A fresh round of layoffs in Amazon brings total job cuts to 27,000 in four months

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said March 20, 2023 he was cutting 9,000 more jobs from the online retail giant’s workforce, following the 18,000 that were axed in January. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP)

A fresh round of layoffs at Amazon brings total job cuts to 27,000 in four months

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  • Amazon says it concluded its OP-2 this past week and it means about 9,000 more layoffs in the next few weeks.
  • The latest layoffs will primarily impact Amazon’s cloud computing, human resources, advertising, and Twitch live-streaming businesses.

After going on a hiring spree during the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon is undergoing the most extensive layoffs in the company’s history. The downsizing began late last year after the e-commerce giant’s global workforce reached more than 1.6 million by the end of 2021. The cuts, which started in November and extended into January, impacted 18,000 employees from its retail, devices, recruiting, and human resources groups.

Little did anyone know Amazon was still working on its layoffs. Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon, shared in a memo yesterday that the company had just concluded the second phase of its operating plan (OP-2) this past week, and that it has led them to realize that they would need to eliminate about 9,000 more positions in the next few weeks.

For context, the tech giant observes a twice-annual planning process dubbed OP-1 and OP-2. “As part of our annual planning process, leaders across the company work with their teams to decide what investments they want to make for the future, prioritizing what matters most to customers and the long-term health of our businesses,” Jassy noted.

That said, he shared how most Amazon businesses added a significant headcount during the past several years. “This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole,” he said. However, given the current economy, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, Amazon has chosen to be more streamlined in its costs and headcount

“This initially led us to eliminate 18,000 positions (which we shared in January), and as we completed the second phase of our planning this month, it led us to these additional 9,000 role reductions (though you will see limited hiring in some of our businesses in strategic areas where we’ve prioritized allocating more resources),” Jassy highlighted.

The first round of layoffs primarily affected Amazon staffers in its retail, devices, recruiting, and human resources groups. The latest round will mainly impact Amazon’s cloud computing, human resources, advertising, and Twitch live-streaming businesses, Jassy said in his memo. He also explained that these role reductions were not announced in the first round in November because Amazon did not want to rush layoffs.

“The same is true for this note, as the impacted teams are not yet finished making final decisions on precisely which roles will be impacted. Once those decisions have been made, we will communicate with the impacted employees (or, where applicable in Europe, with employee representative bodies),” Jassy said. Amazon’s goal is to complete the process by mid to late April.

While the company aims to operate slim this year, Jassy said he remains optimistic about the company’s “largest businesses,” retail and Amazon Web Services, as well as other new divisions that continue to warrant investment. In a memo to Twitch staffers on Monday, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy confirmed that the Amazon-owned live-streaming platform was letting go of some 400 employees.

“Like many companies, our business has been impacted by the current macroeconomic environment, and user and revenue growth has not kept pace with our expectations,” Clancy wrote. “In order to run our business sustainably, we’ve made the very difficult decision to shrink the size of our workforce.”

The second round of layoffs in Amazon came a week after Facebook parent Meta said it was laying off an additional 10,000 workers on top of the 11,000 job cuts announced late last year.