Tech layoffs 2022: Amazon reportedly plans to cut 10,000 jobs

The largest job cuts in the company's history.
Ameya Paleja
Amazon campus in Palo Alto
Amazon campus in Palo Alto


Jeff Bezos founded Amazon is looking to lay off around 10,000 employees or three percent of its workforce, sources have told The New York Times. The job cuts are expected across technology, retail, and human resource management roles.

Amazon joins the list of other technology companies that have begun to trim their headcount as the fear of an incoming recession is looming large. Elon Musk-led Twitter announced a 50 percent layoff for its staff, while Mark Zuckerberg's Meta announced last week that it would lay off more than 11,000 employees.

Last week, Interesting Engineering also reported how Amazon earned the unenviable title of becoming the first publicly traded U.S. company to lose more than $1 trillion of its market cap this year. Amazon's job cuts are likely the largest in the company's history and are taking place under CEO Andy Jassy, who assumed office in July 2021.

The trim at Amazon

Although Amazon is yet to publicly announce the layoffs, the trimming of expenditures at the company began as soon as Jassy replaced Bezos at the helm of affairs. Jassy, who was previously in charge of the cloud computing business at Amazon, has been looking to reduce Amazon's expenses and began by paring back warehouse expansion that had accompanied the pandemic.

During the past few months, Amazon has pulled back or shut down its lesser-known services such as Amazon Care, a primary and urgent healthcare service that did not find many takers, and, a subsidiary that sold sewing supplies for three decades, the NYT report said.

The strength of hourly staff at the company has already been reduced by 80,000 people in the months between April and September, and now a freeze on hiring for corporate and retail roles has been put into effect.

Amazon's outlook for the holiday season

The news of a massive layoff comes just ahead of the holiday season, when Amazon usually is known to increase its headcount to meet the demand. That the company is ready to let go of employees prior to the busy season is a signal that it does not expect the demand to rise any further.

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Last month, the company reported disappointing numbers in its third-quarter earnings call after sales figures dropped considerably as compared to the pandemic highs. The change in buyer behavior post the pandemic could mean that Amazon might just be acting on the swell of the pandemic years through these layoffs.

According to a CNBC report, Amazon had 798,000 employees at the end of 2019 but recorded a 102 percent increase by December 2021 as its full and part-time employee numbers rose to 1.6 million.

The job cuts are also expected to affect the technology offerings from Amazon, such as Alexa and Echo, that at one point employed 10,000 engineers. These products have been very popular with millions of devices sold but are low-margin offerings that were supposed to promote other services like voice shopping, which hasn't picked up.

The absolute number of layoffs is still fluid, the NYT report said, but at 10,000 could account for three percent of corporate employees, still less than Twitter and Meta's layoffs.

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