Layoffs start at Amazon as tech large cuts company and tech staff

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Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Layoffs began Tuesday at Amazon as the Seattle tech giant moved to slash potentially thousands of corporate and tech personnel from its ranks.

Reports in The Washington Post and Business Insider cited people familiar with or impacted by the layoffs. The Post reported that Amazon began communicating the layoffs to affected employees Tuesday afternoon.

Some Seattle-based employees who had been laid off turned to job sites such as LinkedIn, including Shitao Chen, a software engineer who said in a post that he had three years of experience working on Alexa AI. Dixitha Kasturi, another engineer working on an Alexa team, said 60% of her team was cut.

An engineer working on the cloud gaming service Amazon Luna posted that his team had been impacted and that “a lot of good people are looking for work.”

Layoffs are expected to target those working on the company’s Echo devices and Alexa voice assistant, retail operations, and human resources.

Business Insider reported that some workers received invitations to “mandatory” meetings with teammates, leaders and human resources personnel. The news site said employees were informed in those meetings that they would have 60 days to find a new job internally. If that effort was unsuccessful, they could take a severance package, the amount of which was undetermined.

The New York Times first reported Monday that Amazon planned to cut around 10,000 people. The move follows recent workforce reductions by other technology companies such as Meta, Twitter, Redfin, Flyhomes, Convoy, Lyft and more as companies look to cut costs amid current economic headwinds.

People familiar with the matter told GeekWire on Monday that the number that will be let go is fluid, because the decisions are being made in individual divisions. While the cuts may end up in the range of 10,000 people, there is no companywide target, the people said.

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If the job cuts impact as many workers as expected, they would be the largest in the history of the Seattle tech giant. Following a period of rapid growth during the pandemic, Amazon employs 75,000 people in the Seattle region, many of them corporate and tech workers, as part of its workforce of 1.54 million people around the world, including warehouse workers who would not be impacted.

Update: Amazon’s Kelly Nantel, director of global media relations, shared a statement with GeekWire on Wednesday.

“As part of our annual operating planning review process, we always look at each of our businesses and what we believe we should change,” Nantel said. “As we’ve gone through this, given the current macro-economic environment (as well as several years of rapid hiring), some teams are making adjustments, which in some cases means certain roles are no longer necessary. We don’t take these decisions lightly, and we are working to support any employees who may be affected.”

Lost a job? Need help finding work? GeekWire’s new recruiting service, GeekWork, can help. Reach out to GeekWork managing director Jason Greer to learn more on how we connect technical talent to amazing job opportunities. Contact: [email protected].

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