Technology

Mass layoffs at Amazon hit Vancouver offices

Media reports indicate as many as 10K workers are being let go this week
Amazon's new Vancouver office under construction along Georgia Street | Chung Chow, BIV

It appears workers at Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMNZ) based in Vancouver are not being spared by mass layoffs taking place across the company’s global offices.

Media reports earlier this week estimated 10,000 workers were set to be let go, primarily from its retail, devices, and human resources divisions.

Meliksah Şimsek, whose LinkedIn profile identified him as a Vancouver-based software engineer with Amazon, said in a LinkedIn post he was among those affected by the cuts.

"I had the chance of truly excelling in the overall software development and involving in a wide range of technical projects during the course of my career," Simsek said, adding he was part of the Alexa AI Foundations team. "I had the chance of truly excelling in the overall software development and involving in a wide range of technical projects during the course of my career."

His LinkedIn profile indicates he worked at Amazon just under two years.

Amazon Canada spokeswoman Kristin Gable declined to share how many workers in the Vancouver office have been affected by the layoffs.

In a statement attributed to U.S.-based Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel, the company had been considering changes as part of its annual review process.

“As we’ve gone through this, given the current macro-economic environment (as well as several years of rapid hiring), some teams are making adjustments, which in some cases means certain roles are no longer necessary,” she said in the prepared statement.

“We don’t take these decisions lightly, and we are working to support any employees who may be affected.”

Dave Limp, Amazon’s senior vice-president of devices and services, said in Wednesday blog post that the company had been prioritizing “what matters most to our customers and the business.”

He went on to say “one of the consequences of these decisions is that some roles will no longer be required. It pains me to have to deliver this news as we know we will lose talented Amazonians.”

Employees were notified of the layoffs Tuesday, according to Limp.

“We will support the transition with a package that includes a separation payment, transitional benefits and external job placement support,” he wrote in his blog post.

Vancouver’s innovation sector has been hit by a number of significant layoffs going back to January when biotech firm Zymeworks Inc. (NYSE:ZYME) revealed it was cutting its general workforce by 25 per cent.

Thinkific Labs Inc. (TSX:THNC) then cut its workforce by 20 per cent – 100 of its workers – in March after posting a $26 million loss in its last fiscal year.

Unbounce Marketing Solutions Inc. revealed in August it was letting go of 20 per cent of its workforce — about 50 employees

Article (TradeMango Solutions Inc.), best known for selling furniture online, laid off 17 per cent of its staff — 216 workers altogether— days after Unbounce announced its own cuts. 

And Hootsuite has made multiple cuts throughout 2022, including 30 per cent — a figure amounting to at least 350 workers — of its workforce over the summer.

Dapper Labs Inc., one of the bevy of unicorns to emerge from the B.C. tech scene since the pandemic, let go of 22 per cent of its workers earlier this month.

torton@biv.com

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