San Francisco 2022

Last updated: 26th Jan. 2023 – 9 min read

This article is ‘How tech layoffs influence behaviour, economy, assets and life?‘ is about how Big Tech or Tech Giants and other tech companies’ layoffs – who are dominant in information technology (IT) – affect our everyday lives and spread through across the globe affect different sectors, industries and countries.

These companies have not only direct social influence, but able to crawl into different areas of economy and create huge impact in businesses and in our personal life.

Who are Tech Giants?

Tech Giants, or Big Tech namely the Big Four technology companies presently consist of Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook) with Microsoft completing the Big Five involve the four or five most dominant tech companies in the IT industry of the United States.

They are dominant players in the following areas:

artificial intelligence (AI), e-commerce, online advertising, consumer electronics, cloud computing. Computer software, media streaming, smart home, self-driving cars, and social networking. They are among the most valuable public companies in 2020 (https://archive.ph/2020.01.27-180010/https://fxssi.com/top-10-most-valuable-companies-in-the-world)

The rating is based on market capitalization, calculated by multiplying the number of shares issued by the company by the value of one share. Each having had a maximum market capitalization ranging from $1 trillion to above $3 trillion. Also considered among the most prestigious employers in the world according to Wikipedia.

Brands

In addition to this those 5 technology companies are the World’s Most Valuable Brands in 2020 according to Forbes. Ranking Top 5 in the following order:

1. Apple (Brand value, $241.2 B; 1-Yr Value Change: 17%, Brand Revenue: $260.2 B);

2. Google (Brand value, $207.5 B; 1-Yr Value Change: 24%, Brand Revenue: $145.6 B);

3. Microsoft (Brand value, $162.9 B; 1-Yr Value Change: 30%, Brand Revenue: $125.8 B);

4. Amazon (Brand value, $135.4; 1-Yr Value Change: 40%, Brand Revenue: $260.5 B);

5. Meta (Facebook) (Brand value, $70.3 B; 1-Yr Value Change: -21%, Brand Revenue: $49.7 B);

How can Tech Giants and other companies influence our life?

From the obvious impact on the above-mentioned areas, they have more namely social, business and economic impact too. These companies able to create only with one decision different serious effects.

Effects can expand the influence of those companies in other areas and fields of life and economy as they hold huge power. They can “control” several businesses, ten, hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of lives directly or indirectly with only one decision.

How can tech layoffs influence consumer behaviour?

First of all, tech giants influence consumer behaviour. They work with data consumers give them. Basically, they are profiling people in order to understand habits and create an impact by influencing human behaviour by analyzing it, trying to predict it, then later on create what to buy with big data, what they can find out through the help of data scientists and machine learning engineers etc.

Furthermore, they are able to create consumer habits and change consumer behaviour over time. Obviously with difficult predictive models, advertising, and on the above-mentioned areas they influence our everyday life, our businesses, and on top of that every decision they make can create social impact and not just digitally, but in the not digital world too.

What else can tech layoffs influence?

Almost everything, all aspects of our life. In these cases, tech giants not influence our behaviour on the normal ways as they used to, but indirectly affect life through people, businesses and markets. In some cases, we speak about thousands or ten thousand people, but in other cases millions of lives will change, because of them.

For example: the housing and the real estate market, a young IT developer might change location and move to another city fast if she/he has been laid off, but other’s life with a family a bit more different (especially if kids affected) as they need to solve the new situation fast and change their life significantly.

The situation is more difficult if people not depend on the company’s work solely, but their work or other benefits depend on the company as well, for example: health insurance, retirement savings plans, housing, financial assistance, employee career programs, car usage etc.

How tech companies influence our daily life and lifestyle?

Big Tech and smaller tech companies can influence our daily life in the following ways:

  • digital and non-digital ways
  • positive and negative influences
  • changing consumer behaviour
  • changing networking and social behaviour
  • changing communication and style etc.
  • tech layoffs influence behaviour of people, businesses, their relatives and other fields as well…

Those companies create different behaviours through and with their decisions, which influence other business areas of the economy as well. For example:

  • through their layoffs
  • through their hiring
  • through their products and services,
  • through their advertising capabilities,
  • through their innovations,
  • through their partnerships with other companies etc.

Tech Layoffs Influence & Behaviour Change after growth in previous years

Hiring Boom in Tech in the previous years

In the last years during the pandemic era, we have seen that Big Tech companies had a hiring boom, they were constantly growing, which we have seen in different articles back then. In 2022 the behavior started to change and a freezing started in hiring and in Q3, and Q4 in 2022 the Internet exploded by started to cut number of employees one by one. It looks like this is a still on-going process.

& Economic Downturn after the pandemic

In the recent years we have seen continuous improvement in the economy and mostly bull market, but recently signs started to show up that there will be a turning point.

The signs you have might started to see first in highly competitive tech areas like Web3 and crypto, then start-ups and the “traditional” technological companies have shown similar signs e.g.: FAANG. After this the “virus” started to widely spread around the globe and across different industries and fields.

For example the Silicon Valley and in the same time China have shown similar tech layoffs in the middle of 2022 after this it expanded to other sectors for example the real estate sector locally, then the financial sector for such as the banking industry layoffs started to suffer at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.

It did not stop in China or the USA as it is spreading toward across the globe and other areas for example India, where the social media startup ShareChat recently (17th January 2023) announced a 20% cut on their employees. This affected more than 600 employees, who familiar with developments. They were reasoning it with “external macro factors“, which were “impacting the cost and availability of capital” reported by LiveMint.

Resulted in Mass Tech Layoffs

In the last couple of days, weeks and months we have seen several tech layoffs, where thousands of people have been laid without previous warnings. The most recent news about layoffs we heared from Amazon, Goldman Sachs and ShareChat in January 2023.

big tech companies mass layoffs

With the layoffs at four of the biggest U.S. tech companies is total 51,000 jobs in the past few months in the beginning of 2023 and the end of 2022 according to Reuters.

Some of the most notable layoffs in the tech sector

Tesla CEO Elon Musk (R) and Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal (L) (Reuters)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk (R) and Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal (L) (Reuters)

Last update: 26th Jan. 2023

Seems like the “tech layoff train” not stopped even if we started the new year. Companies like Salesforce, Coinbase and a lot others started the new year massive layoffs. According to CrunchbaseNews “more than 21,000 workers in U.S.-based tech companies have been laid off in 2023.”

Next to this the banking industry started to be affected as well like Goldman Sachs, BBC reported that GS introduced a massive layoff, which affect 3,200 people, roughly 6.5% of the bank’s workforce.

Second part of January 2023

  • IBM (01/26/2023): the New York based company layoff 3900 people, the 1.5% of the company reported by CNN. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told the company’s cuts were related to the reorganization of two business units. Kyndryl, an IT infrastructure services business was officially separated from IBM. The other is IBM’s healthcare analytics business; an investment firm in the process of acquiring.
  • SAP (01/26/2023): Europe largest software company lay off 2.5% of its workforce of 112 000, around 2800 employees. SAP CEO Christian Klein said the restructuring was “targeted”, allowing the company to invest in areas “where it really matters for SAP to be competitive in the future,” particularly its cloud business according to the CNN.
  • Spotify (01/23/2023): the Stockholm-headquartered music streaming company cut 6% of its workforce around 590 jobs to reduce costs according to CNN. CEO Daniel Ek took full responsibility for the job cuts, He called it “difficult but necessary.”
  • Alphabet (01/21/2023): the parent company of Google layoff 12 000 people, it affects 6% of its workforce, who worked on the products, engineering and recruitment areas. The company faces “different economic reality” as its focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The long leader in AI facing competition from Microsoft, which looking to “boost its stake in ChatGPT” according to Reuters.
  • Microsoft Corp. (01/18/2023): eliminate 10 000 jobs. CEO Satya Nadella said layoffs affecting less than 5% of Microsoft’s workforce. It keep hiring in “strategic areas,” AI likely one of this area. CEO praised AI to world leaders gathered in Davos, Switzerland by claiming “the technology transform its products and touch people around the globe.”
  • ShareChat (01/17/2023): Bangalore based social media platform released 600 employees mostly whom familiar with the development, which is 20% cut of the company’s headcount.

First part of January 2023

  • Flexport (01/11/2023): the San Francisco based shipping and logistics multinational company laid off 20% of the company, which is around 640 people globally according to the co-CEO. Who said the company is being challenged as higher interest rates around the world hit demand. He wrote to CNBC lower volumes, combined with improved efficiencies means they are overstaffed in a variety of roles across the company.
  • Coinbase (01/10/2023): the San Francisco based crypto company previously laid off 1,100 people in 2022 June, then in November 60 employees and around 950 (or 20% of the company) in January 2023. As crypto had a global economic downturn it might be not a suprise this happened with them.
  • Amazon (01/05/2023): the Seattle based e-commerce & SAAS company laid off 10 000 of its employees in November, 2022 and additionally 8 000 jobs in January, 2023. CEO Andy Jassy in his latest post informed everyone that more than 18,000 employees will be impacted worldwide from the mass layoffs.
  • Salesforce (01/04/2023): the San Francisco based global cloud computing tech and analytics company introduced a mass layoff around 9090 employees will lose their jobs worldwide reported by TechCrunch.

November-December 2022

  • Doma (06/12/2022): the San Francisco based insurtech and machine learning platform laid off 20% of its employees according to TheRealDeal around 515 employees became jobless as the CEO told they change the company’s strategy.
  • DoorDash (01/12/2022) cuts 1,250 corporate jobs, 6% of its workforce, after pandemic hiring surge.
  • Google (23/11/2022) layoff could top 6%, or 10,000 employees, in early 2023 according to Forbes.
  • HP (22/11/2022). The company expects to reduce gross global headcount by approximately 4,000-6,000 employees.”/CNN/. “These actions are expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2025.”
  • GoTo (Gojek Tokopedia) (18/11/2022). 1300 people affected. GoTo’s layoff will not only affect employees in Indonesia but in all operational countries: Singapore, India, and Vietnam too. 
  • Meta: 11 000 employees will be layed off (09/11/2022). This is the first layoff since Meta started its operation. Read CEO Mark Zuckerberg layoff message to the employees,
  • Salesforce: around 1000 employees have laid off, and introducted a hiring freeze in Jan 2023.
  • Twitter: 3 500 heads (03/11/2022) cut, Elon Musk recently acquired Twitter, aka bought from CEO Parag Agrawal for $44 billion. He joined Twitter as a software engineer in 2011, became Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in October 2017, following the departure of Adam Messinger). He was appointed CEO in November 2021 according to Business Insider. After Musk acquisition of Twitter, he fired Agarwal, who walk away with a payout of $38.7 million, according to SEC’s regulatory filings.
  • Lyft: cut 13% around 700 jobs (03/11/2022)
  • Stripe: cut 14% around 1100 employees (03/11/2022) CEO Patrick Collison wrote in a memo to staff. The cuts were necessary amid rising inflation, fears of a looming recession, higher interest rates. Moreover energy shocks, tighter investment budgets and sparser startup funding.

Before November 2022

  • Byju: the largest Edtech company in India announced 5% layoff around 2500 employees in the coming months. The company further informed it hires 10,000+ teachers in the coming months
  • Snap: more than 1,200 jobs cut (30/08/2022) affected mostly hardware and developer products departments
  • Shopify: cut 10% around 1000 workers (26/07/2022). The CEO Tobi Lutke said to CNBC he had misjudged how long the pandemic-driven e-commerce boom would last.
  • Microsoft: 1800 jobs cut only 1% of the company (03/07/2022)
  • Netflix: 2 rounds tech layoff influence around 450 people (23/06/2022)
  • Tesla: cutting 10% of salaried employees that means ~10,000 employees lose their jobs (03/06/2022) “Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10% as we have become overstaffed in many areas,” told CEO Elon Musk “Note this does not apply to anyone actually building cars, battery packs or installing solar. Hourly headcount will increase.”

Started first with the layoffs in highly competitive tech sectors such as start-ups in web3, blockchain, crypto etc. in 2022

  • Coinbase: 2nd round: 60 people in November, 2022, in June cut 18% of full-time jobs, 1100 workers (14/06/2022). Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong pointed to a possible recession to CNBC. A need to manage Coinbase’s burn rate and increase efficiency. He also said the company grew “too quickly” during a bull market.
  • Robinhood: 31% of its staff in 2 rounds around 3700 people. According to Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev blamed “deterioration of the macro environment, with inflation at 40-year highs accompanied by a broad crypto market crash.”

Other layoffs worldwide in 2022

  • Conde Nast: laid off 90% of their workforce in Russia. The parent company of legendary brands like Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, Architectural Digest (AD), The New Yorker in February-March.
  • Didi: China’s ridesharing company fired 20% of its staff in February around 3000 people.
  • Cineplex: Canada’s chain of movie theaters laid off 5000 people announced in January 2022.

Reasons of cutbacks and the numbers

Tech giants refer to inflation, economic headwinds, and slow growth as the reason of cuts. CEOs referred that companies were growing too fast in bull market; they hired too much employees in the pandemic. They are referring to the upcoming recession, which will probably happen in the next year.

As of mid-November, more than 67,000 workers in the U.S. tech sector have been laid off in mass job cuts sin 2022, according to Crunchbase News. If you know an upcoming tech layoff and want to share anonymously you can do in that form.

If you think that is a phenomenon which happens only in the United States or Europe then you are wrong. Previously this year in China “Nearly 73,000 workers were let go between July and midApril alone, according to research by TechNode.

Gao “Noah” Zihao, co-founder of Beta, a headhunting firm said tech companies overstretched themselves. By attempting to “duplicate their business models” in new industries, pointing to food delivery platform Meituan’s retail push and e-commerce platform Jindong’s foray into groceries as examples. Later in April 2022, lifestyle app Xiaohongshu, often described as China’s version of Instagram, fired about 10 percent of its workforce. ” According to AlJazeera.

What are the effects of tech layoffs on the economy?

The Network Effect

The network effect increased since globalization in trade and stock markets deepened the financial connections between economies. 

For example, if consumer spending in the United States declines, it has spillover effects on the economies that depends on the U.S. If U.S. is their largest export market. The larger an economy is, the more spillover effects it is likely to produce across the global economy.

The Spillover Effect

It refers to the impact that seemingly unrelated events in one nation can have on the economies of other nations. The term is most commonly applied to negative impact of a domestic event if it has effect on other parts of the world. Such as an earthquake, stock market crisis, or macro events according to Investopedia. The best example to spillover effect was the Great Depression.

In my opinion is that the “tight-spillover effect” can have not only on other country’s economies, but the same country’s economy too.

The Domino Effect

A domino effect about progress, not results. Simply maintain the momentum. Typically starts with one significant event, which sets off a chain reaction of similar events. The first event creates a sequence of events. Each of which is set off by the previous event in the sequence. In economics, the domino theory explains how an economic problem in one country can spread like a contagion to similar countries and firms.

The Spillover Effect – From Tech to Real-Estate, GDP and Economy

Moreover businesses, which geographically or any other way suffer and people who depend on tech companies will “suffer” too. This generate higher chances for domino effect than those companies, which not influence others that much or not having closely-knit connection with them. For example, think about the real estate market in San Fransisco or locations where those big tech companies located. It might seem trivial, but it is not.

The Real Deal announcements from Twitter, Stripe and Lyft add hesitancy to buyers’ psychology.

That is logical if buyers start to worry about their job security this will impact their behaviour and buyer’s psychology. This will create a change in consumer habits, not just in daily habits. Bigger investments will be delayed or cancelled, which has a huge impact on the economy. As we see mass tech layoffs influence not just people, but through housing the GDP and the economy as well.

According to NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) the real estate industry through Housing Contributions accounts for 15-18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is happening in 2 ways:

  • 1st Residential investment (averaging roughly 3-5% of GDP),
  • 2nd Consumption spending on housing services (averaging 12-13% of GDP).

Twitter laid off 3700-person including 800 in San Francisco (SF) and more than 100 in San Jose. SF based Lyft laid off 13% of its employees around 700 workers. South SF based Stripe terminated the employment of more than 1,000 workers or 14% of its workforce coding to TheRealDeal. The job losses have an outstanding impact on the rental and the condo market. As many tech workers are younger renters or entry-level buyers.


Assets in difficult times and crisis

Therefore, as we see tech layoffs influence the economy (similarly as economic crises or macroeconomic events). They can have spillover effects in other areas of businesses and in our life too. This means if any of us lose jobs, or not have secure ones then the priorities of life will change. That is why important to start to save, invest early and own not just stocks, bonds, or ETFs, but hard assets as well.

Although they say during recession the cash is king‘, hard assets are nice to have. Money (cash) is more valuable than any other form of investment tools, such as stocks or bonds during crisis.

Some examples of hard assets include:

  • Land, buildings and real estate or parts of it
  • Vehicles such as trucks or cars
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Furnitures, paintings, jewelleries
  • Silver, gold

Hard assets used as short-term assets like an inventory of a company, and can help to make money. However if you rent them out, but there is no demand, then hard assets will not help either.

Other options are digital assets. These exist in digital form and includes a right to use e.g.: cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. These times after huge losses and the FTX crypto scandal hard to find out, when people will trust again in those assets.

Long-term thinking in investments

What could help us in difficult times, when everything or at least the world looks like against “US”?

The opposite of hard assets are intangible assets, which are non-physical assets that are used over the long-term. For example:

  • a brand of a company,
  • investments in securities:
  • Investing in Gold and Silver,
  • Investing in REITs: Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Fixed-Income Securities;
    • Real Estate and
    • Commodities; 
    • Fixed Income Bearing Securities; 
    • Debentures/Bonds: Government Securities; Debentures of Private Sector companies; Public sector unit (PSU) bonds,
    • Preferred Stock,
    • Variable Income Bearing Securities,
    • Common Stock or Equity, 
    • Mutual Funds.
  • trademarks, patents, copyrights, franchises are nice to have either in those times.

Next to these investment opportunities, thinking on long-term regarding digital assets still seems as a good idea. Digital assets will be probably part of our future.

Shell (the world’s biggest oil and gas company) plans to launch a “Liquid-Cooling Solution for Bitcoin Miners Next Year according to Bitcoin Magazine. The goal is too provide a more sustainable option for energy.


Change your mindset

Think always on long-term. If you are ready, I recommend to read my previous articles:

Regarding investments:

  • Have a plan what you are ready to implement in order to feel yourself secure if any layoff or crisis happen.
  • If you are early in your career or not having a clear plan, where to invest then read & learn more regarding the topic.

This knowledge will always help & stays with you later in the future as well.


Note: The article is “not an investment advice”. It is inspiration to think more on different effects of events. Sources: CNN, BBC, CNBC, Forbes, Techcrunch, silkandcake.com, The Real Deal, Investopedia, https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1418091/000114036122014049/ny20001921x3_def14a.htm#tCT

First published on 16th Nov. 2023; First update: on 5th Dec. 2022, Second update: 16th Jan, 2023. Last update: 26th Jan. 2023

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