Tech job bonfire rages on as Microsoft, GitLab and others join in
Hundreds of thousands of techies looking for work, with ultimate cost to vendors not yet tallied
It was another bad week for tech professionals amid further bloodletting by an industry feeling the squeeze of inflation and higher interest rates as Microsoft, Zoom and Yahoo all dished out the pink slips.
Microsoft, which confirmed last month it intends to chop 5 percent or about 10,000 heads from its workforce, has today started to make redundant people operating in its Surface, HoloLens and Xbox teams.
The number of Microsofties being released into the wild is unclear but loquacious sorts familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that in the case of the crew behind the mixed reality hardware goggles, it is sufficient to cast doubt on whether a third generation will be built. Microsoft said it remains committed to the product set.
Job losses in the Xbox unit are said to have come from the marketing department and the Gaming Ecosystem Group.
Microsoft-owned GitHub is also cutting costs with about 10 percent of its 3,500 workers to be ditched. The code hosting platform recruited roughly 1,000 new employees in the past 22 months, and like others is now faced with something of a pandemic reckoning.
GitHub will also close all of its offices, including its San Francisco headquarters.
Not to be left out, GitLab has also confirmed it is axing 7 percent of its employee base, equating to a little more than 110 jobs. CEO Sid Sijbrandij said customers are more "conservative" in spending.
"The current macroeconomic environment is tough," he said. "I had hoped reprioritizing our spending would be enough to withstand the growing global economic downturn. Unfortunately, we need to take further steps and match our pace of spending with our commitment to responsible growth."
Earlier this week, both Dell and Zoom said they'd decided to trim their workforce to counter current business conditions. Both benefited from the pandemic but for different reasons: Dell surfed the spending boom on devices and Zoom was at the forefront of web conferencing demand.
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In addition to the cloud, devices and video meeting sectors, chipmakers are also cutting their cloth to match the slowing demand they've forecast in recent years. Intel is laying off folk in a nod to plunging shipments, Yangtze Memory is making moves on its own, and Micron is reducing its workforce by around 10 percent.
Micron is also slashing executives salaries by as much as 20 percent, according to a filing with the SEC yesterday.
Even blasts from the past are trying to keep up with the trend. Yahoo, which has dropped the exclamation mark from its branding [! – Ed], is reportedly planning to get rid of 20 percent, or 1,600 jobs, from its 8,000-employee company. For those not keeping up, 90 percent of Yahoo was sold by Verizon to Apollo Global Management in September 2021.
Vast swathes of the tech industry benefited from the pandemic as people were forced to work, learn and play at home. Many recruited heavily and, though they remain profitable, are trying to jettison overheads. In January alone, some 55,000 in IT were put out of a job, according to Layoff.fyi.
Those industry players may be gambling with more than just their short-term profits. According to research by boffins at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of South Carolina, reducing a workforce by 1 percent can cause a 31 percent rise in voluntary staff turnover the following year. ®