The list of companies done with their round of layoffs has expanded substantially, and we’ve already witnessed quite a number of large-scale tech layoffs in 2024. More than thirty thousand employees have already been laid off and it appears that many more might be gearing up to join the parade in the upcoming months. A large number of these layoffs have occurred as cost-cutting measures and companies get their workforce in order, but it’s hard to deny that the increasing presence of AI in the workforce has something to do with the matter as well. We ended 2023 with reports that Google layoffs were predicted for this year, the company alone was ready to potentially fire 30000 employees due to its more efficient use of AI in the workplace but we haven’t seen such excessive numbers of layoffs from the company just yet.
Tech Layoffs 2024: A List That We’d Rather Not See Grow
One would hope that an acquisition would mean a company with big funds and bigger plans to put its new team to work but such is rarely the case. Despite the much-celebrated Activision Blizzard buyout, the Microsoft layoffs that came as a result of it were quite a letdown to the 1900 employees who lost their jobs at the gaming division of the company. The company’s unfortunately framed “execution plan” came as a disappointment to employees and senior officials like Blizzard president Mike Ybarra was also seen leaving the company at the same time the news was announced. Microsoft was far from the only company making big moves in this direction.
According to Layoffs.fyi, the top-tier information source on all things layoff-related, 130 tech companies have had layoffs in 2024 with approximately 32576 workers dismissed from their jobs. While some companies have only had a small round of layoffs that don’t sound as bad, such as Wattpad laying off 20 workers or Instagram laying off 60 workers, it probably isn’t that simple of a deal for those employees who are now collectively looking for a job in a very passive job market. The Amazon layoffs have also been initiated in January, with 5 percent of the “ Buy with Prime segment” being let go with 60 days of pay. In addition, Amazon-owned Twitch let go of 500 workers, or 35 percent of its staff, stating that the organization had considerably outpaced the size of the business itself. If you thought that was it, then Amazon’s Audible also indulged in the era of job cuts, laying off 100 employees in order to get “leaner and more efficient” in order to move forward.
PayPal announced it would be laying off a whopping 2500 employees, reducing its workforce by 9 percent. The company had already pared its workforce down by 7 percent last year, firing 2000 employees. The well-loved, frequently berated platform Discord also faced its share of layoffs, with 17 percent of its workforce being let go. CEO Jason Citron admitted that the company had grown its workforce too rapidly, increasing by five times since 2020. Discord was one of the market winners during the pandemic and similar levels of success are likely hard to match up to now.
Unity Software also filed a report with the SEC on cutting down 25 percent of its workforce or 1800 employees—the fourth round of cuts since 2022—calling it a “company reset” to refocus their business. Cloud Software Group, which owns Citrix and Tibco, reportedly let go of 12 percent of its workforce just a year after the 15 percent workforce cuts. Channel Futures heard from a spokesperson that 500 of the 1000 who lost their jobs could be returning in an “outsourced capacity.” Salesforce layoffs also caused a considerable disturbance to the tech industry with 700 employees or 1 percent of its workforce being laid off.
Prop-tech company Frontdesk took the tech layoffs in 2024 so far it fired all 200 of its employees over Google Meet in an attempt to raise more capital according to TechCrunch. Similarly, InVision, a promising New York-based startup that was founded in 2011, will reportedly be shutting down by the end of the year, 31 December 2024. As a result, all of its employees are set to lose their jobs. Solar company Aurora laid off 20 percent of there is truly no way to predict where the trend will strike next. The most recent victims? The employees at Snapchat. In an SEC filing, parent company Snap announced that 10 percent of its workforce, around 500 workers, are going to be affected by the layoffs at the company in order to support future growth at the company. February is already off to a shaky start.
Consequences of AI in the Workforce
The list of companies doing the layoffs trend has grown longer for multiple reasons, but the era of AI has been baring its fangs at the workforce to a degree. Many tasks that previously required an entire task force to conduct are being done much more quickly and efficiently by generative AI tools, making it an appealing option for many companies. Duolingo’s adoption of AI in the workforce resulted in 10 percent of its contract workers being laid off. The company was very frank in its admission that AI was making it easier to provide language tools and learning avenues for users in comparison to what the employees could generate, and while all the job cuts at Duolingo were not associated with AI, there were enough to cause some concern for employees.
German-based software company SAP also recently announced layoffs in order to “increase its focus on key strategic growth areas, in particular Business AI.” In order to achieve this, the company opted for a company-wide restructuring program that affected 8000 employees. Not all the employees have been laid off—some of them will be re-skilled and trained in order to better suit the roles and tasks that the company aims to generate. SAP is one of the few companies that doesn’t intend to cut down on their workforce size, stating that they will likely build back up to the same number of employees by the end of the year.
Even Humane, a company that is set to finally bring its AI Pin to the market in March, reportedly cut down on 4 percent of its workforce. The company has been very quiet about its pre-order numbers and market status right now so we have no way to know how the company predicts its launch will go. AI is clearly not the answer to every issue.
The Tech layoffs in 2024 have only just begun but the incredibly overwhelming numbers don’t bode well for the industry. Many are hopeful that things will cool down once these big players get their big snips out of the way but there’s no way to know for certain just how this approach will trickle down through the industry. Amazon layoffs, Microsoft layoffs, Salesforce layoffs—we’ve already heard from some of the biggest names about their plans for the year and AI does seem to feature heavily in them in one way or another. Will we really make advances significant enough to push their adoption to the next stage or will the AI race soon slow down? We shall have to see.