Amazon cuts hundred of jobs in rare layoff round

Amazons distinctive Seattle HQ

Amazon is cutting hundreds of corporate jobs at its Seattle headquarters, along with hundreds more around the world. A report in the Seattle Times says the layoffs are primarily focused on Amazon’s consumer retail businesses, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Amazon-owned footwear seller Zappos already laid off around 30 people last year, while last March, the parenting product subsidiary Quidsi that runs and other sites, cut more than 250 jobs.

Amazon’s Seattle base has expanded rapidly in recent years, with the headcount rising from 5,000 in 2010 to 40,000 today. Globally, the company employs 566,000 people, as of December 2017, a 66 per cent increase on the previous December – it takes a lot of people to keep those warehouses ticking over.

The report cites “several employees” as saying that the rapid growth of the last two years has left some units over budget and some teams with too much staff for their work. Amazon had implemented hiring freezes in recent months across several groups, but despite this, and the layoffs, Amazon currently has 12,500 open positions, with many in the Amazon Web Services cloud computing and Alexa software units.

Amazon has acknowledged the cuts. In a statement to the Seattle Times, it said: “As part of our annual planning process, we are making head count adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others. For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.”