What do Amazon’s layoffs mean for DC tech?
Twitter. Amazon. To throw Microsoft and Meta and you have a bingo card nearly full of layoffs at big tech and social media companies that have left thousands of tech workers with “Open to Work” on their LinkedIn pages.
Last week, it was revealed that one such company – Amazon – would be laying off 10,000 employees, or around 3% of its workforce. In the DC area, the company has approximately 5,000 employees, built its second headquarters and established its East Coast hub for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Northern Virginia.
Along with the layoffs, voice robot reported that the business will also close Alexa atmosphere and probably Alexa Health and Wellness, as well. Layoffs have been reported to Alexa Games, Alexa Communicationthe Moon game service, Automatic Alexa, Alexa Skills Kit, Alexa speech, Alexa Guard, Alexa Proactive Experiences, Alexa Routines, Alexa Video, Alexa Marketing and Device Design Group.
At this time, it’s unclear what the latest development means for the DMV. Amazon did not respond to questions about the number of employees affected locally, what impact this will have on HQ2’s plans, and whether or not to rehire those made redundant at a later date. But at the very least, for local tech workers who have been laid off in this round or another layoff in the industry, the job market looks a little re-landscaped.
Martine De Voe worked as an HR Business Partner for Amazon in 2020 and 2021 before leaving to take up a role at Snapchat, where she was fired in September. While the Gaithersburg, Maryland resident has a few different theories about the mass layoff, she largely thinks the company is itself ‘right-wing’ following huge demand starting in 2020 and a dip. later.
Still, it’s news that’s at least highly unusual, if not troubling for regional tech workers, because Amazon has always been a stable place for those employees.
“Amazon has always been one of the only places to hire. People knew, “Oh, I can always go to Amazon and get a job, Amazon is always hiring,” DeVoe said. Technically. “Amazon has never done a massive layoff like what they are doing now.”
Sources including DeVoe reported that Amazon is also sending out volunteer release packages that include severance packages. But she said staff members were given no advance warning, with many only finding out about it through media reports.
There was a singular, if small, warning shot. Earlier this month, Amazon released a statement saying it was suspending hiring of the company’s workforce (which it said it has already done at a few of its businesses). This break, the statement from the senior vice president of people and technology experience Beth Galetti said, is expected to continue over the next few months.
“We face an unusual macro environment and want to balance our hiring and investing while being mindful of this economy,” Galetti wrote.
What happens afterwards?
As the end of the year and 2023 approach, many predict that the layoffs are not over. robin gasterthe CEO of Incumetry and guest researcher at George Washington University Institute of Public Policyexpects them to particularly hit the retail and device sides, as well as companies like Alexa.
Amazon, he said, “desperately needed to weed out underperforming segments to clean up localized red ink,” and needed to become more profitable outside of AWS. However, the author ofBehemoth, Amazon Rising” thinks the recent layoffs in the tech sector are more the result of specific mistakes than a general upheaval in the market.
“It’s actually more Amazon-centric than it sounds,” Gaster said. “And you could argue that many of the big layoffs are the result of company-specific issues rather than a general downturn, although it’s pretty clear that the massive hiring spree based on endless growth is over. “
DeVoe agrees and is even optimistic that this could be a good turn for some people. Moments like these, she pointed out, often lead to entrepreneurship; Someone who had considered starting their own software company might finally have the opportunity.
But for those who aren’t trying to become founders, she still thinks there’s potential in the tech industry. With Amazon’s local operations, in particular, there are still HQ2 expectations to consider. By 2030, the company has pledged to hire at least 25,000 employees and will receive $550 million in government incentives if it succeeds. The tech giant can get another $200 million from the state if it hires 37,850 people by 2035. In other words, there’s plenty of room for long-term growth.
“The market is going to turn around at some point,” DeVoe said. “It will probably get worse before it gets better. But I really think technology is still the place to be.