Tech layoffs are accelerating, according to the data. The surge in staff cuts comes after reductions in human capital slowed so much in the back-half of 2023 that we wrote that “tech layoffs are all but a thing of the past.” At the time, reported layoffs had been trending down for months and months to reach what appeared to be a nadir that was so low it felt inconsequential.
How things have changed. At the time we posited that rising tech valuations were taking some pressure off technology concerns, and that large-scale cuts appeared to be losing luster compared to more targeted reductions in total staffing. Then 2024 rolled around and flipped the script.
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The recent wave of layoffs has hit tech shops big and small. Veho, a package delivery company, cut 65 people this week, or about one-fifth of its total headcount. After quick revenue growth in 2023, midsized tech companies are cutting as well. Brex’s latest layoffs make it plain that even some of the best-known, and most richly funded, upstart tech companies are finding their headcount to be too much. And the majors are cutting as well, with Microsoft axing 1,900 workers recently, and Google planning more cuts throughout the year. In the latter case, staggered layoffs are a great way to tell workers to quit, so expect total attrition at the search giant to outstrip forced exits.
The plural of anecdotes is not data, so we need to to look at historical trends to put these layoffs into context. Thankfully, that information is at our fingertips and we can report that, yes, the layoff surge that you are feeling is in fact an actual wave. Let’s dig into how sharply tech companies are ripping humans out of their businesses, and our working hypotheses as to why the cuts are coming with such frequency and depth.
Looking at the data
Tech layoffs bottomed out in September 2023. In that month, Layoffs.FYI counted just 4,707 tech layoffs across 65 total known cuts. Those figures rose throughout the final months of the year, reaching just over 8,000 in November, and 7,00 in December, from 72 and 56 known cuts, respectively.