The month of November 2022 is already witnessing historically high numbers of layoffs from several Big Tech platforms, only halfway through the month.
Axios reports that over 23,000 tech employees have been fired across the industry in November, including from such giants as Twitter and Facebook. More mass firings could be on the way from Amazon, and many other lesser-known tech companies have also fired hundreds and thousands of employees this month.
According to a report from the New York Times, online retail giant Amazon is preparing to fire at least 10,000 employees, which would mark the largest single mass firing in the company’s history. Earlier in November, Facebook’s parent company Meta fired over 11,000 employees, while Twitter laid off 3,700 employees shortly after Elon Musk purchased the company and took it private.
Several of the major reasons reported by Axios for the mass firings include low rates and rising equity values, as well as a speedy hiring process that resulted in some companies over-hiring employees during the race for “talent” in the industry a few years ago.
The firings could also suggest a massive turning of the page in the era of tech, as such companies had previously held overwhelmingly optimistic views about the future of their business with never-ending innovation. Previously, employees for such well-known companies as Facebook and Twitter enjoyed absolute job security due to their companies’ apparently endless growth potential.
When focusing on the individual companies, Amazon’s layoffs were part of a broader “cost-cutting review,” with the majority of the firings focused on corporate roles, device development, the retail division, and the human resources department.
Facebook’s firings were solely due to the catastrophic failure of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “Metaverse,” an effort to create a virtual reality world that Zuckerberg believed would be utilized on a mass scale for business and recreational purposes. However, even as the Metaverse resulted in a far smaller userbase than originally intended, Zuckerberg’s obsessive push to keep funding it has led to disastrous losses for Meta, with the company’s market value plunging by $800 billion in just 13 months; Zuckerberg’s own net worth has dropped by an additional $100 billion over the same period of time.
And at Twitter, following Elon Musk’s takeover of the company, thousands of employees have been laid off, including the CEO and other executives, as Musk seeks to fundamentally transform the platform into a more pro-Free Speech website. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, the wealthiest man in the world, completed his purchase of Twitter in late October for $44 billion, after a lengthy negotiating period that led to a brief legal battle.
Roger Lee, who manages the layoff-tracking website Layoffs.fyi, says that the total of 23,000 employees fired in half a month is the second-highest month on record, only behind 27,000 fired in April of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If, however, Amazon goes through with its planned firing of 10,000 employees, then November 2022 will surpass that record. Lee also reports that the overall total of 120,000 tech workers fired over the course of 2022 is even greater than 2020, the previous highest year on record.
Other tech companies that have seen massive layoffs in just November alone include Salesforce and Stripe, which fired 1,000 employees each, Lyft firing 700 employees, and Opendoor firing 550 employees.