The 19 Biggest Tech Layoffs of the Year... So Far

Photo:  Andrey_Popov (Shutterstock)
Photo: Andrey_Popov (Shutterstock)

Tens of thousands of tech employees in jobs previously thought to be secure and high-paying have had to pack their bags in recent months. They’re seeking out new positions as a downturn in the wider economy hits the tech industry especially hard. SoundCloud, one of the leading music streaming platforms favored by emerging artists, added its name to the growing list of struggling companies this week, reportedly cutting up to to 20% of its staff. Since the beginning of the year, Crunchbase estimates some 44,000 workers in the tech industry have lost their jobs. Unemployment claims across the U.S. economy are at an eight-year high.

Hiring freezes and layoffs have impacted just about every corner of the tech industry, from young Web3 hopefuls to established steaming giants and just about everything in between. Tesla, Netflix, Coinbase, and Robinhood have all announced layoffs in recent months, citing reasons ranging from rising inflation to a disastrous crypto market. There are signs those downturns are heading for Big Tech giants as well.

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Here are some of the largest tech layoffs of 2022... so far.

Tesla Laid Off 200 Autopilot Employees

Photo:  Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

It’s a stressful time at Tesla. The company was already under a federal investigation for crashes linked to its semi-autonomous vehicles, and then its eccentric CEO decided, seemingly out of nowhere, that we wanted to aquire Twitter. That impulse buy attempt ended up driving Tesla’s stock price down.

In the middle of all that drama, the company announced it would move to axe 200 of its 350 employees working on Autopilot, the seeming crown jewel of Tesla that Musk has said is critical to the company’s long-term growth. Tesla completely shut an entire San Mateo, California office in the process. The majority of these employees were reportedly low-wage workers working to analyze Autopilot’s massive collection of real-time driving data through data labeling and other techniques.

TikTok Cuts U.S. Workforce

Photo:  Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)
Photo: Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)

TikTok has emerged as one of the biggest winners of Facebook’s continuous spiral toward social media hell and has overall managed to stave off some of the biggest pains felt by the tech industry’s downturn. That doesn’t make it immune to layoffs though.

Last month, Wired cited five sources who claimed TikTok had begun laying off an unspecified amount of workers in its U.S. office. Workers in the company’s EU and U.K divisions were also reportedly told to brace for similar actions. As part of the alleged larger restructuring, TikTok reportedly put previous plans to expand some teams on hold.

In a statement sent to Wired, a TikTok spokesperson said there are some roles in the company that have “shifted in focus,” but disputed the characterization of the moves as a “company-wide restructure.”

Coinbase Axed Over 1,000 Workers

Photo:  Leon Neal (Getty Images)
Photo: Leon Neal (Getty Images)

Coinbase was one of dozens of crypto companies blindsided in recent months by the cryptocurrency collapse. Though Coinbase hasn’t had to file for bankruptcy, like other crypto firms, it has had to significantly lighten its staff load. Back in June, Coinbase laid off 18% of its total staff, around 1,100 workers, citing a looming recession, the crypto winter, and its own overly optimistic growth projections.

“Our employee costs are too high to effectively manage this uncertain market,” CEO Brian Armstrong said at the time. “The actions we are taking today will allow us to more confidently manage through this period even if it is severely prolonged.”

Netflix Laid Off 450 Employees in Two Months

Photo:  Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)
Photo: Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)

For several years, Netflix, the company that first cracked the television streaming code, was an unstoppable growth machine. That was, of course, before Dinsey+, HBO Max, Apple TV, Hulu, and the seemingly a trillion other “[insert old media corpse] Plus” competitors joined the field. Netflix’s subscriber count has slowed down, and its business has taken a hit. The company announced the inevitable in May, revealing it would move to cut 150 employees or roughly 1.3% of its workforce.

Things have only gotten worse since then. About a month after Netflix’s initial layoffs the company announced another set of cuts, this time impacting 300 employees, or 4% of the company’s total workforce, according to The Guardian. Now, in a desperate effort to stop the bleeding of its more than 200,000 dearly departed subscribers, Netflix is apparently considering welcoming advertising to its platform. Welcome back to the early 2000s y’all.

Twitter Cut 30% of its Talent Acquisition Team

Photo:  Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Images)
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Images)

Twitter employees, already drained from dealing with the on again, off again, attempts by the world’s richest person to acquire the company (and tank Twitter’s stock in the process) were faced with yet another stress point last month. In early June, the company moved to lay off around 30% of its talent acquisition team. Twitter hinted at the potential for rough water earlier in the year when it froze most hirings and backfills.

Shopify Laid Off 10% of its Workforce

Photo:  Bennett Raglin (Getty Images)
Photo: Bennett Raglin (Getty Images)

Though the world’s leading online retailer, Amazon, has so far managed to weather the tech downturn relatively well, the same can’t necessarily be said for its smaller competitor, Shopify. In late July, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke announced the company would lay off 10% of its staff, roughly 1,000 workers, following a period of explosive pandemic growth.

Shopify benefited immensely from a sudden shift towards ecommercce propelled by covid lockdowns and evolving shopping patterns. Like many companies, Shopify went on a hiring spree, expecting that level of ecommerce to outlive the pandemic. That’s not exactly playing out the way Shopify expected.

“Ultimately, placing this bet was my call to make and I got this wrong,” Lütke wrote. “Now, we have to adjust. As a consequence, we have to say goodbye to some of you today and I’m deeply sorry for that.”

Robinhood Cut Nearly 1 in 3 Staff Members

Photo:  Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)
Photo: Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)

The self-described “democratized finance” app at the center of last year’s so-called meme stock frenzy has struggled to recover ever since its disastrous IPO, which Bloomberg estimated was among the worst debut for any company of its size. Now, in 2022 the company’s employees, whom executives refer to as “Robinhooders,” are feeling the pain.

In late April, CEO and founder Vlad Tenev announced the company would cut around 9% of its workforce following a period of “hyper-growth,” in 2020 and 2021. It turns out those cuts were a sign of what was to come. In the first week of August, Tenev wrote another blog post, this time announcing a much larger layoff affecting 23% of the workforce. The dramatic cuts came just hours after the New York State Department of Financial Services announced it had fined the company’s cryptocurrency division for “significant anti-money-laundering, cybersecurity, and consumer protection violations.”

Lyft Cuts Around 60 Corporate Employee

Photo:  Kelly Sullivan (Getty Images)
Photo: Kelly Sullivan (Getty Images)

Though the vast majority of Lyft’s drivers come and go, layoffs have still managed to touch the company’s corporate seats. Last month, Lyft said it would lay off around 60 jobs in its rental division and will reportedly discontinue service where it offers long-term car rental, Reuters reported.

Vimeo Cuts 6% of Its Workforce

Photo:  Martin Bureau (Getty Images)
Photo: Martin Bureau (Getty Images)

Video hosting giant Vimeo added its name to the tech layoff dogpile in mid-July with its CEO Anjali Sud announcing the company had moved to cut 6% of its total workforce. In a blog post, Sud cited “challenging economic conditions,” that were expected for the foreseeable future as the main reason for the layoffs. The cuts came after months of slowed hiring at the company.

“While we’ve intentionally taken action across other expense areas first, it’s become clear that we also have to look at our largest area of investment, our team,” Sud wrote.

A Vimeo spokesperson reached out to Gizmodo after publication and argued the company’s name shouldn’t be included in this list, in part, because the company laid off less total employees than other larger tech firms. The spokesperson said the company is still currently hiring for roles and claimed the layoffs were intended to help the company become more “strategically sound.”

OnlyFans Cuts an Unspecified Number of Employees

Photo:  Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Images)
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Images)

At the start of August OnlyFans, the service largely responsible for an upsurge in paid subscriptions for sexual content, said it would lay off an unspecified number of employees citing a move to “reshape certain teams,” per Insider. The layoffs came as somewhat of a surprise, considering a company executive, just weeks earlier, said the company wasn’t experiencing the type of subscriber slowdown from giants like Netflix.

The move comes after the company tried and failed last year to pivot away from sexually explicit content. That attempted move was met with criticism from OnlyFans content creators, who felt they were being burned by a company they’d played a critical role in making relevant and profitable.

Cameo Laid Off a Quarter of Its Staff

Connor Wood and Cody Ko attend Big Game Weekend Kickoff Concert at the Cameo Villa on February 12, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California
Connor Wood and Cody Ko attend Big Game Weekend Kickoff Concert at the Cameo Villa on February 12, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California

Oh, Cameo. When your friend’s birthday is moments away and you still haven’t come up with a gift, where else can you go to pay for a 30-second shout-out from a D-list celebrity? Unfortunately, it seems like that business model might not have a terribly long shelf life.

Earlier this year, the company, whose lineup has at times influenced Snoop Dog, Caitlyn Jenner, and even Donald Trump Jr, announced it would lay off around a quarter of its staff. The layoffs, which CEO Steven Galanis described as a “course correction,” came after the company went on a bit of a hiring spree to meet increased demand during the pandemic. Like so many other companies on this list though, that brief pandemic era bump turned out to be short-lived.

Soundcloud Is Laying Off Up to 20% of Staff

Photo:  Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Images)
Photo: Lionel Bonaventure (Getty Images)

While the biggest names in music streaming have so far managed to avoid layoffs, the same cannot be said for the smaller, but comparatively more artist-friendly platform SoundCloud. On Wednesday, according to Billboard, CEO Michael Weissman emailed staff alerting them of layoffs impacting up to 20% of the company. A rep for the company reportedly confirmed the cuts and said the company is undergoing a “significant” transformation.

“Today’s change positions SoundCloud for the long run and puts us on a path to sustained profitability,” Weissman wrote in his email to staff. “We have already begun to make prudent financial decisions across the company, and that now extends to a reduction to our team.”

iRobot Lays off 10% of Staff After Amazon Acquisition

Photo:  Douglas McFadd (Getty Images)
Photo: Douglas McFadd (Getty Images)

The first week of August was a doozy for Roomba developer iRobot. The robotics company struck a deal with Amazon to acquire the company for $61 per share, in a deal valued at nearly $1.7 billion, shocking both commentators and some antitrust experts. On the same day, however, the company also announced it would lay off 10% of its staff.

iRobot revealed the layoffs—which, intentionally or not, were buried under the acquisition news—during its second-quarter earnings report. iRobot said it was in the process of restructuring its operations, meaning around 140 of iRobot employees would lose their jobs. Despite the odd timing, iRobot told robotics blog The Robot Report that Amazon was not involved in the layoffs.

Snap Will Lay Off Around 20% of Its Workforce

Photo:  Michael Kovac (Getty Images)
Photo: Michael Kovac (Getty Images)

Following months of public financial struggles, Snap finally came forward with a bombshell. In an August 31 memo, CEO E​​van Spiegel told staff the company would cut its workforce by about 20%, or more than 1,000 workers. Spiegel cited bleak forward-looking revenue projections and said the major restructuring was necessary to “ensure Snap’s long-term success in any environment.” The company had undergone rapid expansion, nearly doubling since March 2020.

“We must now face the consequences of our lower revenue growth and adapt to the market environment,” Spiegel said.

The writing’s been on the wall for Snap. In the spring, the company said it would slow hiring after its stock plunged nearly 40% in a single day. Months later, in the company’s Q2 earnings, it recorded its weakest ever quarterly sales growth in its six years as a public company. Like other large internet companies, Snap’s suffering stems in larger part from a larger downturn in digital advertising revenues plaguing the tech industry.

Patreon Cuts 17% Of Its Workforce

Photo:  rafapress (Shutterstock)
Photo: rafapress (Shutterstock)

In September, content creator membership platform Patreon added its name to the growing list of companies burned after over-investing during the pandemic. In a letter to staff on Tuesday, Patreon CEO and co-founder Jack Conte said the company would cut 17% of its workforce, or around 80 workers, from its Go-to-Market, Operations, Finance, and People teams. Conte said the company accelerated its operations during the pandemic, due in part to the rising number of people turning to online content creation amid lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, and set up a new operating plan to support that growth. Though some analysts predicted that the boom would sustain itself post-pandemic, the opposite has happened.

“As the world began recovering from the pandemic and enduring a broader economic slowdown, that plan is no longer the right path forward for Patreon,” Conte said. “I take full responsibility for choosing that original path forward, and for the changes today, which will be very difficult for our team.”

In addition to the layoffs, Conte said Patreon will consolidate its marketing team, restructure its Creator Partnerships efforts, and reduce the size of its operations and recruiting functions. The layoff news came less than one week after the company laid off five employees in its security team. One of the laid-off workers claimed those layoffs represented the entirety of the security team, though Patreon objected to that description in a statement sent to Gizmodo.

Peloton to Lay Off Around 500 Employees in Bid to “Save” The Company

Photo:  Ezra Shaw (Getty Images)
Photo: Ezra Shaw (Getty Images)

Talk about a turn of the tides. Peloton, the flashy home fitness darling that blossomed during the pandemic, is now fighting for survival. In its fourth round of layoffs this year, Peloton on Thursday told The Wall Street Journal it would cut around 500 employees or 12% of its workforce. Peloton said this round of layoffs represents the final move in its larger restructuring plan. The cuts, according to a memo to staff from CEO Barry McCarthy seen by CNN, were necessary to “save Peloton.” McCarthy told the journal he’s giving the company six months to turn the ship around. If that fails, McCarthy said Peloton might not be able to continue as a stand-alone company.

The most recent layoffs touched multiple areas of the company but will reportedly be felt the most in the company’s marketing department. Once the layoffs are complete Peloton, will have around 3,800 employees worldwide, That’s less than half the total staff it employed during the same period last year.

Peloton, like other companies listed here, made massive investments during the pandemic on the backs of explosive growth. Wavering demand, supply chain shocks, and changing late pandemic consumer behavior, however, have exposed the short-sightedness of those efforts.

Flipboard Lays Off Nearly a Quarter of Staff

Declining digital ad revenues and a shaky economic horizon forced major news aggregator Flipboard to cut nearly a quarter of its entire staff last week. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue confirmed the layoffs in recent Axios report. The layoff effect 24 workers, which amounts to 21% of Flipboard’s workforce.

“Yes, we restructured due to the bad economy and tough outlook for the digital ad business,” McCue told Axios. Flipboard launched 12 years ago with the vision of becoming the, “one place to find the stories for your day,” amid a growing cacophony of options exploding during the early mobile economy.

Much has changed since 2010 though. On the curation side, Big Tech backed aggregators like Google and Apple News have come to dominate the space and threaten smaller services like Flipboard. The wavering digital advertising space also continues to take a toll on a wide swath of tech firms including Meta and Snap. In the latter case, declining digital advertising revenues forced Snap to lay off 1,000 of its staff.

Microsoft Laid Off Less than 1,000 Workers

Photo:  Stephen Brashear (Getty Images)
Photo: Stephen Brashear (Getty Images)

Even Microsoft can’t avoid tech layoffs. On Monday, October 18, the company reportedly moved to cut less than 1,000 employees spread out across multiple divisions of its business and various regions according to an Axios report.

For now, specific details explaining the reason for the cuts remain sparse. The layoffs come three months after Microsoft reportedly moved to cut other jobs impacting around 1% of their company as part of a broader “strategic realignment.” Microsoft did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment but told Axios it plans to continue investing in its business. Microsoft did not deny the layoffs occurred.

“Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly.” a spokesperson said. “We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead.”

Still, Microsoft’s cuts come as somewhat of a shock. While other tech giants like Meta and Google have telegraphed potential cuts for months and even encouraged their own under performing employees to walk out the door, Microsoft remained relatively quiet on the issue. On paper, Microsoft wasn’t as susceptible to the effects of a worsening digital advertising market, and it appeared, at least, that it hadn’t over-extended itself with unusual investments and mad hiring during the pandemic like some other firms.

Zillow Sends 300 Workers Packing

Screenshot:  Zillow
Screenshot: Zillow

The online real estate and marketing giant Zillow reportedly laid off around 300 of its staff on October 26 according to a TechCrunch report. The layoffs came just around a year after the company issued a substantially larger layoff affecting around 2,000 employees, or around a quarter of its staff, in November 2021.

Sources speaking with TechCrunch said the October 2022 layoffs primarily impacted staff on the Zillow’s Offer advisors, PA sales and back-end staff at Zillow Home Loans and Zillow Closing Services. A Zillow spokesperson confirmed the layoffs in an email to Gizmodo.

“As part of our normal business process, we continuously evaluate and responsibly manage our resources as we create digital solutions to make it easier for people to move. This week, we’ve made the difficult—but necessary—decision to eliminate a small number of roles and will shift those resources to key growth areas around our housing super-app,” the spokesperson said. “We’re still hiring in key technology-related roles across the company.”

Meta Puts All New Hiring on Hold

Photo:  Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Layoffs have left their nasty mark on just about every corner of the tech industry this year. Well, almost every corner. So far, the industry’s biggest legacy names like Google, Amazon, and Apple have managed to skirt by relatively unscathed, but there are signs that’s changing. This week Meta, once amongst the most valuable companies on Earth, announced a company-wide hiring freeze.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped the news during a company-wide Q&A with staff in late September, according to Bloomberg. In addition to the hiring freeze, Zuckerberg said teams should expect budget cuts, even amongst those still growing. The CEO reportedly told staff to expect less overall staff at the company next year. Overall, Bloomberg notes, the belt-tightening amounts to the first major budget cuts in Meta’s 18-year history.

The budget cuts don’t come as a surprise. Back in July the company, which just burned $10 billion on a metaverse that doesn’t exist, said it would slash hiring of new engineers by around 30%. Around that same time, a senior executive sent out an email to managers telling them to “move to exit,” poor-performing employees. And while layoffs haven’t happened yet, Zuckerberg’s signaled they are a possibility and even tried to encourage some lower-performing employees to do the dirty work for him.

“I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is okay with me,” Zuckerberg said in a leaked Q&A. “Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.”

Amazon Announces Corporate Retail Hiring Freeze For Remainder of 2022

Photo:  Philippe Lopez (Getty Images)
Photo: Philippe Lopez (Getty Images)

Arguably no single company benefited as directly from the pandemic economy as mega retailer Amazon. The company went on a vast hiring spree in 2020 and in the years since has spent at least $5.6 billion acquiring MGM Studios and iRobot. In early October, however, the company showed signs of a slowdown. In an announcement first reported by The New York Times, Amazon said it’s implementing a hiring freeze in its ritual business.

The company reportedly told its recruiters to close open job positions and cancel a number of recruiting activities. Amazon’s hiring freeze will reportedly stay in effect for the remainder of 2022.

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