Amazon layoffs 2022: how big is US firm’s workforce, how many redundancies is it making and where?

The job cuts could result in Amazon’s largest ever number of layoffs

Amazon is the latest tech firm preparing to cut thousands of jobs in response to the economic downturn, according to reports in the US. The tech giant is said to be considering cutting around 3% of its office staff, which would mean around 10,000 people could be affected.

The reports come in the wake of substantial job cuts across the tech sector – Elon Musk cut around half of Twitter’s 7,500 global workforce after completing his takeover of the company, while Facebook owner Meta has also confirmed it is cutting around 11,000 jobs globally. Snapchat and Microsoft also announced staff layoffs in recent months.

This is what you need to know.

Why is Amazon cutting jobs - and how many?

According to a New York Times report, Amazon is planning on axing thousands of jobs, starting as soon as this week. Amazon’s reported reductions are said to be a response to a slowing global economy, which is hitting the firm’s sales which had grown substantially during the pandemic. In general, the tech sector has been hit hard by the economic slowdown after companies saw huge growth as more people moved online during local lockdowns and increased remote working.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has stepped down as chief executive but remains chairman of the board, said on Twitter last month that the current economic climate meant it was time to “batten down the hatches”.

An employee places packed goods tons container at the distribution centre of US online retail giant Amazon in Moenchengladbach, on December 17, 2019. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

The reported cuts are said to focus on Amazon’s devices organisation, which makes things like its voice controlled Alexa products and home security cameras, as well as its human resources and retail divisions.

While the exact number of layoffs is yet to be determined, if it does in fact land around the 10,000 mark, that would represent roughly 3% of Amazon’s corporate employees and less than 1% of its global workforce.

The New York Times article reported that Amazon froze hiring in several of its smaller teams in September, and in October it also stopped filling more than 10,000 open roles across its core retail business. Then, two weeks ago, it also froze its corporate hiring for the coming months.

How big is Amazon’s workforce?

According to Macro Trends, as of 2021, Amazon’s worldwide employee count came in at 1,608,000, which marked a 23.88% increase from 2020. Earlier this year it was announced that in the United States alone, Amazon surpassed one million direct employees.

A US giant Amazon employee passes by its logo on the opening day of the new distribution center in Augny, eastern France, on September 23, 2021. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

Companies Market Cap reports that Amazon is currently the second largest employer in the world, behind Walmart. According to the site, the top 10 biggest employers around the globe are:

  • Walmart, USA
  • Amazon, USA
  • Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry), Taiwan
  • Accenture, Ireland
  • Volkswagen, Germany
  • Tata Consultancy Services, India 
  • Deutsche Post, Germany
  • United Parcel Service, USA
  • Kroger, USA
  • Home Depot, USA

Is Jeff Bezos giving away his fortune?

Bezos this week pledged to give away most of his estimated $124 billion dollar (£104 billion) fortune during his lifetime, telling CNN on Monday (14 November) there were “big problems” in the world and the way to solve them was to “work together”.

Speaking alongside his longtime partner Lauren Sanchez, Bezos said: “The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work and very smart teammates.

Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez attend ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” World Premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on August 30, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Prime Video )

“And I’m finding - and Lauren’s finding - that philanthropy is very similar. It’s not easy. It’s really hard.”

He has already committed $10 billion dollars over 10 years to the Bezos Earth Fund which helps to fight climate change, and awarded a further $100 million dollars to country star Dolly Parton to give to any charity she wishes as part of his Courage and Civility Award.