Google, eBay, Amazon lay off workers | Age Information


Google logo on a building

Google is one of many tech companies that has laid off workers this year. Photo: Shutterstock

Google has laid off around 1,000 employees across a number of divisions, as numerous tech companies kick off 2024 by announcing significant job losses.

According to layoffs.fyi, which tracks job losses at tech companies, there have been more than 13,000 job cuts at 72 companies in the first three weeks of this year alone.

Google's parent company Alphabet confirmed this week that it had scrapped a “few hundred” roles across its hardware, core engineering and Google Assistant teams, equating to at least a thousand job losses, as Semafor reported.

In an internal memo to staff, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said the company was “removing layers to simplify execution and drive velocity in some areas”.

“We have ambitious goals and will be investing in our big priorities this year,” Pichai said in the email.

“The reality is that to create the capacity for this investment, we have to make tough choices.”

He also warned that there may be more job losses to come this year.

“Many of these changes are already announced, though to be upfront, some teams will continue to make specific resource allocation decisions throughout the year where needed, and some roles may be impacted,” Pichai said.

It comes after Google laid off 12,000 employees early last year as part of an overcorrection from rapid growth and hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic, a common reason put forward by tech companies making layoffs in recent years.

Hundreds of employees working on the voice-activated Google Assistant product have been sacked, with a similar number of roles in the company's knowledge and information products team also cut.

Google is looking to include new generative artificial intelligence technology into its products and announced plans to use its own generative AI chatbot Bard that “extends beyond voice, understands and adapts to you and handles personal tasks in a new way”.

Wider job cuts in the tech sector

Numerous tech firms have opened the new year by announcing significant job cuts, as they continue to deal with potential over-hiring during significant growth during the pandemic that has not continued.

eBay will shed 1,000 jobs or just under 10 per cent of its total workforce as the organization looks to become more “nimble”.

It will also be laying off a number of contractors “over the coming months”.

This was despite eBay posting a profit of $2 billion ($US1.3 billion) in the last quarter.

The company said there is still a “need for change” and that “there is more we can do to ensure our success”.

The job cuts will enable eBay to “make decisions more quickly” and position itself for “long-term, sustainable growth”, the company said.

The company also admitted it had hired too rapidly during the pandemic.

“While we are making progress against our strategy, our overall headcount and expenses have outpaced the growth of our business,” he said.

Messaging platform Discord this month laid off 170 employees, equating to 17 per cent of its staff, while Twitch announced 500 job cuts, with a 35 per cent reduction in its staff.

Tech and retail giant Amazon has also laid off “several hundreds” of its employees working in its Prime Video division and MGM studios.

The company said this was to “reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing our investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact”.

Riot Games, the developer behind popular esports game League of Legends, also recently announced it would be laying off 11 per cent of its global workforce, or 500 people.

A post-COVID rebalancing

There were major tech job losses this time last year too, with most of the world's biggest tech firms laying off tens of thousands of employees.

Facebook parent company Meta initially laid off 11,000 workers in late 2022 before announcing a further 10,000 job losses in early 2023, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg labeling 2023 the “year of efficiency”.

Locally, Australian tech firm Atlassian cut 500 jobs in early 2023 just months after it launched a recruitment drive, saying this was about a “rebalancing of resources” rather than being financially driven.

And ASX-listed accounting software giant Xero shed 800 jobs early last year, equating to 15 per cent of the organization's workforce.

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