50,000 tech workers and 0 CEOs laid off this year so far

2024-03-18 by Andrej Tusicisny


The year 2024 is barely two months old, and the tech industry has already witnessed a staggering 50,000 employees losing their jobs, according to the popular layoff tracker, Layoffs.fyi. This figure comes on top of the more than a quarter-million tech workers who were laid off last year. As a result of the vast number of people still seeking a new job since 2023, the average number of job applications per job opening has skyrocketed to almost 300.

Here are the 10 biggest layoffs of this year so far:

Company Laid off workers Laid off CEOs
SAP 8,000 0
Cisco 4,250 0
Xerox 3,000 0
PayPal 2,500 0
Farfetch 2,000 0
Microsoft 1,900 0
Unity 1,800 0
Wayfair 1,650 0
Expedia 1,500 0
Flipkart 1,100 0

Do you see a theme?

Of course, there are legitimate economic factors driving these downsizing efforts. For instance, high interest rates have led, for a number of complex economic reasons, to a drop in available venture capital funding. Consequently, it has become much more challenging for startups to secure additional rounds of funding. As employee compensation typically constitutes the largest expense for tech companies, startups have been forced to reduce their headcounts to extend their runway until they can successfully raise funds again. And if they fail to secure funding before their runway ends, everyone loses their jobs.

There is also significant uncertainty surrounding the roles that could potentially be replaced by artificial intelligence. For example, Google has decided to lay off hundreds from its ad sales team because the advertising campaign management they provided for large customers has become increasingly automated. With Google's ad sales team comprising approximately 30,000 people last year, the billion-dollar question remains: how many of their jobs will be replaced by AI next? As a CEO of an AI company, I do not think anyone has a definitive answer yet. As a result, some headcount in marketing, sales, customer support, and even software engineering remains in limbo until the industry figures out which tasks should be handled by humans versus AI.

However, the most significant cause of layoffs in 2023 and 2024 is the hangover effect following the excessive hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic when demand for digital goods skyrocketed. When the physical world was shut down during the pandemic, people increasingly turned to the internet for work, shopping, and entertainment. They relocated from expensive cities to "Zoomtowns," worked remotely, shopped more online, and perhaps even invested in a Peloton bike. In response, tech companies embarked on a hiring spree to meet consumer demand, as if this growth could continue indefinitely. But it could not. After all, how many Peloton bikes can you realistically fit in your home?

Graph of tech-related job postings over time

How many executives who made this costly mistake of overhiring in 2021 were fired for their errors? Instead of accepting responsibility, they offer empty platitudes to their laid off employees. For example, when Nike's CEO proclaimed, "I ultimately hold myself and my leadership team accountable," he proceeded to fire 1,500 employees, not himself.

If you are struggling to get hired, it is because the current job market is simply brutal. For each open position in tech, you are competing against several hundreds of experienced workers who have been laid off. It is not your fault or theirs; it is simply the harsh reality of the tech sector at the moment.

My own little tech company, JobSearch.Coach, makes job search suck a little bit less by providing AI tools that help people land a good job faster. I would say, get any help you can because the job market out there is brutal.