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Amazon reportedly considers laying off 10k employees

Alexa, do I have a job? Staff in corporate and technology positions in line of fire

Updated Online megacorp Amazon is the latest tech giant to be linked with sweeping layoffs following reports that up to 10,000 redundancy notices will start to be distributed to employees from this week.

Loquacious unnamed sources faimilar with the process told The New York Times that cuts are coming in corporate and technology jobs at Amazon's devices organization, which would include reductions to the Alexa team, as well as in retail and human resources.

The total number of people that could lose their job has yet to be finalized, although the indication is that 3 percent of Amazon's corporate workforce and less than 1 percent of its global headcount will be affected, equating to circa 10,000 individuals.

Amazon is renowned for having a high staff attrition rate that it maintains partly through performance improvement plans (PIPs). According to various sources, Amazon regularly "PIPs" between 6 and 10 percent of its workforce during review periods, and is known for its extremely grueling and cutthroat environment.

But in terms of actual redundancies, the looming cuts could be the largest round of layoffs in Amazon's 28-year history.

PIPs to the left of me, layoffs to the right

"Contraction" is the word of the year for the tech sector - many organizations have either reassessed their headcount in the past six months or are freezing hires as the worldwide economy stalls.

Most recently, Lyft and Stripe fired more than 10 percent of their respective staff. Salesforce also recently began laying off hundreds of employees, and Meta announced last week that it was chopping more than 11,000 people.

Then, of course, there's Twitter. The now Musk-infused social media platform waved goodbye to 3,700, equating to 50 percent of its headcount

Musk's week of chaos and layoffs at Twitter continued with more surprises this weekend, when Twitter apparently terminated a reported 4,400 of its 5,500 contract employees, all without letting internal Twitter teams know that it was happening.

One Twitter contractor, who worked as a content moderator, said she was fired over the weekend and expressed concern that content moderation on Twitter would slip as she and her colleagues were pushed out. The loss of content moderators is unlikely to please advertisers, who have continued to distance themselves from Twitter.

In one costly example, drugmaker Eli Lilly announced this weekend that it would pull advertising from Twitter after being unhappy with the company's response to an account impersonating the insulin maker. The fake account announced Eli Lilly would begin making insulin for free, and was picked up widely enough to briefly depress the company's stock price, so that $8 account may have cost Twitter millions in ad revenues.

Musk said recently Twitter was losing $4 million a day and so needed to make sweeping cost reductions to keep the wolves from the door.

Amazon isn't in that position, though the ecommerce platform and cloud biz sounded some notes of caution in its recently filed calendar Q3 earnings report.

CFO Brian Olsavsky talked of "ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties" leading some AWS customers to concentrate on "controlling costs". It isn't just customers being forced to closely inspect overheads. ®

Updated to add

Amazon's senior veep of Devices and Services David Limp has confirmed that heads will roll in his division.

"We continue to face an unusual and uncertain macroeconomic environment. In light of this, we've been working over the last few months to further prioritize what matters most to our customers and the business," he said in a message to staff.

"After a deep set of reviews, we recently decided to consolidate some teams and programs. One of the consequences of these decisions is that some roles will no longer be required. It pains me to have to deliver this news as we know we will lose talented Amazonians from the Devices & Services org as a result."

The numbers of staff facing the chop wasn't mentioned, but Limp added that "to see even one valued team member leave is never an outcome any of us want."

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