Job Losses May Cross 200K This Week As Meta Prepares For More Cuts

KEY POINTS

  • 696 tech companies have laid off employees so far this year
  • So far, 197,985 tech workers have been displaced by the wider tech reckoning
  • Big Tech giants account for the majority of the layoffs

The wave of layoffs continues to ripple through the tech sector. The number of jobs lost will reportedly cross the 200,000 mark when Meta cuts thousands of employees in its latest round this week.

A total of 696 tech companies laid off 197,985 employees so far in 2023, according to data from layoffs.fyi.

Last week, the majority of the layoffs were in the fintech sector, which included Washington, D.C.-based Pie Insurance, investing app Stash, London-based unicorn Zepz and New York-based insurer Lemonade.

The biggest layoffs were at Oracle Cerner. Insider reported that Oracle laid off more than 3,000 employees since it acquired Cerner last year.

A former employee told the outlet that a wide range of departments were hit by layoffs, including accounting, legal and engineering units.

Meta is expected to lay off around 6,000 more people this week after it reportedly cut 4,000 jobs in April. The company’s first wave of layoffs took place in November when around 11,000 positions were eliminated.

“The third wave is going to happen next week. That affects everybody in the biz teams, including my orgs,” said Nick Clegg, Meta president of global affairs, during a meeting with employees last week.

So far in May, Shopify leads the layoff pack as it cut 20% of its workers (11,600 employees), followed by travel tech company Sabre, which announced it was laying off around 1,100 workers.

The month of January saw the largest number of tech layoffs, with 84,714 employees losing their jobs, TechCrunch reported.

Layoffs tapered off by February, with more than 36,400 jobs lost. Over 37,000 employees were laid off in March and 17,926 were hit in April.

While the list of tech companies laying off employees is expected to pass the 700-mark in the coming weeks, Big Tech still accounts for the majority of the layoffs.

In January, Microsoft announced it was reducing its workforce by 10,000, citing the economic downturn. Platformer reported the company’s January layoffs included its artificial intelligence ethics team. The same month, Google parent Alphabet announced it was letting 12,000 employees go as the company transitions its focus to AI.

Amazon reportedly laid off about 100 employees from its entertainment divisions, Amaozn Studios and Prime Video, in April.

Big tech giant Apple also gave in to the wider tech downturn when it resorted to layoffs in April. The company avoided mass layoffs while its big tech peers trimmed their workforce.

Futurist and strategic business and technology advisor Bernard Marr wrote on Forbes that AI innovations and automation may have contributed to the widespread big tech layoffs.

“The roles and job functions most affected were within HR, which accounted for 28% of all layoffs,” Marr noted. “HR is an area where some functions are being replaced by automation.”

AI guru Ben Goertzel recently predicted that 80% of jobs may become “obsolete” in the future as generative AI technology continues to evolve.

Goertzel said the rise of ChatGPT wasn’t a threat but admitted that “when AIs are obsoleting one human job after another.”

It remains to be known whether the tech layoffs will continue, but the latest data suggests layoffs are declining and the industry may gradually pick up on hiring again.

The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels
Meta’s expected layoffs this week will drive the 2023 tech layoffs total beyond 200,000.
Reuters

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