notice that the City had received.
In total, about 2,564 of the 11,000 global Meta layoffs will be in the Bay Area, according to WARN Act notices with the California Employment Development Department.
That’s were those jobs were located. But maybe not where the people are located. It doesn’t mean that these employees were actually living in the Bay Area. Some might have moved inland California or to other states, and some might be working out of Mexico or Thailand or wherever.
Amazon: After hiring 800,000 in two years, laying off 10,000
Amazon is an ecommerce retailer and brick-and-mortar retailer with its Whole Foods Market stores; it’s also a tech company because of its cloud division, AWS. But it’s not laying off at AWS.
According to the report, first published by the New York Times, and then by others, including The Wall Street Journal that then cited their own sources, the cuts will mostly be corporate staff, not warehouse staff. A big part of the layoffs will be in Amazon’s retail division, human resources, and in its devices division, which makes the Alexa smart speakers among other gadgets, and has 10,000 employees. The retail division had already imposed a hiring freeze in October.
Since Q1, Amazon has been whittling down its massive 1.5 million global workforce through attrition by roughly 78,000 jobs. And attrition came easy, given the massive churn in the labor force in general, the huge number of people who quit jobs to take better jobs, and the huge number of job openings that companies were aggressively trying to fill. Job-hopping has been richly rewarded: While the pay of job-stayers increased by 7.7%, the pay of job-changers jumped by 15.2% in October, according to the ADP National Employment Report.
And the layoffs of up to 10,000 people at Amazon are minor compared to the 800,000 people Amazon hired helter-skelter during the pandemic boom – from the end of 2019 through the end of 2021 – the biggest boom ever for ecommerce. And it’s just that some sanity is returning to management.
Over the past few weeks, Amazon has already been cancelling contractors that work in recruiting, according to sources cited by the WSJ.
Some sanity returns to the most contorted job market ever.
There is now a long list of “tech” companies that have been laying off people. Mortgage lenders have been laying off since late last year when their business of refinance mortgages began to vanish [read, Mortgage Lender Woes]. If you’re looking for a job in mortgage banking, it’s going to be tough. But there are lots of other jobs available in finance.
And layoffs don’t mean that these people won’t be working. Many of them get flooded with inquiries by recruiters – though the jobs may not be as highly compensated as what they had at Meta or Twitter or Amazon.
There are lots of non-tech companies that are aggressively looking for tech workers: Automakers that are hiring like maniacs for their new EV divisions, industrial companies, smaller companies, etc. They have been muscled aside by Big Tech with its huge salaries and massive stock compensation packages.
These less glamorous companies have lots of tech jobs they need to fill, and had trouble filling, and now they’re breathing a sigh of relief because they have a better chance of being able to hire talent, though those former Amazon, Twitter, and Meta workers may complain about how inferior those jobs would be compared to their former jobs. But that’s the kind of thing that brings some sanity back to this most contorted job market ever.
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