Amazon is planning to layoff around 10,000 employees starting this week as the last few quarters haven't been profitable. Amidst the buzz of ongoing recent layoffs by giants like Twitter, Meta, Microsoft, and Intel, among others, employees at Amazon are on edge wondering what might happen next.
As news platforms put out stories of mass layoffs one after the other, employees are having to wait for the notification no one wants to see, that too just before the holiday season starts amid a worsening employment scenario. Reports indicate that Amazon is the latest to plan to lay off around 10,000 employees starting this week as the last few quarters haven't been profitable. This comes after similar announcements by Twitter, Meta, Microsoft, and Intel, among others.
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While Twitter employees got messages while on their way to the office to return and wait for their "fate", employees of Amazon are anxious and taking to various platforms to gauge and get clues.
An employee from one of the analytics teams of the company working from Hyderabad told CNBC-TV18.com that one of the analytics teams in his office was told a week back to remain alert for anything.
“The managers asked them to increase visibility so that the higher management is aware that this team keeps working,” said the employee, who has been working for Amazon for six years.
An employee in Amazon's tech and design team at the Hyderabad office told CNBC-TV18.com: “I was to move to the US in January. Now, I don’t know.”
Amazon is said to be laying off about 10,000 people — one of the biggest retrenchments in the e-commerce sector and the largest in Amazon's history. But since Amazon is a mega employer, in percentage terms the layoff is likely to represent just 1 percent of the total workforce. As per reports, the job cuts will target the corporate and technology workforce, the devices group, including the one responsible for the Alexa voice assistant, along with the retail division and human resources.
What are the speculations?
One bit of information getting shared by people within the company and confirmed by an employee in the recruitment department at Bengaluru states that layoffs might happen in the devices group, and there are chances of whole teams being sacked.
The employee told CNBC-TV18.com that people have been chatting non-stop on an anonymous community app for the workplace Blind. Blind, which operates in the US, is a platform for employees where there are private groups to discuss workplace issues anonymously and also public feeds. When CNBC-TV18.com scanned Blind, it found out that a week ago, one user had posted that “Amazon senior leadership is doing a thorough strategic analysis of different business and mega layoff is coming”. This indicated that the layoff plan had been going on for some time.
“The goal is to narrow down the long-term focus and cut the number of businesses that are losing money or have a huge cost overhead. Some projects and products will be cut completely,” added the post.
Another user had posted that over the weekend, many layoff posts emerged on the Amazon private Blind channel. The user said that over a few weeks, Amazon SDMs (Software Development Managers) have been publicly discussing PIP quotas on Slack channels, and the ones in PIP are likely to be laid off.
According to an Amazon employee who has worked in the firm for over four years in the coding department, every year, Amazon ranks their employees of the same level against each other, TT = top tier, HV = High Value, and LE = Least Effective. This is done based on the overall performance in the company.
Further, 10 percent of employees every year go as Least Effective. This is a precursor to PIP or the Performance Improvement Plan. Using this plan, your manager will try to help you improve, so you are no longer labelled as LE.
“From what I have seen, employees who get into PIP are usually fired rather than retained,” the coding department employee said.
Another user on Blind pointed out that they are under immense stress. "For a month, teams are being dissolved. Employees are being asked to shift within the company to other teams as failing to do so might result in pink slips."
Recently, it was also in the news that Amazon laid off the entire Robotics team a week ago. Sources from the company told Analytics India Magazine.
Many users on Blind who claim to be Amazon employees have also posted that employees who work with the device Alexa are likely to be affected by the layoff. The same was also reported last week by Wall Street Journal. “As part of the cost-cutting review, Amazon’s leadership is closely evaluating the Alexa business,” said the report.
All these are anonymous posts by employees claiming to be working at Amazon.
The anxiety and uncertainty
“Right now, no one knows what will happen but waking up to this news was not good. I hope we get some clarity soon,” said one employee working with the firm's tech team for six years.
Meanwhile, another employee added that "he saw this coming". The employee said many verticals in the company had been on a hiring freeze for the past month, and amidst all the recent layoffs and the announcements of Amazon top management doing frequent meetings on revenue had prepared him for the layoff.
"I am honestly scared. There is so much going on in social media. Till now, I had just heard about the layoffs. Now it might happen to me,” another employee told CNBC-TV18.com.
First Published: IST