BusinessDay

Tech storm sweeps over 100,000 jobs in 2022

The global tech industry has seen 119,155 employees laid off by 887 companies this year, representing the largest layoff activity in the industry, data from Layoffs.fyi have shown.

The spate of tech job cuts was in reaction to the macroeconomic downturn in many major markets driven by accelerating inflation, foreign exchange volatility, and new caps on venture capital funding.

Layoff activities in 2022 have so far surpassed the peak reached in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of companies to shut down and work remotely.

While the second quarter of 2020 still holds the record for the quarter with the most layoffs, the fourth quarter of 2022 has so far seen the largest layoff by one company. Last week, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, laid off 11,000 workers, representing about 13 percent of its total workforce.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta, said it became inevitable because he miscalculated the future growth of the company and invested heavily in projects like the metaverse, which has yet to yield the desired results.

Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe, where 14 percent of the workforce were laid off, said the company had been too optimistic about the internet economy’s near-term growth in 2022 and 2023 and underestimated both the likelihood and impact of a broader slowdown.

“We grew operating costs too quickly. Buoyed by the success we’re seeing in some of our new product areas, we allowed coordination costs to grow and operational inefficiencies to seep in,” Collison said in an email to staff.

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The layoffs also affect countries in Nigeria and other African countries. Companies like 54gene, Kuda, SWVL, and Jumia have lost CEOs and employees to the meltdown.

Big tech companies with a presence in Africa have also seen the number of workers on the continent decimated. Twitter, for example, laid off about 80 percent of its staff in Ghana, home to its Africa headquarters. Workers in Africa were also affected by the layoff activities at Meta.