Amazon is reducing its headcount at its corporate office in Seattle, with the eCommerce giant reportedly laying off several hundred employees in what is seen as a rare move by the company.
According to news from The Seattle Times, in addition to the several hundred being laid off at its Seattle headquarters, hundreds more are being let go at the company’s global operations. Two people familiar with the matter told the paper the layoffs are mainly focused on its consumer retail business. Laying off several hundred workers may seem like a lot, but for Amazon — with its size and massive employee headcount — the layoffs are modest compared to what other large companies have done.
In recent years, Amazon has grown its employee base to more than 40,000 from just 5,000 back in 2010. The Seattle Times noted the growth of the company during the past two years resulted in units being over budget, with teams within the organization having too many employees. Amazon has put in place hiring freezes for several of the company’s groups.
“As part of our annual planning process, we are making headcount adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others,” a spokesperson said. “For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.” The layoffs are expected to be finished over the next few weeks.
Despite the layoffs, Amazon is still in hiring mode, ending 2017 with a global workforce of 566,000, which was 66 percent higher than December of 2016. Excluding warehouse jobs, Amazon has 12,500 open positions and is in the process of choosing the location for its second headquarters, which will employ 50,000 workers. In Seattle, the company’s hometown, Amazon has more than 4,000 open job listings, up 23 percent from January when the open positions were at a multi-year low.