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Amazon: News of Amazon layoffs in US create ripples in India, Retail News, ET Retail

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ENGALURU: Online retail giant Amazon’s reported move of laying off employees in its Seattle headquarters and global operations is likely to have an impact on the India business, too.

On Monday, US media reported that Amazon was laying off “hundreds” of employees in Seattle, as well as several others in its global operations. Amazon confirmed to the US media that this was part of its annual planning process, and that it was making head-count adjustments across the company.

According to a source familiar with developments, there has been some restructuring in the India business in the last few months as well. Several employees have been let go from their teams and have been moved internally to other open roles in the company, while some employees across teams have been put on performance improvement plans. Amazon is known to have hired aggressively over the past few years. The company’s total employee strength globally jumped from 3.4 lakh in December 2016 to 5.6 lakh in December 2017.

The person cited above said Amazon has “over hired” in India and is likely to trim the operations into shape. Amazon India said the company continues to “hire rapidly for all our headcount requirements for India” but did not respond to specific queries, directing ET to the 449 job openings on its website. But a few of these positions have been open since 2015. Another person also said the US layoffs will likely have repercussions on the India unit.

According to the first source, several teams have undergone restructuring since November last year. While some teams that have been hit harder are the recruiting and consulting employees, it has also had an impact on the technology teams. Amazon is said to have about 50,000 employees across all its units in India, with about 30,000 staff comprising delivery boys and warehouse employees. It is unclear what the size of the impact of the restructuring will be. India is the second largest workforce centre for Amazon after the US, where it has executives working on global product development for over 12 years much before it launched its consumer-facing business in 2013.

“It is an indication of how fast technology is changing at Amazon,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of TeamLease.

“They are letting go of people whose roles have transformed while they continue to hire people for other roles. India (Amazon's unit) inherits development happening at the global level.” “While Amazon was hiring aggressively in India two years ago, they may be becoming more efficient. There will be rationalisation,” she said. But, a few other experts ET spoke to said given that Amazon is fighting a tough battle with Flipkart here, it is unlikely there will be any significant changes.

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