Anybody who thought big tech might be as recession-proof as medicine, education and funeral services has just been proved decidedly wrong, with Google, Microsoft and Spotify all welcoming 2023 with mass layoffs.

Microsoft kicked things off last week by giving 10,000 employees redundancy notices — a move which shaves off around 5% of the workforce. That’s on top of the 1,000 it reportedly let go back in October — something we can now consider a starter before the unpalatable main course arrived. 

Speaking of things that leave a bad taste in the mouth, news of the redundancy arrived in affected employees’ inboxes the morning after Microsoft had reportedly hired Sting to perform a private concert for 50 executives — the cost of which could likely have covered a few staffers’ salaries. Bravo, Microsoft.

Not to be outdone by Microsoft’s bloodletting, Google’s parent company Alphabet was next in line, announcing it would sacrifice even more of its hard-working employees in the name of making the bottom line look better. That’s 12,000 of its employees — or around 6% of its workforce. Affected areas include Chrome, Cloud, Area 120 (that’s experimental products, not aliens) and AI. 

Finally (for now — touch wood), Spotify revealed it would be axing 6% of its estimated ~10,000-strong workforce. They say you shouldn’t beat around the bush when delivering bad news, so a ‘must try harder’ award for Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who doesn’t mention the redundancies until the 11th paragraph of the note sent out to employees.

“In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth,” he wrote. Though the word “sorry” is notably absent from the remaining 1,086 words.

Hopefully those leaving will get a generous payoff, because the big tech job market doesn’t look enormously inviting right now. In the final few months of 2022, Meta cut 11,000 jobs, Twitter around 4,800 and Snap 1,300

Glass half-full: if you’re a tech startup with a lot of money, there’s a lot of talent out there looking for work. A good time for anyone who conned Elon Musk into paying NZ$75.6 billion for Twitter to get their thinking caps on…

Image: Vojtech Okenka / Pexels