Layoff Roundup February 2024: Global Perspective

Layoff Roundup February 2024: Global Perspective


The first two months of 2024 have been challenging for the workforce across various sectors, with significant layoffs reported from the US to Europe and Asia. This article provides a snapshot of the major layoffs during February 2024, highlighting the reasons behind them, the number of individuals affected, and any severance packages offered. The focus is major layoffs, each with a brief overview and a source link for further reading.


United States


UPS

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United Parcel Service (UPS) has made a significant decision to reduce its workforce by 12,000 managerial positions. This reduction amounts to a 14% cut of the managerial staff, intended to streamline operations and achieve substantial cost savings projected to reach $1 billion. The layoffs reflect the company's strategic shift towards efficiency and cost management in a competitive logistics market.


Amazon

Amazon has continued with workforce reductions across the board, affecting various levels of the organization. The cuts are part of a broader strategy to tighten spending in response to persistent high-interest rates and a shifting economic landscape. Like many other tech giants, Amazon faces pressure to maintain growth and investor confidence during economic headwinds, leading to these difficult decisions.


Google

Google has undertaken staff cuts, albeit on a smaller scale than the previous year. The decision is part of an industry-wide trend where tech companies are reassessing their growth strategies and workforce sizes to better align with market demands and future projections. Google's layoffs indicate a continued recalibration of the workforce in light of global tech sector adjustments (The Wall Street Journal).


eBay

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The e-commerce platform eBay announced a plan to lay off 9% of its workforce, translating to roughly 1,000 full-time jobs. This reduction is a part of an ongoing downsizing trend within the tech industry as companies adapt to changing market conditions and focus on core business strengths. Through these cuts, eBay aims to streamline operations and improve financial performance.


Sony

On February 28, 2024, Sony announced the layoff of about 900 employees from its PlayStation division, which amounts to approximately 8% of its global workforce. This decision includes shutting down a studio based in London and is part of a larger trend of layoffs within the video game industry for the year. The move by Sony signals a significant reduction in its gaming unit as the company looks to navigate a changing market landscape. 


Bumble

Bumble, the popular dating app, released news on February 27, 2024, that it would be laying off 350 employees, representing around 37% of the company's workforce. This action comes as part of a larger restructuring plan to overhaul the app and drive growth, with Bumble looking to save approximately $55 million annually from these job cuts. The layoffs occur as the online dating industry faces significant changes and challenges.


Northrop Grumman

On February 26, 2024, Northrop Grumman warned its employees based in California, who work on space programs, of potential layoffs that could affect as many as 1,000 jobs. The layoffs are planned for its Space Park facilities in Redondo Beach, California, although the company did not fully disclose the reasons behind these cuts. This development is part of broader changes in the aerospace and defense industry.


BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed announced on February 23, 2024, that it sold Complex to NTWRK for $108.6 million and will subsequently lay off 16% of its workforce. The sale and layoffs are part of BuzzFeed's restructuring efforts to become 'more profitable, more nimble.' These changes come two years after BuzzFeed originally acquired Complex, and the company expects to save $23 million from the new restructuring.


Evil Bikes

Evil Bikes, on February 22, 2024, laid off several workers at its Bellingham location due to 'severely rising costs.' The company has faced several challenging years, which have led to this decision to reduce its workforce. Evil Bikes CEO Jason Moeschler pointed to the layoffs as part of navigating through post-pandemic challenges and a downturn in the industry.


Paramount Global

Paramount Global is cutting about 800 jobs, roughly 3% of its workforce. The layoffs come as the media company looks to streamline its operations and reduce costs in response to changing industry dynamics. Paramount's CEO, Bob Bakish, stated that the layoffs are part of a strategy to return the company to earnings growth. The layoffs were announced shortly after the Super Bowl, when the company typically evaluates its financial performance and operational efficiency. 


BlackRock

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, is laying off around 600 people, about 3% of its global workforce. Despite these cuts, the company expects a larger workforce by the end of 2024, driven by hiring in critical areas such as technology and alternative investments. The layoffs are part of BlackRock's strategy to adapt to profound changes in the industry brought on by new technologies and market conditions.


Nike

Nike announced layoffs affecting roughly 1,600 jobs, approximately 2% of its staff, as the demand for its products slows down. The layoffs are part of Nike's "Save to Invest" cost-cutting plan and aim to streamline the business to focus on growth areas. This marks the second round of cuts at the company within a year as Nike continues to contend with a slowdown in consumer spending. 


Cisco

On February 14, 2024, Cisco Systems announced that it would be laying off 5% of its global workforce, amounting to more than 4,000 jobs. The decision is part of Cisco's efforts to focus on high-growth business areas and adjust to changing market conditions. The layoffs follow previous cutbacks from late 2022 that shed 5,000 workers, hinting at the ongoing economic challenges within the tech industry. The company also delayed expectations for network operator spending to resume until the following year.


Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company faced a supplier parts issue that forced a production shutdown for the new 2024 Ford F-150 at its Michigan and Missouri factories, impacting approximately 9,700 United Auto Workers. While this was not a permanent layoff, it temporarily left many employees without work. Additionally, Ford announced earlier in January 2024 that it would eliminate a shift at a Detroit-area factory building electric pickup trucks, cutting 1,400 jobs due to lower-than-expected demand.


Estée Lauder

Estée Lauder Companies disclosed plans on February 5, 2024, to cut 3% to 5% of its positions as part of a restructuring program. This could result in eliminating up to 3,100 jobs as the company looks to shore up its profits and adapt to a market that has seen falling sales, particularly in China. Estée Lauder's restructuring plan responds to changing consumer behaviors and a shift toward online sales.


American Airlines

American Airlines, to reorganize and improve its customer service team, announced layoffs that will eliminate 8.2% of its 8,000 customer service-related positions. This totals 656 employees who are not represented by a union. The layoffs are part of the airline's strategy to handle customer complaints and issues more efficiently, with affected employees continuing to work and be paid through March 30, 2024.


Canada


Bell Canada Enterprises

Bell Canada Enterprises, one of the country's largest telecommunications companies, announced on February 8, 2024, that it would cut nine percent of its workforce, which accounts for 4,800 jobs. This decision is part of a broader strategy to streamline operations and enhance efficiency as the company adapts to the rapidly changing telecommunications landscape. 


Enbridge

Enbridge, the Calgary-based pipeline giant, announced plans to cut 650 positions over February. The company cited "increasingly challenging" economic conditions as the main driver for the reduction, indicating the pressures faced by the energy sector as it navigates market volatility and transitions toward renewable energy sources.


BCE Inc.

BCE Inc., also known as Bell Canada Enterprises, has made a significant decision to reduce its workforce. On February 8, 2024, the company announced a substantial layoff affecting nine percent of its employees, amounting to approximately 4,800 jobs. This major staff reduction is part of Bell's efforts to streamline operations and improve efficiency as the telecommunications industry faces ongoing transformations. The layoffs come as Bell, like many companies in the sector, needs to adapt to changes such as the shift towards digital communication, new competitive pressures, and evolving consumer demands. The layoff at BCE Inc. represents one of the more substantial workforce reductions in the Canadian telecommunications industry, signaling a significant shift in the company's operational strategy. 


Australia

Westpac Banking Corp: Westpac, one of the largest banks in Australia, has eliminated 132 jobs from its operations. This decision is part of a company-wide initiative to streamline its structure and reduce costs in a highly competitive banking landscape. The layoffs indicate the financial sector's response to technological changes and customer behavior shifts, driving the need for operational efficiency.


ANZ Group

Australia's fourth-biggest bank, plans to cut 170 jobs at its commercial banking operations, according to a workers' union. This move reflects the ongoing restructuring within the financial services industry as banks seek to optimize operations and reduce costs.


Cisco

Networking giant Cisco has announced a 5% reduction of its global workforce, impacting operations in Australia. The layoffs are part of Cisco's broader global restructuring plan to reduce costs and focus on high-growth opportunities. The tech industry's ongoing adjustments are part of a trend where companies are recalibrating their strategies to navigate a post-pandemic market.


Africa

Jumia

Jumia, often dubbed "the Amazon of Africa," had to conduct layoffs for the second time within a year. The exact number of affected employees has not been publicly disclosed, but this follows the discontinuation of Jumia Food, the company's food delivery business. The layoffs are part of broader cost-cutting measures as Jumia strives to reach profitability amidst intense competition and a challenging economic environment in several African markets.


Asia

  • Cisco: Cisco Systems Inc. has laid off around 4,250 employees, representing 5% of its global workforce. The layoffs are part of Cisco's strategic realignment towards growth areas such as cloud computing and cybersecurity. The tech giant's decision reflects the challenges faced by the industry in adapting to the rapidly changing technology landscape and maintaining competitiveness. 
  • Daraz Group: The Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform Daraz Group has made significant job cuts across its operations to become more streamlined and agile. The layoffs are indicative of the broader e-commerce industry's efforts to remain competitive and responsive to market dynamics. Daraz Group's restructuring aims to enhance operational efficiency and focus on sustainable growth strategies (Reuters).
  • Riot Games, known for popular games like League of Legends, has announced an 11% staff reduction. Riot Games operates globally, with a significant presence in Asia, including countries like South Korea, Japan, and China. The layoffs are part of the company's effort to refocus its operations and maintain efficiency in the face of industry-wide challenges such as changing player demographics and the need to innovate in a highly competitive gaming market.


Europe 

  • Forvia, a French-German auto parts manufacturer, announced a significant reduction in its workforce, planning to cut 13% of its employees in Europe over the coming years. This layoff will affect up to 10,000 jobs by 2028, with the company aiming to adapt to the transition towards electric vehicles and increased competition from Chinese rivals. The move is part of Forvia's strategy to remain competitive in the evolving automotive industry and is expected to be primarily achieved through natural attrition. 
  • IBM is embarking on a new round of global job cuts and has offered voluntary redundancy to its staff as part of a cost-saving initiative to achieve significant reductions in its workforce. The European Works Council has informed employees that approximately 50% of IBM's reduction goal will impact staffing levels in Europe, with the company expecting to downsize overall staffing by about 4%. This downsizing effort comes as IBM seeks to rebalance its workforce, focusing on areas such as AI and cloud computing while trimming positions in other departments.
  • Worldline, a French digital payments company, announced it would cut its global workforce by around 8%, which is part of a plan to achieve €200 million in annual cost savings from 2025. This decision comes as the company faces financial challenges and reduced sales, prompting a restructuring effort to improve efficiency and competitiveness in the market. The layoffs are expected to contribute to Worldline's ability to better compete in an increasingly digital financial landscape.
  • Continental AG, the German automotive parts supplier, has announced a workforce reduction impacting approximately 13% of its European employees, translating to about 10,000 jobs to cut by 2028. The layoffs are part of the company's strategy to adjust to the automotive industry's shift toward electric vehicles and to cope with increased competition. Continental AG aims to improve competitiveness and efficiency as the sector transforms, with the job cuts primarily resulting from attrition over the next five years. 
  • A notable layoff announcement in France came from Societe Generale, one of the country's largest banks. Societe Generale plans to cut approximately 900 jobs at its Paris headquarters as part of a cost-cutting program. The layoffs are expected to be carried out through voluntary departures. This reduction represents less than 2% of the bank's total French workforce. The move is part of broader efforts by the financial institution to streamline its operations and improve profitability amidst a challenging banking environment.
  • Another significant layoff in France involves the French digital payments company Worldline. The company announced it would cut its global workforce by around 8% as part of a cost reduction plan. While the exact figures for the impact on the French workforce were not specified, this decision indicates the pressures the fintech sector faces as it seeks to manage costs and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market.
  • Miele, the German household appliance manufacturer, is facing economic pressures that have led to the decision to cut up to 2,700 jobs. The company is grappling with low demand and rising costs, necessitating these layoffs as part of a broader effort to streamline operations and return its core business to profitability. The job cuts at Miele reflect the challenges within the consumer goods sector as companies adapt to changing market conditions and consumer spending habits. 
  • Deutsche Bank has announced plans to reduce its workforce by 3,500 jobs as part of a cost-cutting measure aiming to save €2.5 billion ($2.7 billion) by 2025. The job cuts, expected to affect nonclient-facing roles, are a response to the bank's post-pandemic strategic adjustments and an effort to boost profits amid a period of higher global interest rates. Deutsche Bank's layoffs underscore the ongoing trend of workforce reductions in the global banking industry as financial institutions seek to enhance efficiency and manage costs.


Conclusion 

As we conclude our roundup of global layoffs in February 2024, it is evident that the wave of job cuts has not been confined to any single region or industry. From the tech giants of Silicon Valley to the banking halls of Paris, from the Canadian telecommunications sector to the e-commerce platforms of South Asia, companies worldwide face the challenge of adapting their workforces to a shifting economic landscape.


These layoffs, although unfortunate, are part of a broader global realignment as companies strive to position themselves for sustainable growth in a post-pandemic world that continues to evolve rapidly. While the immediate impact on the workforce is palpable, these changes lead to more robust, more agile businesses capable of thriving in the future economic environment. As we move forward, it will be crucial for both employees and employers to remain adaptable, upskill where necessary, and embrace the potential opportunities that arise from the ever-changing world of work.



Memory Nguwi
Super User
This article was written by Memory a Super User at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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