Tech job redundancies are continuing across the economy, with Accenture, the consulting arm of IBM, and Amazon the latest to confirm cuts.
The cuts add to the job losses at other global tech giants this year, including Microsoft, Google, and Meta. Earlier this month, Atlassian also cut 500 jobs globally, while Xero announced it would cut 700-800 jobs globally.
On Thursday, Accenture announced it expects to cut 19,000 jobs across its global business over the next 18 months — which is 2.5 per cent of its around 738,000 strong workforce. It also tempered its growth forecast slightly, from 8-11 per cent to 8-10 per cent.
According to a filing to the United States’ Security and Exchanges Commission, the IT consultancy expects “over half of these departures will consist of people in our non-billable corporate functions”. These include non-client facing roles including those involved in the managing of internal systems.
Accenture chief financial officer KC McClure told an earnings call last night (AEDT) that 800 of the job cuts would be among its “leaders across our markets and services”.
InnovaionAus.com also understands that the firm made the decision in the last few weeks to freeze its Australian Graduate Program.
Accenture did not respond to questions when approached for comment.
Earlier in the week, IBM Consulting reportedly also cut between 45 and 75 people from its Australian business, but total number of redundancies is unclear as some staff have been redeployed to other parts of the business.
The cuts were reportedly concentrated in the hybrid cloud consulting services arm of the business, which supports the adoption and use of cloud computing services.
An IBM spokesperson did not respond directly to questions by InnovationAus.com, but said the company “is focused on accelerating our clients’ digital transformation journeys through the power of AI and hybrid cloud technologies”.
“Our culture reinforces that focus with an emphasis on performance, and ensuring we have the right mix of expertise and skills that clients depend on,” the spokesperson added.
This week, Amazon also announced an additional 9,000 job losses across its global business, taking the total number of redundancies at the firm this year to 27,000. In a message to Amazon employees, chief executive Andy Jassy said the cuts were “mostly in AWS [Amazon Web Services], PXT, Advertising, and Twitch”.
“For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount. This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole,” Mr Jassy’s message reads.
“However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount.”
While the post did not disclose the specific impact on Amazon’s Australian workforce, the cuts are likely to be felt in Australia, with most of Amazon’s permanent domestic workforce part of Amazon Web Services.
At the end of 2022, Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer argued that “the tech industry layoffs are basically an instance of social contagion, in which companies imitate what others are doing”. He also noted that “layoffs are the result of imitative behavior and are not particularly evidence-based.
Founder of the Australian National University’s Tech Policy Design Centre Professor Johanna Weaver told InnovationAus.com that it is important to pay attention to “the types of layoffs. Not just the numbers of layoffs”.
“If it is trust and safety teams, for example, this will exacerbate the challenges the tech sector has in demonstrating a commitment to building tech responsibly. That is not a good outcome for society, and it’s not a good outcome for the tech sector — it will only drive more strident responses from government,” Professor Weaver said.
Despite the redundancies at Atlassian and Xero, Canva continues to emphasise the security of its workforce. In January, Canva joined several other Australian tech firms, including TechnologyOne and SafetyCulture, in confirming they had no plans to cut jobs.
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