Just when it seemed like the wave of layoffs might be subsiding, several major corporations have thrown the job market into disarray by announcing large-scale workforce reductions, affecting thousands of employees. While the motivations behind these actions vary, with some companies aiming to reduce costs and others restructuring for future growth, one thing is clear: the era of mass layoffs has returned.
This resurgence puts employees in the unenviable position of having to decide whether to hold onto their current jobs or embark on the uncertain journey of job hunting, causing anxiety and uncertainty among the workforce. Among the notable companies that have recently declared job cuts are industry leaders such as LinkedIn, KPMG, Rolls-Royce, Stack Overflow, and Coal India. These announcements signal a challenging and turbulent period ahead for the workforce, as they grapple with the tough choices and emotional turmoil that come with the spectre of potential job loss.
LinkedIn to cut 668 jobs
On Monday, LinkedIn unveiled its latest workforce reduction, impacting around 668 positions within its engineering, product, talent, and finance divisions. This move comes as a response to the company's persistent pattern of sluggish year-over-year revenue growth, which has extended for eight consecutive quarters.
As per Microsoft's quarterly revenue report published in July, the company has been grappling with sluggish revenue growth, registering only a 5 per cent increase in the second quarter. Interestingly, during this period, the company's membership has continued to steadily expand each quarter for the past two years.
In a bid to revitalise its revenue, Microsoft has articulated its intent to enhance its operational efficiency and emphasise critical initiatives. The recent layoffs announced by LinkedIn are in alignment with the company's strategic plan for the fiscal year 2024.
“Talent changes are a difficult, but necessary and regular part of managing our business. The changes we shared with our team today will result in a reduction of approximately 668 roles across our engineering, product, talent and finance teams,” said linkedIn in its official blog post.
The recent workforce reductions at LinkedIn, amounting to 3 percent of the company's employees, are in addition to the 10,000 job cuts that Microsoft had previously announced in both January and July. These cuts reflect the company's response to a decline in overall revenue growth in recent months. Consequently, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, has taken steps to curtail costs company-wide and elevate revenue as a top priority.
KPMG to cut 100 jobs
KPMG, the accounting firm, is reportedly considering a reduction of approximately 100 positions within its deal advisory business in the United Kingdom, according to Reuters. This downsizing is expected to affect approximately 6 per cent of the 1,700-strong team working in KPMG's deal advisory division in the UK. The decision appears to stem from decreased client demand.
The initial report about job reductions within KPMG's deal advisory team came from The Financial Times. In a prior September report, the same publication revealed that KPMG was planning to lay off 2.3 per cent, which equates to 125 consultants, from its UK workforce. The company had already disclosed its intention to implement layoffs that would affect 5 per cent of its US workforce back in June.
According to The Financial Times, KPMG has emerged as a frontrunner among the Big Four accountancy firms in implementing job cuts as a response to the prevailing global economic conditions. Carl Carande, Vice Chair of KPMG's US advisory business, clarified that the workforce reductions were deemed necessary to "more closely match our workforce with the current and expected market demand."
KPMG, like its major accounting firm counterparts such as EY, Deloitte, and PwC, confronted challenges stemming from the decline in merger and acquisition activities, which has had an adverse impact on its deal advisory business.
Rolls-Royce to cut 2,500 jobs
Rolls-Royce, the prominent British engineering company, is poised to undertake a significant workforce reduction, with approximately 2,500 employees slated for layoffs. This strategic move is part of a cost-cutting initiative led by the company's new CEO, Tufan Erginbilgic, reported Reuters. The job cuts represent about 6% of the total workforce.
“We are building a Rolls-Royce that is fit for the future. That means a more streamlined and efficient organisation that will deliver for our customers, partners and shareholders,” said Erginbilgic, reported Guardian.
During the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Rolls-Royce, like several other companies, initiated substantial workforce reductions. Presently, the company maintains a workforce of approximately 42,000 employees. Of this total, roughly half are based in the United Kingdom, with 11,000 located in Germany and 5,500 in the United States.
As per a Bloomberg report, the recent workforce reduction is aimed at Rolls-Royce's global white-collar staff, encompassing senior management. While not all specifics have been officially confirmed by the organisation, Rolls-Royce did announce that its Chief Technology Officer, Grazia Vittadini, is set to depart the company in April 2024 as part of this strategic initiative.
The Bloomberg report also revealed that CEO Erginbilgic is taking a more hands-on approach to the company by implementing changes in key management positions, including those in the civil engine subsidiary. As part of this adjustment, Rolls-Royce will be welcoming Simon Burr, a senior manager from the civil aerospace subsidiary, into the executive team.
Stack Overflow to cut 100 jobs
The developer community website, Stack Overflow, recently made the decision to lay off 28% of its workforce, as announced by the company owned by Prosus. In a blog post, Stack Overflow's CEO, Prashanth Chandrasekar, expressed the company's commitment to achieving profitability. While the post didn't provide specific details about the reasons for the job cuts, it did note that the shift in customer budgets to other areas was driven by "macroeconomic pressures."
“This year we took many steps to spend less. Changes have been pursued through the lens of minimising the impact on the lives of Stackers. Unfortunately, those changes were not enough and we have made the extremely difficult decision to reduce the company’s headcount by approximately 28%,” Chandrasekar said.
While Stack Overflow is primarily known as a Q&A platform for individual users, it also offers enterprise products such as Stack Overflow for Teams, which assists organisations in maintaining a knowledge base across their entire company. The company did not provide a specific number of employees affected by the layoffs.
However, given that it had expanded its workforce to over 500 people the previous year, it's likely that more than 100 individuals are facing job cuts. Stack Overflow has experienced a decline in its traffic compared to the previous year, possibly due to the growing popularity of generative AI tools that help developers tackle various coding challenges.
In August, the company acknowledged that it anticipates "some fluctuations in traditional traffic and engagement in the coming months" because of generative AI's impact.
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