Amazon says job cuts have started and will go on into 2023

Chief executive Andy Jassy says the e-commerce company will weather the economic uncertainty

Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy. Reuters
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Amazon has confirmed that job cuts, which had been widely predicted, have commenced at the company amid a “challenging economy”.

Previous reports in the media stated that the redundancies could affect as many as 10,000 employees.

However, a note from chief executive Andy Jassy on the role eliminations at the Seattle-based company's website did not mention a figure.

“Leaders across the company are working with their teams and looking at their workforce levels, investments they want to make in the future, and prioritising what matters most to customers and the long-term health of our businesses,” Mr Jassy said.

“This year’s review is more difficult due to the fact that the economy remains in a challenging spot and we’ve hired rapidly in the last several years.

“Yesterday, we communicated the difficult decision to eliminate a number of positions across our Devices and Books businesses, and also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in our People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organisation.”

He added that there will be more reductions and the decisions on those will be shared “early in 2023".

Mr Jassy has been chief executive since July 2021 when he took over from Jeff Bezos.

He described the decision to cut staff as the “most difficult we've made” since then.

As of December 31, Amazon had more than 1.6 million full and part-time employees and had recently said it would freeze hiring for the next few months.

It is the latest US company to make deep cuts to its employee base to brace for a potential economic downturn.

Last week, Facebook's parent Meta Platforms said it would cut more than 11,000 jobs, or 13 per cent of its workforce, to rein in costs. Others to announce cuts include Twitter, Microsoft and Snap.

“Amazon has weathered uncertainty and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” Mr Jassy said.

“We have big opportunities ahead, both in our more established businesses like Stores, Advertising, and AWS, but also in our newer initiatives that we’ve been working on for a number of years and have conviction in pursuing (eg, Prime Video, Alexa, Kuiper, Zoox, and Healthcare).

“The key will be to do what Amazon does best — obsess over customers and invent relentlessly on their behalf — and if we do that, we should all be very optimistic about Amazon’s future. I know I am.”

Amazon.com became the world’s first public company to lose a trillion dollars in market value earlier this month, when its market value fell to about $879 billion from a record close at $1.88 trillion on July 2021.

The e-commerce company posted a more than 9.3 per cent drop in third-quarter net income and issued disappointing fourth-quarter revenue guidance.

Updated: November 18, 2022, 9:46 AM
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