Technology companies this year have been hit with global economic turbulence that is slowing growth and leading to widespread layoffs, even as some segments of enterprise spending on IT seem to be holding steady.
According to TrueUp’s tech layoff tracker, there have been 1138 rounds of layoffs at tech companies globally so far this year, affecting 182,605 people.
When global economic headwinds started picking up earlier in the year, many technology companies reacted to fears of an incoming recession by putting the brakes on hiring. The bad news is—amid rising interest rates, the ongoing war in Ukraine, high fuel costs, supply chain issues, and a decline in personal PC sales—most of those freezes have since been accompanied by job cuts, as companies look for ways to reduce operating costs.
While enterprise IT spending is still forecast to grow over the next year as companies use tech to battle expected recession, bright spots offered by enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications hasn’t been enough to completely lighten the overall picture for tech industry giants.
Exchange rates and the PC sales slump worked to slow Microsoft’s net income growth to its lowest level in five years for the September quarter. At Alphabet, September quarter revenue slowed to 6% despite a big jump in cloud sales.
The general macroecononic environment also shows some signs of affecting cloud infrastructure spending. AWS’ September revenue was up 27.5% year on year, but slower than the 33% rise for the prior quarter and 36.5% growth the quarter before that.
With the economic outlook for 2023 unlikely to fill business leaders with much optimism, it’s likely the number of job losses recorded by TrueUp will continue to grow.
Here are some of the most prominent technology layoffs the industry has experienced recently.
Aamazon: Nov. 14—10,000 people
Amazon is set to cut close to 10,000 employees, according to a Nov. 14 report from The New York Times. Though the cuts would be just a small fraction of Amazon’s 1.5 million-strong workforce, they include technology as well as corporate staff, according to the report. While Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment, its most profitable division, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has been showing signs of growth deceleration
During Amazon’s third quarter earnings call with analysts, CFO Brian Olsavsky attributed the decline to macroeconomic conditions that were forcing Amazon customers to cut down on spending.
Earlier in the month, the company sent out a note to all its employees saying that there was a hiring freeze being put in place for all Amazon corporate positions.
Zendesk: Nov. 10—350 people
In a week marred by widespread job losses in the tech sector, Zendesk on Nov. 10 announced it would be cutting its headcount in an attempt to reduce operating expenses.
According to a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the CRM software provider is laying off 300 employees from its 5,450-person global workforce. “This decision (layoffs) was based on cost-reduction initiatives intended to reduce operating expenses and sharpen Zendesk’s focus on key growth priorities,” the company wrote in the SEC filing.
The layoffs are estimated to set Zendesk back by about $28 million, primarily due to costs incurred on severance payments and employee benefits, the SEC filing showed.
Salesforce: Nov. 9—950 people
On Nov. 9, CRM software provider Salesforce announced that it would cut about 950 jobs from its global workforce, which consists of around 73,000. The announcement came less than a month after the company laid off at least 90, mostly contract, employees.
Like many tech companies, Salesforce originally implemented a hiring freeze in an attempt to avoid layoffs. However, that policy was rescinded in September and, despite experiencing a relatively successful year financially, the company has been facing pressure to cut costs since activist hedge fund Starboard Value took a stake in the company and immediately called for Salesforce to increase its margins.
Meta: Nov. 9—11,000 people
Three days after it was first rumored that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was planning to dramatically reduce the company’s headcount, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, confirmed that it was preparing to cut 11,000 jobs, impacting 13% of its global workforce.
In a statement, Zuckerberg said that the company had already sought to cut costs across the business, including scaling back budgets, reducing perks, shrinking its real estate footprint, and restructuring teams to increase efficiency.
The news came mere weeks after weak performances from Facebook and Instagram saw $80 billion wiped off Meta’s market value and its share price drop to less than a third of what it was at the start of the year.
Twitter: Nov. 3—3,750 people
Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, wasted no time flexing his newfound authority over the social media giant, firing roughly half of Twitter’s 7,500-strong employee base a week after his deal for the company closed..
According to former staff members, the job cuts left whole teams completely gutted, including its product trust and safety, policy, communications, tweet curation, ethical AI, data science, research, machine learning, social good, accessibility, and certain core engineering teams.
Musk also fired Twitter’s senior leadership alongside a number of company leaders, including the vice president of consumer product engineering. He justified the job cuts by tweeting: “Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day.” The tweet has since been deleted.
While these layoffs represent the biggest workforce cull Twitter has seen, it’s not the first time this year the company has sought to slim down its employee base. After initially implementing a hiring freeze, in July 2022 the company went on to lay off 30% of its talent acquisition team.
Ten days after the initial round of job cuts were confirmed, several outlets reported that Twitter had also eliminated between 4,400— 5,500 contract workers without notice. According to a number of news media reports, most contract employees only found out they’d been terminated after losing access to the company’s email and internal communications systems.
Stripe: Nov. 3—1,100 people
Online payments company Stripe announced it was laying off 1,100 staff, approximately 14% of its workforce. In a memo to staff written by Patrick Collison, the Stripe CEO said the cuts were necessary amid “stubborn inflation, energy shocks, higher interest rates, reduced investment budgets, and sparser startup funding.”
In 2021, the San Franciscan company became the most valuable US startup, when it was valued at $95 billion. However, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal in July this year, Stripe cut the internal value of its shares by 28%, lowering its internal valuation to $74 billion.
F5: Oct. 21—100 people
Despite seeing quarterly revenue growth of 3% year-one-year, F5, the Seattle-based application security and delivery company, announced it was cutting about 100 roles, approximately 1% of its 6,900-person global workforce.
In a statement published by GeekWire, a spokesperson for F5 said that the company was continuously evaluating how to focus resources to best meet the needs of customers. “Given the current macroeconomic environment, this week we announced changes internally that resulted in the elimination of a number of positions across the company,” according to the statement.
Microsoft: Oct. 17—1000 people
After reportedly committing to nearly double its budget for salary hikes in May in order to retain employees, Microsoft laid off close to 1,000 employees. The job cuts affected employees throughout many different levels of the company, areas of the world, and company departments — including the Xbox division, Strategic Missions, Technology Orgs, and Edge teams.
In an Oct. 17 statement, Microsoft said: “Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly. We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead.”
This latest wave of job cuts came three months after Microsoft laid off less than 1% (around 1,800) of its 180,000 workforce and removed open job listings for its Azure cloud and security groups.
Oracle: Oct. 14—201 people
Just months after Oracle acquired healthcare data specialist firm Cerner for $28.3 billion and announced a first round of layoffs, the company announced it was cutting a further 201 jobs in an attempt to find around $1 billion in cost savings.
According to its Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filed in California, the jobs cuts impacted data scientists and developers. Despite the layoffs, Oracle said its Redwood Shores campus would not be closing as a result of the job cuts.
Intel’s Habana Labs: Oct. 11—100 people
Israeli artificial intelligence chip developer Habana Labs announced it was laying off around 100 employees, approximately 10% of its total workforce.
Having been acquired by Intel in 2019 for $2 billion, the company grew its employee base from 180 to over 900 over the last three years. In a statement, the company said making “adjustments to its workforce” was a requirement for adapting to the “current business reality” and ensuring the company could “improve its competitiveness.”
The reduction in Intel’s headcount doesn’t stop at Habana Labs. Although the chip developer’s parent company is yet to confirm just how many employees will be impacted, on Intel’s third quarter earnings call, CEO Pat Gelsinger told investors, “[Intel] are planning for the economic uncertainty to persist into 2023.”
Gelsinger later confirmed to multiple media outlets that these measures will include job cuts that will affect its global employees. Intel has roughly 120,000 employees worldwide.
DocuSign: Sept. 28—670 people
A week after electronic signature company DocuSign announced the appointment of its new CEO, the company revealed it was laying off approximately 9% of its workforce to support its growth and profitability objectives and to improve its operating margin. In January, it was reported DocuSign had 7,651 employees. The jobs cuts were expected to impact around 670 of those workers.
According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), DocuSign’s restructuring is expected to incur charges of between $30 million and $40 million.
Twilio: Sept. 14—850 people
Twilio announced plans to lay off 11% of its workforce, between 800 and 900 workers from its 7,800-strong employee base.
In a letter published to Twilio’s blog, CEO Jeff Lawson called the layoffs “wise and necessary,” blaming them partially on Twilio’s rapid growth over the last several years. According to Lawson, the cuts will mostly impact “areas of go-to-market,” R&D and Twilio’s general and administrative departments.
During the pandemic, the company saw its headcount almost double as a result of an increased appetite for cloud services and a number of acquisitions, including data security platform Ionic Security and toll-free messaging services provider Zipwhip.