Amazon will be laying off more than 18,000 employees as part of its previously disclosed workforce reduction, according to CEO Andy Jassy in a public staff note on Wednesday. The layoffs, which will be communicated starting on January 18, will largely affect the company’s e-commerce and human resources departments.
These cuts represent approximately 6% of Amazon’s approximately 300,000-person corporate workforce and mark a significant shift for a company that recently raised its base pay ceiling in order to attract more talent. With over 1.5 million total workers, including warehouse staff, Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the United States, behind only Walmart.
In his note, Jassy explained that the annual planning process has been challenging due to the “uncertain economy” and the rapid hiring that the company has undergone in recent years. Amazon has been preparing for potential slower growth as inflation prompts businesses and consumers to reduce their spending, and its stock price has declined by 50% over the past year.
The company began laying off staff from its devices division in November, with a source reporting that the target was around 10,000 job cuts. The tech industry has seen over 150,000 job losses in 2022 (as of Jan. 5th, 2023), according to tracking site Layoffs.fyi, this number is still growing. Salesforce announced on Wednesday that it plans to eliminate approximately 10% of its staff, which numbered nearly 8,000 as of October 31.
Amazon’s fortunes have taken a sharp turn, transitioning from a business that was essential during the pandemic for delivering goods to people stuck at home, to a company that is overbuilt for demand. The company’s layoffs now exceed the 11,000 cuts announced last year by Facebook‘s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s note followed a Wall Street Journal report stating that the reduction would be more than 17,000 jobs. Jassy stated that Amazon decided to disclose the news before informing affected staff due to a leak. The company is still required to file certain legal notices for mass layoffs and plans to provide severance pay. Jassy assured that Amazon has survived “uncertain and difficult economies in the past and will continue to do so.”