Big Tech Companies Kick Off 2024 with Fresh Round of Layoffs

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big tech layoffs 2024

Hundreds of employees have been cut from major tech corporations in the past week as big tech looks to “rightsize” with a fresh round of layoffs to start 2024. 

According to the layoff-tracking website, 48 tech companies have sliced 7528 employees since the start of the year, with many citing financial concerns for the year ahead as their main reason for the reshuffling. 

Amazon, Google, and Duolingo were among these 48 to announce layoffs, each slicing hundreds of employees across multiple departments respectively in a bid to "rightsize" for 2024. 

Amazon appears to have made the largest cut to its workforce in this latest round of big tech layoffs. 

The e-commerce giant laid off “several hundred” employees in its MGM Studio and Prime Video divisions following a review of “nearly every aspect” of the company’s business operations, according to a memo from Mike Hopkins, Prime Video’s senior vice president. 

Twitch, a live-streaming giant owned by Amazon, was also impacted by the layoffs at the e-commerce company. It has lost a whopping 40 per cent of its employees following the resignation of several top executives at Twitch over the past year.

CEO Dan Clancy said in a blog post that Twitch has “work to do to rightsize” the company, calling it “meaningfully larger than it needs to be given the size of our business.” 

Google also announced its own set of layoffs on Wednesday, which reportedly impact “hundreds” of employees across several divisions in the company.

These cuts included its engineering and hardware team as well as employees developing its voice-operated virtual assistant, Google Assistant, according to an internal email obtained by the New York Times and Semafor. 

It comes as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures at Google, which has cut approximately 12000 jobs since 2023 and has driven towards lowering expenses as it hones in on generative AI and goes head to head with OpenAI. 

A week of big tech layoffs

Along with Amazon and Google, the language learning app Duolingo also announced layoffs on Wednesday, with the company cutting 10% of its contract employees as it pivots towards AI language learning and content generation. 

It is unclear exactly how many jobs were lost, but the cuts affected teams working on dozens of language programs.

Duolingo spokesperson Sam Dalsimer confirmed the company cut around 10 percent of its contractors at the end of 2023, but he declined to provide specific numbers. The company has more than 700 full-time employees.

Discord CEO Jason Citron announced this week the platform will cut 17% of its workforc – equallying around 170 employees – in a bid to “sharpen its focus and improve the way it work together to bring more agility” to the company. 

“We grew quickly and expanded our workforce even faster, increasing by 5x since 2020,” Citron said. “As a result, we took on more projects and became less efficient in how we operated.” 

He also wrote about the need to “sharpen our focus and improve the way we work together to bring more agility to our organization.”

A year defined by layoffs 

These round of job cuts cuts come as most Big Tech companies around the industry continue their cost-cutting efforts, streamline operations, and prioritize key projects. It follows a period of mass layoffs across Silicon Valley, which resulted in several thousand job cuts in 2023. 

In those layoffs, more than 305,000 US workers lost their jobs in the first half of the year alone, with the biggest cuts coming in July when the now-bankrupt Yellow Corporation laid off all of its 30,000 employees. 

big tech layoffs
Google was just one of the Silicon Valley tech giants to announce layoffs in 2023. 

Along with Yellow were a pack of tech and manufacturing companies announcing layoffs, including Amazon, and tech giants like GoogleMicrosoft and Apple. 

But, while tech companies lean into layoffs once again this month, the total number of cuts pales in comparison to the number of employees who lost their jobs last January.

Just 48 tech companies have announced layoffs so far this month, which is a far cry from the 278 companies that sliced their workforce in January last year. 

Still, as this latest round of layoffs shows, it’s clear that 2024 is shaping up to be a year of continued job cuts for the tech industry.

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