According to a new report from The New York Times, Amazon plans to eliminate up to 10,000 employees this week. The move follows the news of massive layoffs at Twitter and Meta; the latter announced 11,000 layoffs last week.
Amazon‘s layoffs are likely to target the company’s devices division (which includes a slew of Alexa-powered products), human resources, and retail operations. The NYT reports that 10,000 workers would represent 3% of Amazon’s corporate ranks and 1% of its overall workforce, highlighting the company’s massive growth.
The last few indications suggest that Amazon is reconsidering how Alexa and first-party devices fit into its priorities. At the very least, CEO Andy Jassy has seemed determined to invest less in them. “We’re as optimistic about Alexa’s future today as we’ve ever been, and it remains an important business and area of investment for Amazon,” said Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser last week in response to a Wall Street Journal report that the company is “weighing changes” in the devices business. In recent years, the unit has suffered $5 billion in operating losses.
A predicted downturn in the US economy has caused tech giants to significantly slow or even halt hiring. Amazon, like Meta, saw record momentum during the early stages of the covid pandemic and was overinvested as a result of those record profits.
Amazon announced in early November that it would “pause on new incremental hires in our corporate workforce.” According to the NYT, the company recently doubled its salary cap for corporate employees.
After the fact, some companies have realized that their cuts were too deep; Twitter has reportedly asked some corporate workers to return following a high-profile firing spree that eliminated half the company. However, it continues to eliminate staff elsewhere, most recently thousands of contractors without warning.
Amazon’s layoffs are likely to be more calculated and will not necessarily be felt in the company’s upcoming product pipeline, but they will still place thousands of people at risk as the global economic downturn continues. If the 10,000 figure is correct, it will be the largest cut in Amazon’s history.