In what is assuredly a shocking blow to its employees, eBay has just announced it is about to lay off a thousand members of its workforce. Many companies have been seeing massive layoffs since last year. This includes multinational giants like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, who have laid off thousands of employees. eBay is the most recent large corporation to follow this trend, it seems. This news comes after eBay’s CEO Jamie Iannone sent a note to eBay’s internal staff on the 23rd of January.
What did Jamie Iannone talk about in his note?
The note shared by the CEO starts off by talking about how eBay has been having a “meaningful improvement” in recent years. He talks about the company taking measures and decisions that have “accelerated the pace of innovation”. The first two paragraphs continue to talk about eBay’s growth and success, and how more needs to be done. It’s the third paragraph where things take a more depressing turn.
Jamie Iannone mentions how the toughest decision the company needs to make now is to “reduce our current workforce”. This isn’t just some small layoff, either; 9% of eBay’s entire full-time workforce is being let go. Jamie says this need has arisen because the company’s expenses have outpaced its growth. Employees that will be laid off will be notified shortly, and directly, via Zoom calls. Jamie also says that these employees will be provided with “support and resources”. Lastly, he closes off the note promising a better, stronger eBay going forward.
Possible reasons why eBay is about to lay off employees
There is a worrying trend to be seen here. Companies worldwide, big and small, are downsizing drastically and quickly. This is because there are a multitude of factors at play here. For example, it is true that some companies’ expenses have outpaced their growth. It’s something that has been happening ever since the Covid-19 lockdowns. However, there is also another reason why these layoffs might be happening now; AI.
All of these major layoffs have taken place after the advent of generative AI in early 2023. As more AI tools became mainstream, more people began to be replaced. It is highly probable that, to cut costs, these workers that are being let go are being replaced by AI. Many of these roles consisted of text-based or call-based customer support, which can very easily be automated with AI. In fact, these roles work more efficiently with AI. So it’s easy to see the allure for companies in replacing their workers with chatbots. Or, it might just be that some roles are becoming outdated as more and more advancements take place in the retail industry. This is just speculation, however.
eBay is one of many companies that is having significant layoffs- Google recently laid off a ton of its employees as well. The transition to AI will continue to see many jobs being automated, and many more workers being laid off. It remains to be seen if new jobs centered around managing these AI tools crop up, bringing humans back into the workforce.
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