Tech companies are feeling the heat – rough economy, lingering pandemic woes, and maybe some questionable decisions – causing them to trim the fat (aka lay off employees). We saw it in 2022, and things sadly got worse in 2023. Now, in 2024, it’s like someone hit the fast-forward button on job cuts.
Keeping track of who’s getting the axe is a full-time job, so we’ve compiled a list of all the major tech layoffs in the last year.
GitLab, a pivotal player in the DevOps (development and operations) arena, powers the operations of tech giants such as NVIDIA and T-Mobile. However, a decline in business among its clientele has prompted the company to make some tough decisions. In response to shrinking business prospects, GitLab is implementing workforce reductions, affecting approximately seven percent of its employees, or roughly 114 individuals. CEO Sid Sijbrandij attributed this measure to the prevailing economic challenges, indicating that customers are adopting a more cautious stance towards software investments. Despite previous efforts to reallocate spending, GitLab finds itself grappling with these ongoing challenges.
While DocuSign is recognized by many for its online document signing services, it is not immune to the challenges posed by an unforgiving economic landscape. In a mid-February announcement, the company revealed plans to reduce its workforce by 10 percent. Although the exact number of affected employees was not disclosed, DocuSign had a workforce of 7,461 employees at the beginning of 2022. The majority of the job cuts are concentrated within DocuSign’s global field organization.
Amidst the pandemic recovery and a challenging economic climate, PC manufacturers have faced significant setbacks, with Dell experiencing considerable hardship. The company recently announced a workforce reduction of five percent in early February, amounting to approximately 6,650 employees. Dell’s decision followed a harsh fourth quarter marked by a steep decline in computer shipments, estimated at 37 percent. Despite prior cost-saving initiatives, Dell deemed additional measures necessary to realign its operations and navigate the challenges ahead.
As remote work culture peaked during the pandemic, Zoom became an essential tool for many. However, with a shift towards returning to physical offices, the company is adjusting its workforce accordingly. Zoom announced in February that it would be reducing its personnel by approximately 1,300 employees, equating to 15 percent of its workforce. CEO Eric Yuan acknowledged that the company had not hired “sustainably” during its rapid growth phase. These layoffs are deemed necessary to navigate the challenges posed by the current economic climate. Additionally, the management team is taking proactive steps beyond mere apologies. Yuan has volunteered to reduce his salary by 98 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, while other executives will experience a 20 percent reduction in their base salaries and forfeit their fiscal 2023 bonuses.
Despite conducting layoffs in 2022, Rivian’s efforts to improve its financial position have been insufficient. In February, the fledgling EV brand further reduced its workforce by six percent, affecting approximately 840 employees. Striving to achieve profitability remains a priority for the company, exacerbated by production challenges stemming from supply chain disruptions. CEO RJ Scaringe emphasizes that the job cuts are aimed at enabling Rivian to concentrate on the most impactful areas of its business.
Meta initiated significant workforce reductions in 2022, cutting 11,000 jobs, but its cost-cutting measures continued into March 2023 with plans to lay off an additional 10,000 employees. The initial layoffs targeted the recruiting team, followed by reductions in the technology teams in late April and the business groups in late May. In an effort to streamline operations, the parent company of Facebook aims to eliminate management layers and redistribute responsibilities to some leaders previously reserved for lower-level employees. Meta anticipates a prolonged hiring freeze until after completing its restructuring efforts by the end of 2023, suggesting that any growth in staff numbers may be delayed.
As anticipated, luxury electric vehicle manufacturers are indeed vulnerable to economic challenges. In March, Lucid Motors announced plans to reduce its workforce by 18 percent, impacting approximately 1,300 employees. The company continues to struggle to meet production goals, and these layoffs are aimed at addressing evolving business demands and enhancing productivity. The cuts are comprehensive, affecting executives and contractors alike.
Even cloud storage companies are feeling the impact of the current economic conditions. In April, Dropbox announced plans to reduce its workforce by 500 employees, constituting approximately 16 percent of its team. Co-founder Drew Houston attributed the layoffs to a challenging economic environment, the maturation of the business, and the imperative to capitalize on the increasing interest in artificial intelligence (AI). While the company remains profitable, its growth rate is decelerating, prompting the need to reassess certain investments deemed unsustainable by Houston.
In April, Lyft took additional measures following its layoffs of 13 percent of staff in November 2022. The ridesharing company announced a further reduction in workforce, with 1,072 employees, or approximately 26 percent of its headcount, being affected. This decision comes shortly after an executive reshuffle that saw former Amazon executive David Risher replace CEO Logan Green. Risher emphasized the need for Lyft to streamline its operations and prioritize the needs of both drivers and passengers. This shift in strategy contrasts with Green’s previous stance, who advocated for increased spending to enhance Lyft’s competitiveness against Uber.
During the peak of the pandemic, Shopify’s e-commerce platform served a crucial role. However, the Canadian company is now downsizing as the urgency subsides. In May, Shopify implemented layoffs affecting 20 percent of its workforce and divested its logistics business to Flexport. Founder Tobi Lütke framed the job reductions as essential to refocus on Shopify’s core mission and recognize the necessity for greater efficiency in the post-pandemic economic landscape.
SoundCloud, after implementing significant layoffs last year, continued its restructuring efforts this May. The streaming audio service announced plans to reduce its workforce by 8 percent as part of its strategy to achieve profitability by 2023. Sources cited by Billboard suggest that the company aims to reach profitability by the fourth quarter of the year.
In June, Spotify announced further layoffs, this time affecting 200 positions within its podcast unit, following its initial layoff plans in January. This decision reflects a strategic shift towards prioritizing podcasts by allocating resources more efficiently to support creators and shows. Additionally, the company is consolidating its Gimlet and Parcast production teams to form a revamped Spotify Studios division.
Facing financial challenges, Sonos announced in June its decision to reduce costs in order to improve its profitability. The company disclosed plans to lay off approximately 7 percent of its workforce, amounting to around 130 jobs. Additionally, Sonos intends to divest real estate assets and reassess its program spending. CEO Patrick Spence attributed these measures to ongoing challenges, including declining sales.
In July, Google sparked controversy when its contracting partner, Accenture, terminated 80 Help subcontractors who had recently voted to establish the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA. Accenture cited cost-cutting as the rationale behind the decision. Although the company stated its acknowledgment of the subcontractors’ right to unionize, the affected teams accused Google of retaliating against labour organizers.
CD Projekt Red
In July, CD Projekt Red, the creator of Cyberpunk 2077, announced plans to lay off approximately 100 employees over the next few months, representing roughly nine percent of its workforce. The layoffs will continue until the first quarter of 2024. CEO Adam Kiciński openly stated that the company was “overstaffed” for an organizational restructuring aimed at managing its expanding product roadmap, which includes new Cyberpunk and Witcher titles.
Epic Games announced a significant reduction in its workforce, with 16 percent of employees being laid off, amounting to about 830 individuals. CEO Tim Sweeney addressed employees in an open letter, stating that the company’s expenses exceeded its earnings by a considerable margin, leading to the conclusion that layoffs were necessary. Prior to this decision, Epic Games had already implemented cost-cutting measures such as freezing hiring and reducing marketing expenditures.
LinkedIn announced its second wave of layoffs for the year, affecting approximately 668 employees spanning various departments including engineering, product, talent, and finance. This follows a previous announcement in May when LinkedIn revealed plans to lay off 716 individuals and discontinue its job search app in China. With these two rounds of layoffs combined, LinkedIn is expected to reduce its workforce by nearly 1,400 employees in 2023.
In early November, Ubisoft terminated the employment of 98 individuals from its Montreal office, which houses the company’s largest in-house development team. The majority of those affected worked in business administration and IT roles. According to the company’s latest quarterly earnings report, Ubisoft has reduced its workforce by approximately 1,000 positions over the past year, a combination of layoffs and not replacing employees who departed voluntarily.
Amazon made significant workforce reductions in its gaming division, eliminating 180 positions, as reported by reputable news outlets like Reuters and Bloomberg. Among those affected were the entire team dedicated to Crown, an Amazon-supported Twitch channel. Additionally, in November, Amazon downsized its Alexa workforce by terminating several hundred employees. In the field of artificial intelligence (AI), the company is perceived to have lagged behind competitors such as OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT.
Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, announced in a pre-holiday press release that the company will be reducing its workforce by another 17 percent through layoffs.
Twitch, owned by Amazon, is undergoing significant layoffs, affecting approximately 35 percent of its workforce, totalling just over 500 employees. CEO Dan Clancy emphasized in a note to staff that the organization’s size exceeds what is necessary for its current business operations.
On the day Twitch, owned by Amazon, announced its decision to lay off 500 employees, Variety reported that Amazon would also be cutting “several hundred” positions at Prime Video and MGM Studios. Later in January, Amazon further reduced its workforce by 5 percent, specifically targeting staff involved in its Buy with Prime program.
Google has initiated another round of cost-cutting measures, resulting in the layoffs of hundreds of employees across various departments, including Assistant, hardware, and ads business divisions. Additionally, Google has undertaken a reorganization of its Pixel, Nest, and Fitbit divisions, leading to the departure of Fitbit’s co-founders. CEO Sundar Pichai disclosed in an internal memo that further layoffs would occur throughout the year. Meanwhile, parent company Alphabet has also trimmed jobs from its X moonshot lab.
Reportedly, Discord has laid off 170 employees, representing 17 percent of its workforce. According to a memo, CEO Jason Citron cited overstaffing from the hiring spree in 2020 as the rationale behind the layoffs.
Microsoft initiated a workforce reduction of 1,900 positions spanning Activision and Blizzard, signalling a sombre start to the gaming industry’s new year. The layoffs contribute to a total of 6,000 job cuts recorded across the sector in 2024 thus far.
Snap is undertaking another round of workforce reduction, this time slashing its headcount by 10 percent, equivalent to approximately 540 employees. The company cited the need to “flatten hierarchy and foster in-person collaboration” as the rationale behind the layoffs.
DocuSign has reduced its workforce by six percent, with the sales and marketing departments bearing the brunt of the cuts. Bloomberg reports that the company’s headcount stood at 7,336 employees by the end of 2023.