Hundreds of Indian workers are left in a lurch in an even worse job market after multiple big tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Flipkart together cut thousands of jobs across multiple departments in the first two weeks of 2024.
One of the most significant layoffs in the last two weeks was in Google, when the company decided to cut hundreds of jobs across Voice Assistant and hardware departments. Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman were also let go by the tech firm.
Further, Microsoft-backed artificial intelligence firm HumaneAI decided to lay off four percent of its entire workforce just before the launch of their first product, a voice-control handsfree AI pin.
Major layoffs in Indian startups
Payment platform Paytm was the first Indian company in 2024 to announce layoffs, firing around 1000 employees from the company, making up of 10 percent of its entire workforce. This has been done as a cost cutting measure as part of the ongoing realignment.
Further, e-commerce platform Flipkart is also mulling laying off 5-7 percent of its entire workforce, coming up to around 1500 employees. The layoffs are expected due to subdued financial performances of the company.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Amazon is considering laying off hundreds of people from its Prime division, a significant chunk of which could be Indian remote workers employed in the customer service department.
Google on Wednesday announced that job cuts will be made from its Voice Assistant, engineering and hardware department. Nearly the entire staff of Fitbit will be fired under the new restructuring model, with hundreds laid off from Pixel and Nest.
Is AI the real villain?
While artificial intelligence has been dubbed the boogeyman of the job market over the last decade, majority of the job cuts across IT and tech giants is not due to the advancements of AI and its ability to take over jobs.
In fact, even HumaneAI, one of the most promising AI startups was not immune from layoffs this year, despite projected profits after its AI pin launch. The real reason behind these job cuts is cost cutting and economic slowdown in the West.
Inflation has been eating away the profits of big companies, prompting them to tighten their performance reviews, opt for hiring freeze, and as a last resort, lay off a chunk of its workforce.