Amazon plans to lay off thousands of employees as soon as this week: Reports

The retail giant lost S$4.1 billion in the first nine months of 2022.

Zi Shan Kow | November 15, 2022, 07:05 PM

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Around 10,000 employees could be laid off at Amazon as soon as this week, in what is likely to be the biggest job cut in the company’s history.

Layoffs in devices, retail and HR

The cuts are likely to target Amazon’s devices organisation which includes the Echo smart speakers and digital assistant Alexa, as well as its retail division and human resources, reported The Business Times, which cited sources "familiar with the matter".

Amidst a souring economy, this is one of a series of layoffs in major tech companies like Shopee and Twitter.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, said last week that it would cut over 11,000 jobs, or around 13 per cent of its workforce.

According to The New York Times, Amazon's 10,000 number represents roughly three per cent of its corporate employees and less than one per cent of its global workforce of more than 1.5 million.

Amazon had its most profitable period on record during the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw it doubling its workforce in two years.

More than 800,000 employees were hired between end-2019 and end-2021, mostly to work in warehouses which were experiencing a surge in online purchases, reported the Wall Street Journal.

However, the tech giant charted its slowest growth rate in early 2022. This was a result of shoppers returning to pre-pandemic habits.

Amazon is losing billions

To adapt to this, Amazon reduced its head count by nearly 80,000 from April to September, reported NYT.

It also froze hiring in some teams and stopped filling open positions in its core retail business this year.

Amazon previously said it identified roles that are non-essential in some sectors and has worked to help these staff members find new roles.

According to WSJ, Amazon reported a total of US$3 billion (S$4.1 billion) in net losses for the first nine months of this year.

This follows Amazon's net income of US$33 billion (S$45.1 billion) in 2021 and US$21 billion (S$28.7 billion) in 2020.

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