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Hiring Freeze, Mass Layoffs Plague Big Tech Amid Global Meltdown

In India, employees of edtech firms like Vedantu, Unacademy, and Byjus are facing the hit.

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The global economic meltdown is taking its toll on employment rates, even in Big Tech firms. Companies like Microsoft, Tesla, Twitter, and Meta have now been joined by Google in an announcement to slow things down when it comes to employment.

In an email to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company would be “slowing the pace of hiring for the rest of the year, while still supporting our most important opportunities,” reports Outlook.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has reportedly laid off 1 percent of its staff, or around 1,800 employees, in a “realignment” move. Hiring has also slowed down in groups working on Windows, Teams and Office products offered by Microsoft. The company, however, told Bloomberg that it would “grow headcount overall in the year ahead.”

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Twitter is also in the mix, having laid off 30 percent of its talent acquisition team last week. Tesla, having been recently sued for laying off employees without a notice period or compensation, have added on to the layoffs by disbanding 200 employees from its Autopilot division and shutting down their California office. Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an email to employees earlier last month, had stated plans to cut staff by 10 percent.

Meta has not yet conducted mass layoffs, but will be slowing down hiring, reducing its target of 10,000 people to 7,000.

Firms like Snapchat, Netflix, Spotify and Uber are also joining the fray with announcements about either layoffs or hiring slowdowns. Spotify is among the companies that grew rapidly during the early COVID-19 lockdowns, but is now choosing to cut back on hiring by 25 percent, according to an email by its CEO, due to looming economic uncertainty.

Amazon is another such company. In an earnings call with analysts, its CFO said that warehouses were currently “overstaffed” as increased online shopping during the pandemic had led to more hiring at the time.

Netflix has been having a hard time lately, with its loss of subscribers, and has also laid off 3 percent of its workforce – about 300 employees. Netflix had earlier laid off 150 staff members in May, and justifies these moves as a way to manage costs amid “slower revenue growth.”

In India, Edtech Firms Lead Layoffs

Layoffs are on the rise in India as well. Inc42 reports that 32 Indian startups have laid off 11,168 people so far. Among these are companies like Cars24, Ola, Byjus, Unacademy, Meesho, and Vedantu.

Ola laid off around 2,100 employees in 2022’s first quarter, according to The Economic Times, due to restructuring reasons, and reports have claimed that many top executives have also left the company. Byju's fired a total of around 600 employees from its edtech companies Toppr and WhiteHat Jr in June, while last month, Unacademy saw worse numbers, with it having to give the pink slip to about a 1,000 employees.

(With inputs from Outlook, DNA, IANS, CNBC, The Economic Times)

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