E-commerce giant Amazon is planning to fire over 10,000 employees in corporate and technical positions starting this week. According to a report published in The New York Times, the cuts would be the biggest in the company’s history and would mainly affect Amazon’s device organization, retail division, and human resources.
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Less than 1% of Amazon’s global workforce and 3% of its corporate employees would be affected by the reported layoffs. Notably, Amazon shares fell by about 2.5% on November 14.
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The report comes in the midst of mass layoffs at other technology firms. More than 11,000 employees at Meta were laid off last week, and Twitter cut roughly half of its workforce in the days after Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the company.
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As of December 31, 2021, Amazon had 1.6 million full and part-time employees, a 102% increase from the 7,98,000 reported at the end of 2019. The total number of layoffs “remains fluid,” according to The New York Times, and could change.
Amazon relies heavily on the holiday shopping season
Amazon relies heavily on the holiday shopping season, and to meet demand, the company typically increases staffing levels during this time. However, Andy Jassy, who took over as CEO in July 2021, has been in cost-cutting mode to preserve cash as the company faces slowing sales and a bleak global economy.
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The company has already made plans to halt corporate hiring in its retail division. In recent months, Amazon has terminated its telehealth service, cancelled or postponed the opening of some new warehouse locations, closed all but one of its US call centres, killed off its roving delivery robot, and shuttered underperforming brick-and-mortar chains.
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In October, Amazon released disappointing third-quarter earnings that alarmed investors and sent its shares plunging more than 13%. It was the second time this year that Amazon’s results have been sufficient to spark a double-digit percentage selloff, and it was the first time the company’s market capitalization fell below $1 trillion since April 2020.
Days after the report, the stock’s pandemic surge was almost entirely erased by the days-long selloff. The price of Amazon stock is down about 41% for the year, more than the S&P 500’s 14% decline, and it is on track to have its worst year since 2008.