Amazon layoffs hit workers in robotics, grocery, health and AWS divisions
The Amazon headquarters sits virtually empty on March 10, 2020 in downtown Seattle, Washington. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Amazon recommended all employees in its Seattle office to work from home, leaving much of downtown nearly void of people.
John Moore | Getty Images
Amazon’s 18,000-plus job cuts announced this month are being felt broadly across the company’s sprawling operations, from physical retail technology and grocery stores to robotics and drone delivery, and even in cloud computing.
That’s according to a spreadsheet created after the layoff announcement by an employee, who has encouraged those affected to submit their information for use by recruiters. The database, which was circulated widely on LinkedIn, provides a window into the businesses hit with layoffs.
CEO Andy Jassy wrote in a blog post in early January that “several teams” were impacted but that the cuts would primarily be centered in Amazon’s worldwide stores and human resources divisions. Beyond that, the company provided scant details on where downsizing would take place.
An Amazon spokesperson pointed CNBC to Jassy’s blog post on the layoffs.
Subsequent filings with state agencies offered a glimpse into the geographical dispersal of the layoffs. In Amazon’s home state of Washington, at least 2,300 employees lost their jobs, according to Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filings. Over 500 took place in California, including in engineering and recruiting divisions, while roughly 300 were in New York, filings show.
When Amazon reports fourth-quarter results on Thursday, executives are likely to face questions regarding the headcount reductions and the expected financial impact. Revenue growth is expected to sink to 6% and remain in single digits until the final period of 2023, according to analyst estimates, as Amazon reckons with the threats of a recession and a decline in consumer spending.
Amazon shares lost half their value in 2022, the worst year for shareholders since the dot-com crash in 2000.
The latest wave of layoffs, which is poised to be largest round of cuts in Amazon’s history, follow more than a decade of unbridled growth and massive expansion in the company’s network of fulfillment centers. Jassy blamed the need for cuts on “labor shortages, supply chain difficulties, inflation, and productivity overhang from growing our fulfillment and transportation networks so substantially during the pandemic.”
Here’s a breakdown of where job cuts took place. CNBC verified that the staffers listed as Amazon employees worked for the company.
Grocery and Physical stores
Employees working on various retail technologies, including Amazon’s cashierless checkout software called Just Walk Out, its palm-based payment service and Dash smart carts were part of the layoffs. The unit was recently moved to Amazon’s cloud-computing division after previously being housed under its retail organization.
There were cuts in the Fresh stores and online grocery delivery businesses for people employed as program managers, store designers, supply chain managers and software engineers.
Amazon Go and Go Grocery cashierless convenience stores and supermarkets were also hit with layoffs.
Online shoe seller Zappos joined Amazon via acquisition in 2009. Employees with titles including program manager, software engineer and product buyer were among those laid off.
Amazon Robotics is the company’s unit focused on automating aspects of its warehouse operations. The division evolved out of Amazon’s acquisition of Kiva Systems, a manufacturer of warehouse robots, for $775 million in 2012.
Hardware development engineers, mechatronics engineers, network engineers, applied science managers, and technical product managers were part of the job cuts.
Amazon Web Services
AWS pioneered the market for cloud infrastructure, allowing businesses to offload their servers and storage needs and pay by subscription and usage. The division now generates $80 billion in annual revenue and substantially all of the company’s profits.
Among those who lost their jobs had titles of software development engineer, senior program manager, account representative, cloud architect and quality assurance engineer.
AWS CEO Adam Selipsky said in an interview late last year at the company’s annual Reinvent customer conference that “we do see some customers who are doing some belt-tightening now.”
Amazon’s operations division serves as a catchall for many far-reaching units inside the company. The organization oversees Amazon’s sprawling fulfillment and delivery businesses, among other things.
Employees involved in fulfillment center expansion, warehouse IT management, package pickup and returns, delivery routing software, environmental health and safety, workplace health and safety, and shipping and delivery service Amazon Logistics were among those involved in the cuts.
The company’s payments organization, which oversees units like online payments processing service Amazon Pay, was also hit with layoffs. Engineers, product managers and staffers working on the company’s Venmo checkout integration were among those laid off.
The cuts included employees working on Amazon’s various health-care offerings. Amazon Pharmacy, the online pharmacy it launched in 2020, saw program managers, risk compliance managers and billing managers let go as part of the job cuts. Additionally, employees working on digital health tools and the Halo health and fitness tracker lost their jobs.
Amazon has faced numerous challenges in its effort to crack the heal;th-care market. The company said last year that it was winding down its telehealth service, and the two founders of online pharmacy PillPack, which Amazon bought in 2018, announced their departures. Hundreds of employees were let go in 2022 between a division called Amazon Care and Care Medical, an independent company that was contracted to work with Amazon.
Employees in Amazon’s third-party marketplace unit were among those whose jobs were cut. The business oversees the millions of sellers who hawk their wares on the website and app.
Staffers involved in third-party seller services, seller experience, seller financial technology, software development, and online seller communities were let go. Amazon Launchpad, a unit that assists new sellers, also experienced heavy cuts.
Employees involved in construction and facilities planning, real estate transactions, disaster recovery, and physical stores development lost their jobs.
Retail units that were affected include supply chain optimization technology, pricing, vendor management, the Amazon Shopping app and Amazon’s business-to-business marketplace. The cuts also included fashion stylists, who provided clothing recommendations to Amazon shoppers as part of its “try before you buy” service, formerly known as Prime Wardrobe.