Amazon, an American multinational technology company, says it is planning to sack over 18,000 employees from its total workforce.
The figure, which is the largest number of layoffs in the company’s history, represents 1.2 percent of its 1.5 million employees across the globe.
Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of Amazon, announced the development in a public staff note on Thursday.
He attributed the job cuts to the “uncertain economy” and the company’s rapid hiring over the last several years.
“As I shared back in November, as part of our annual planning process for 2023, leaders across the company have been 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,” the Amazon CEO said.
“This year’s review has been more difficult given the uncertain economy and that we’ve hired rapidly over the last several years. In November, we communicated the hard 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.
“I also shared that we weren’t done with our annual planning process and that I expected there would be more role reductions in early 2023.
“Today, I wanted to share the outcome of these further reviews, which is the difficult decision to eliminate additional roles. Between the reductions we made in November and the ones we’re sharing today, we plan to eliminate just over 18,000 roles.”
Jassy said while the layoffs will be carried out across departments, it would majorly impact Amazon Stores and PXT organisations.
He added that all the affected employees will receive packages that also include external job placement support.
“S-team and I are deeply aware that these role eliminations are difficult for people, and we don’t take these decisions lightly or underestimate how much they might affect the lives of those who are impacted. We are working to support those who are affected and are providing packages that include a separation payment, transitional health insurance benefits, and external job placement support,” he explained.
According to Jassy, the announcement was not expected to be released this early but was done so after an Amazon teammate allegedly leaked the information.
“We typically wait to communicate about these outcomes until we can speak with the people who are directly impacted. However, because one of our teammates leaked this information externally, we decided it was better to share this news earlier so you can hear the details directly from me,” he said.
Jassy said the company will start informing affected staff from January 18.
In November last year, multiple outlets had reported that Amazon had planned to fire around 10,000 employees.
The company later confirmed the layoffs but it didn’t disclose how many employees would be affected.