MarketWatch First Take: Okta joins Splunk, PayPal, IBM, SAP, Spotify, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Amazon and other tech companies making layoffs
Okta has joined Splunk, PayPal, IBM, SAP, Spotify, Alphabet, Intel, Microsoft, Coinbase, Cisco, Amazon, Salesforce, HP, Roku, Beyond Meat, Meta and Twitter in announcing major layoffs in recent months.
More than 85,000 global technology-sector employees have been laid off in since the start of 2023, according to data compiled by the website Layoffs.fyi.
Here’s a look at the list of big names across a number of sectors that have been cutting back their workforces.
said it will cut its global workforce by 5%, or approximately 300 employees, as the software maker adjusts to the current macroeconomic reality. “A workforce reduction like this is the last thing I wanted to do, and I am truly sorry,” Okta CEO Todd McKinnon wrote in an email to employees.
“We entered fiscal 2023 with a growth plan based on the demand we experienced in the prior year,” the CEO said. “This led us to overhire for the macroeconomic reality we’re in today.”
Now read: Okta CEO says layoffs were ‘the last thing I wanted to do’ as company cuts 300 jobs
McKinnon also highlighted “execution challenges” that Okta has faced. “I wish I had responded sooner, but we’re doing the best we can today to adjust to this reality,” he said.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Okta said it will incur approximately $15 million in restructuring charges in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 for future cash employee severance and benefits costs, which primarily will be paid in the first quarter of fiscal 2024.
said it will lay off about 4% of its staff, or about 325 employees, amid cutbacks in the software industry.
In a letter to employees, Splunk CEO Gary Steele said that the cuts will be mostly in North America. “This decision is another step in a broader set of proactive organizational and strategic changes that include optimizing our processes, cost structure and how we operate globally to ensure Splunk continues to balance growth with profitability through these uncertain times and drive success over the long term,” he wrote.
Also read: Splunk to lay off 4% of its staff in latest sign of software cutbacks
In an SEC filing, Splunk estimated that it would incur approximately $28 million in charges and future cash expenditures related to its reorganization plan. Splunk expected the plan to be completed, and to book “substantially all” the associated charges and cash expenditures, in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024.
PayPal Holdings Inc.
said it was cutting its global workforce by approximately 2,000 full-time employees, or 7% of the company’s total workforce. Chief Executive Dan Schulman announced the layoffs in an email to employees. “These reductions will occur over the coming weeks, with some organizations impacted more than others,” he wrote.
“While we have made substantial progress in right-sizing our cost structure, and focused our resources on our core strategic priorities, we have more work to do,” Schulman said in the email. “We must continue to change as our world, our customers, and our competitive landscape evolve.”
Also see: PayPal to lay off 7% of employees as part of cost-cutting push
PayPal said it will continue to hire “strategically” this year, spokeswoman Amanda Miller told MarketWatch.
In August, PayPal announced a cost-cutting initiative, saying it was targeting at least $1.3 billion in cost savings during 2023.
International Business Machines Corp.
said it was cutting 1% to 1.5% of its workforce. The cuts would amount to about 3,900 employees, IBM Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh said in an interview with Bloomberg, which was the first to report the job cuts.
Related: IBM posts biggest annual sales increase in more than a decade, announces layoffs
The layoffs were not mentioned on the conference call to discuss IBM’s fourth-quarter results. A spokesman said the cuts were mostly related to a spinoff and the sale of IBM’s Watson Health unit, resulting in a $300 million charge in the first quarter.
said it would be cutting almost 3,000 jobs amid a restructuring effort. When it announced its fourth-quarter results, the business-software maker said it was undertaking a “targeted” restructuring in 2023 focused on strategic growth areas and “accelerated cloud transformation.”
Also read: SAP to cut nearly 3,000 Jobs, weighs Qualtrics stake sale
The restructuring program would affect some 2,800 employees. At the end of 2022, the Walldorf, Germany-based company had 111,961 employees globally.
Silicon Foundry-equipment supplier Lam Research Corp.
said it will cut its global workforce by 7%, or 1,300 employees, by the end of March. The cuts did not include a separate reduction to Lam Research’s “temporary workforce” that saw 700 people being let go at the end of December.
Now read: Lam Research to trim 7% of workforce, increase R&D spending as memory-chip crunch hits outlook
The cuts came as Lam Research reported its results for the quarter ending Dec. 22, 2022. “Given the decline in wafer fabrication equipment spending expected in calendar year 2023, we are taking proactive steps to lower our cost structure and drive efficiencies across our global footprint, while preserving critical R&D,” said CEO Tim Archer in a statement. “With these actions, Lam is focused on accelerating our strategic priorities to capitalize on the semiconductor industry’s long-term growth prospects.”
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Spotify Technology
said it would reduce its workforce by about 6%, which translated to about 588 jobs.
Bloomberg News originally reported that the streaming music service was planning job cuts. At the end of the third quarter, Spotify had 9,808 full-time employees globally.
The Stockholm-based company estimated that it would incur approximately €35 million to €45 million ($38.1 million to $48.9 million) in severance-related charges.
Now read: Spotify to lay off nearly 600 employees
The job cuts came after Spotify slowed its pace of hiring in 2022. Last June, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told employees that the company would reduce its hiring by 25%, according to Bloomberg and CNBC reports. Spotify laid off at least 38 employees at its Gimlet and Parcast podcast units in October.
In recent years, Spotify has spent massive amounts on podcasts, which has weighed on the company’s margins. The podcast spending has yet to deliver profits, although last year Ek predicted a meaningful increase in profitability in the next couple of years.
In its SEC filing, Spotify said that, as part of a broader reorganization, the company’s chief content and advertising business officer, Dawn Ostroff, would depart.
Google parent Alphabet Inc.
has announced plans to cut approximately 12,000 jobs globally. In a blog post, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai described the layoffs as “a difficult decision to set us up for the future.”
“The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here,” he added.
Like a number of other tech giants that have made layoffs recently, such as Microsoft Corp.
and Meta Platforms Inc.
Alphabet expanded to meet demand during the pandemic era but was confronted with a different economic situation, Pichai said. “Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”
Now read: Google parent Alphabet planning to cut 12,000 jobs globally
At the end of September 2022, Alphabet had almost 187,000 employees, up from almost 164,000 employees at the end of March.
“As an almost 25-year-old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles,” Pichai said. “These are important moments to sharpen our focus, re-engineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.”
Echoing recent comments from Microsoft, Pichai also highlighted the importance of artificial intelligence. “Being constrained in some areas allows us to bet big on others,” he said. “Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry.”
Read: Google looks to shed 10,000 ‘poor-performing’ workers: report
The CEO said that the company was getting ready to share “some entirely new experiences” for users, developers and businesses. “We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly,” he added.
A 2022 report in The Information said that Google was considering cutting 10,000 jobs. The company was also looking into employing a ranking system that would eliminate the lowest-ranked “poor-performing” employees, the report said.
“Earlier this year, we launched Googler Reviews and Development (GRAD) to help employee development, coaching, learning and career progression throughout the year,” a Google spokesperson told MarketWatch in a statement at the time. “The new system helps establish clear expectations and provide employees with regular feedback.”
announced it was slashing hundreds of jobs in Silicon Valley. The cuts added to layoffs that began late last year as part of previously announced job cutting.
According to filings with California’s Employment Development Department, the chipmaker planned to cut 201 jobs at its offices in Santa Clara, Calif., which is home to Intel’s headquarters, effective Jan. 31. In late December, Intel reported 90 job cuts, during which the company confirmed that it also has put some manufacturing employees on unpaid leave.
The tech giant also added to the 111 job cuts previously announced in Folsom, Calif., at a campus dedicated to research and development. There were 176 layoffs effective Jan. 31, and an additional 167 job cuts effective March 15.
Now read: Intel cuts hundreds more jobs in California, and indicates more to come
Intel also expected more layoffs will be detailed in future filings.
In October, Intel announced plans for job cuts as it reported its third-quarter results. The chip maker said it was focused on driving $3 billion in cost reductions in 2023. “Inclusive in our efforts will be steps to optimize our headcount,” Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger said during a conference call with analysts to discuss the third-quarter results.
The chipmaker had 121,000-plus employees worldwide at the end of 2021.
joined other tech giants in the layoffs spotlight when the software maker confirmed plans to cut about 10,000 positions.
“Today, we are making changes that will result in the reduction of our overall workforce by 10,000 jobs through the end of [the third quarter of fiscal year 2023],” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote in a blog post on Jan. 18. “This represents less than 5 percent of our total employee base, with some notifications happening today.”
Now read: Microsoft confirms plans to lay off about 10,000 workers as tech companies cut back
Microsoft, he said, was aligning its cost structure with its revenue and with where the company sees customer demand. Nadella wrote that while customers had accelerated their digital spending during the pandemic, they are now looking to “optimize” their digital spending to do more with less. “We’re also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one,” he added.
The tech giant was taking a $1.2 billion charge in the second quarter related to severance costs, changes to its hardware portfolio and costs of lease consolidation as it created higher density across its workspaces.
Also see: More than 25,000 global tech workers laid off in the first weeks of 2023, says layoff tracking site
The layoffs did not come completely out of the blue. Earlier reports from Sky News and Bloomberg indicated that Microsoft was preparing to make cuts.
In the blog post, Nadella said that while Microsoft was eliminating roles in some areas, the company would continue to hire in key strategic areas. The CEO did not specify which areas will see hiring but did describe advances in artificial intelligence as “the next major wave of computing.”
Coinbase Global Inc.
announced 950 job cuts in an attempt to cut costs.
“In 2022, the crypto market trended downwards along with the broader macroeconomy,” said Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, in a message to employees on Jan. 10. “We also saw the fallout from unscrupulous actors in the industry, and there could still be further contagion.”
Also read: Coinbase to cut 950 jobs and book charges of up to $163 million
The crypto exchange said it would book charges of about $149 million to $163 million for the cuts, divided between about $58 million to $68 million in cash charge relating to severance and $91 million to $95 million in stock-based compensation charges relating to the vesting of outstanding equity awards.
The job cuts followed the company’s announcement in June that it would lay off 18% of its employees.
Cisco Systems Inc.
began previously announced layoffs, cutting nearly 700 jobs in Silicon Valley in December, according to filings with the state of California in January.
The layoffs spanned a number of departments at the networking giant and extend across various positions, including software and hardware engineering, program management, product design and marketing. According to the state filings, the number of employees at the company’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters who were affected totaled 371, while 222 jobs were being cut in nearby Milpitas, and another 80 were being cut in Cisco’s San Francisco office. The notices said employees were notified in early December and were given a choice of an effective termination date of either Feb. 1 or March 13.
In November, Cisco announced it was planning a “limited business restructuring” that would adjust the networking giant’s real-estate portfolio and affect about 5% of its 80,000-strong global workforce, or some 4,000 people.
Also read: Cisco layoffs begin with hundreds of job cuts in California and more expected
“This is about rebalancing across the board,” said Cisco Chief Financial Officer Scott Herren at the time, adding that as many jobs will be added as reduced.
“Our goal is to minimize the number of people who end up having to leave,” Herren told MarketWatch. “We will match as many with new roles at the company as we can. This is not about reducing our workforce. In fact, we’ll have roughly the same number of employees at the end of this fiscal year as we had when we started.”
kicked off the New Year by confirming more than 18,000 job cuts, more than originally expected. “Between the reductions we made in November and the ones we’re sharing today, we plan to eliminate just over 18,000 roles,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a letter to employees on Jan. 4. “Several teams are impacted; however, the majority of role eliminations are in our Amazon Stores and PXT [People Experience and Technology Solutions] organizations.”
“Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” Jassy added. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure; however, I’m also optimistic that we’ll be inventive, resourceful, and scrappy in this time when we’re not hiring expansively and [are] eliminating some roles.”
Now read: Amazon is laying off more than 18,000 workers. Morgan Stanley is looking for the company — and the tech industry — to tighten things up even more
Amazon subsequently filed notices of more than 3,000 job cuts in New York, California and the company’s home state of Washington, as required by law.
Last year the e-commerce giant confirmed plans to lay off workers in its devices and services business. At that time, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon could eventually cut about 10,000 jobs.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley had looked for Amazon and other tech companies to continue reining in costs.
announced at the beginning of 2023 that it would lay off 10% of its workforce as part of a restructuring plan.
The San Francisco-based company announced the layoffs in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 4. In addition to the job cuts, Salesforce said it planned to exit some real estate and reduce office space.
The restructuring plan is intended to reduce operating costs, improve operating margins and continue advancing Salesforce’s commitment to “profitable growth,” the company said in the filing.
Salesforce estimated that it would incur approximately $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion in charges in connection with the restructuring plan, of which approximately $800 million to $1 billion was expected to be incurred in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023.
Also read: Salesforce will lay off 10% of staff as part of restructuring
Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff said that the company grew too quickly for the current environment. “I’ve been thinking a lot about how we came to this moment,” he wrote in a letter to employees that was also filed with the SEC. “As our revenue accelerated through the pandemic, we hired too many people leading into this economic downturn we’re now facing, and I take responsibility for that.”
In 2022, Salesforce laid off hundreds of employees from its sales team, according to news reports, as the tech sector as a whole wrestled with a challenging economic environment. “Our sales performance process drives accountability,” said a Salesforce spokesperson in a statement emailed to MarketWatch in November. “Unfortunately, that can lead to some leaving the business, and we support them through their transition.”
As of February 2022, the company, which provides customer-relationship-management software, had over 78,000 employees globally.
In November, HP Inc.
executives announced plans to cut up to 10% of the company’s workforce amid what CEO Enrique Lores described as “a volatile macro environment and softening demand in the second half, with a slowdown on the commercial side.”
“Companies are delaying their refresh [sales] cycle,” Lores told MarketWatch in an interview ahead of the public release of the company’s fourth-quarter results.
Now read: HP plans to cut up to 10% of workforce as earnings forecast comes up short
HP is launching a three-year workforce-reduction plan meant to shed 4,000 to 6,000 jobs, according to Lores, with more than half of the roughly $1 billion in restructuring costs expected to be realized in the new fiscal year.
announced in November that it would cut about 5% of its workforce amid a challenging advertising landscape.
“Due to the current economic conditions in our industry, we have made the difficult decision to reduce Roku’s headcount expenses by a projected 5%, to slow down our [operating-expense] growth rate,” the company said in a brief statement, noting that about 200 positions in the U.S. would be affected. “Taking these actions now will allow us to focus our investments on key strategic priorities to drive future growth and enhance our leadership position,” the statement said.
Related: Roku to cut 5% of staff in latest signal of challenging times for ad industry
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Roku said it anticipated charges of about $28 million to $31 million related to the job cuts, mainly stemming from severance payments, notice pay, employee benefits and other costs. The company expected to take the bulk of those charges in the fourth quarter of 2022. Implementation of the workforce reductions will be mostly complete by the end of the first quarter of 2023, it said.
Video software company Kaltura Inc.
said Jan. 4 it was planning to reduce its workforce by about 11%.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Kaltura said its reorganization plan aimed to increase efficiency and productivity in response to the current macroeconomic climate. “The plan’s main objectives are to position the company for lower demand, spend, and available budgets across the company’s market segments, align the company’s business strategy in light of these market conditions and support the company’s growth initiatives and return path to profitability,” it said.
Now read: Video software company Kaltura to cut 11% of work force in restructuring
On an annualized basis, the total cost reduction from Kaltura’s downsizing was expected to be approximately $16 million.
The New York-based company said it would initially book pretax charges of approximately $1 million, primarily for severance and related costs, all of which were expected to be expensed in the first quarter of 2023. The reorganization plan was expected to be “substantially completed” in the first half of 2023, according to the SEC filing.
joined the list of tech companies making layoffs with the November announcement of a plan to cut 10% of its workforce as part of a broader push to cut costs amid a deteriorating economic environment. The cloud-based communications company’s stock jumped on news of the layoffs and of RingCentral’s third-quarter earnings, which beat analysts’ expectations.
In October, RingCentral was added to the list of “zombie” stocks compiled by equity research firm New Constructs.
Also read: RingCentral added to ‘zombie’ stocks list by equity research firm New Constructs
New Constructs, which uses machine learning and natural language processing to parse corporate filings and model economic earnings, described RingCentral as a “cash incinerator” at risk of declining to $0 per share.
Also in November, Redfin
announced another round of layoffs, with CEO Glenn Kelman saying that the company was laying off 13% of its staff, or 862 employees. The real-estate brokerage also announced the closure of RedfinNow, a service that bought homes for cash and resold them to buyers on the market.
“The housing market will get smaller in 2023,” Kelman wrote in an email to staff. “A layoff is awful but we can’t avoid it,” he added.
Now read: ‘A layoff is awful but we can’t avoid it:’ Redfin lays off 13% of staff as housing market slows down
In June, Redfin laid off 8% of its staff, citing “years” of “fewer home sales.”
Beyond Meat Inc.
made fresh job cuts in October, slashing about 19% of its global workforce. The company also issued a revenue warning amid softness in the plant-based-meat category, along with increased competition and inflation pressures. Beyond Meat said it would book a roughly $4 million one-time cash charge in the third quarter to cover the job cuts.
The cuts followed a 4% workforce reduction in August.
Related: Beyond Meat’s stock edges lower on sales drop, growing losses
The pressures on the plant-based food company continue. In November, Beyond Meat reported a big drop in third-quarter revenue, escalating losses and tepid revenue guidance.
Facebook parent Meta
also announced in November that it will cut 11,000 employees, or about 13% of its workforce, in the first layoffs in the company’s 18-year history. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has taken responsibility for the cuts, admitting to expanding the company too quickly amid a pandemic-fueled surge in revenue.
“Not only has online commerce returned to prior trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and ads signal loss have caused our revenue to be much lower than I’d expected,” he wrote in a post on the company’s public newsroom. “I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.”
Now read: Facebook parent Meta begins mass layoffs of 11,000 workers as Mark Zuckerberg says, ‘I take responsibility’
Zuckerberg wrote that while Meta would be making reductions in every area across both its Family of Apps and Reality Labs segments, some teams would be affected more than others. The cuts to Reality Labs will be closely watched for any potential impact on the company’s metaverse strategy, which is handled within the segment.
Meta’s job cuts came hot on the heels of layoffs at Twitter that affected about half of that company’s 7,500 employees. In late October, Elon Musk bought Twitter for the inflated price of $44 billion and quickly launched an effort to slash costs at the unprofitable company.
Before the layoffs hit, Twitter faced a class-action lawsuit over a lack of notice to employees.
Also read: ‘I just killed it’: Musk scraps Twitter’s gray ‘official’ label just hours after its launch
The cuts, which came just before the midterm elections, also sparked concern about the microblogging site’s ability to fight misinformation in the postelection period.
On Dec. 6, San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu told MarketWatch that he will look into the loss of janitors’ jobs at Twitter.
In November, Lyft Inc.
announced plans to lay off 13% of its workforce, or about 683 employees. The ride-hailing company’s executives described the move as a proactive step as they eye a possible recession and as they plan for the coming year.
Now read: Lyft lays off 13% of workers in second round of cuts this year, maintains financial guidance
The latest layoffs followed 60 job cuts in July; a hiring freeze through the end of the year was also implemented in September. In April 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, Lyft laid off nearly 1,000 employees and put another 288 on furlough.
Some companies confirmed their layoffs earlier in 2022. In August, Snap Inc.
announced job cuts as part of a “broader strategic reprioritization” that would see the social-media company focus on cost cuts and aim for profit and positive free cash flow. The company said it would cut about 20% of its full-time employees.
“The scale of these changes vary from team to team, depending upon the level of prioritization and investment needed to execute against our strategic priorities,” said Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel in a statement. “The extent of this reduction should substantially reduce the risk of ever having to do this again, while balancing our desire to invest in our long-term future and reaccelerate our revenue growth.”
Related: Snap stock rallies more than 10% after company confirms layoffs, launches restructuring
The Verge reported that Snap had more than 6,400 employees prior to the job cuts.
Also in August, Robinhood Markets Inc.
announced plans to cut its workforce by 23%. The company, which was a launchpad for 2021’s meme-stock phenomenon, cited a weaker economic environment and depressed trading activity.
Also read: Robinhood to lay off 23% of its workforce, with CEO admitting ‘this is on me’
In April, Robinhood cut about 9% of its workforce. At that time, CEO Vlad Tenev wrote in a blog post that the company had grown from about 700 employees at the start of 2020 to nearly 3,800.
In July, Coinbase Global Inc.
announced plans to lay off 18% of its employees, just two weeks after extending a hiring freeze and rescinding some job offers. In a blog post, CEO Brian Armstrong said the decision was made “to ensure we stay healthy during this economic downturn.”
Now read: Why Coinbase is laying off 18% of employees and what it means for crypto
The crypto exchange had expanded rapidly, from 1,250 employees at the beginning of 2021 to 4,948 at the end of March 2022. “I am the CEO, and the buck stops with me,” said Armstrong, adding that the company grew too rapidly.
Also in July, Shopify Inc.
announced plans to lay off 10% of its staff, with the e-commerce company citing an evolving business landscape. In a blog post, Chief Executive Tobi Lütke explained that, as a result of the pandemic, Shopify had bet that the share of dollars going through e-commerce rather than physical retail would permanently leap ahead by five or even 10 years. “It’s now clear that bet didn’t pay off,” he wrote. “What we see now is the mix reverting to roughly where pre-COVID data would have suggested it should be at this point.”
announced in December 2022 that it would cut about 100 jobs, mainly in sales, according to a Bloomberg report.
“As part of our ongoing and routine business prioritization, we have shifted some employees to positions that support critical initiatives and removed a small number of specific roles to balance resources against top priorities,” said Adobe, in a statement emailed to MarketWatch.
Adobe was not doing companywide layoffs and was still hiring for critical roles across the company, it said. “The investments we’re making today to drive innovation, expand our product portfolio and serve a growing number of customers will enable us to continue to drive strong growth,” Adobe added.
The company has more than 28,000 employees worldwide.
Videogame retailer and meme-stock darling GameStop Corp.
also made cuts.
Speaking during a conference call to discuss the company’s third-quarter results, GameStop CEO Matt Furlong described reductions in headcount during the back half of 2022, but did not give specific numbers. “We now have a firm understanding of the resources required to pursue opportunities in gaming,” he said.
Additional reporting by Mike Murphy, Anviksha Patel, Ciara Linnane, Levi Sumagaysay, Bill Peters, Jon Swartz and Emily Bary.