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These are the Canadian companies laying off staff amid the post-pandemic tech wreck

·3 min read
no0810Hootsuite
no0810Hootsuite

Social media management platform Hootsuite Inc. became the latest Canadian tech company to issue major layoffs when it announced it was cutting 30 per cent of its staff on Tuesday.

The move comes as a cooling economy has dimmed the prospects for high-growth companies, especially those that benefitted from the shift to e-commerce during the pandemic.

Giants such as Amazon.com Inc. have not been immune from the changing economic picture, either. Earlier this month, Amazon said it had reduced its staffing levels by 100,000 positions by slowing hiring.

Here’s a rundown of the major tech layoffs that have hit Canada recently.

Hootsuite

Vancouver-based Hootsuite said Tuesday’s 30 per cent cut to global staffing would bring its head count to just over 1,000 and was part of an effort to restructure the company.

In an email statement, chief executive Tom Keiser said the move was made as the company refocuses its strategies “to drive efficiency, growth and financial sustainability.”

“We want to be very clear this decision is not a reflection on them, or their work. It is indicative of a change to our business that realigns our strategies with the positions we need to be successful,” Keiser said.

Last month, the company announced a rebranding, saying it was time to rethink its “integrated branding strategy to better reflect our position and our direction as the social experts, trusted partners, and joyful mentors.”

Shopify

Canadian tech giant Shopify Inc. was the most prominent company to cut staff when it laid off 10 per cent of its staff on July 26 after a bet on continuous e-commerce growth failed to pay off.

The cuts of approximately 1,000 employees primarily affected those in recruiting, support and sales.

Chief executive Tobi Lütke said the company expected the surge it saw at the height of the pandemic to be permanent and thought they had to expand to keep pace. Instead, growth has since fallen back to pre-COVID trendlines as consumers now return to shopping at physical retail stores.

“Ultimately, placing this bet was my call to make and I got this wrong. Now, we have to adjust,” Lütke said.

Article

Vancouver-based online furniture retailer Article laid off 216 employees, or 17 per cent of its team, last week.

In a post on Article’s website, co-founder and chief executive Aamir Baig said the company was operating “at a size larger than current demand would sustain” and needed to resize the business.

“Like many eCommerce companies, we benefited tremendously from the demand increase from COVID. We anticipated the trend to online purchasing would be sustained — that did not happen, and it has since returned to pre-COVID trends,” he said.

Clearco

Michele Romanow’s startup Clearco laid off 25 per cent of its workforce on July 29, saying the company increased its headcount too quickly in anticipation of continued growth.

Clearco said 125 people of their 500-person team were affected by the cuts.

In a memo to staff, the Dragons’ Den star said they were building to match the growth of the economy and are now facing “significant headwinds” that didn’t exist six months ago.

Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple laid off 13 per cent of its workforce on June 16, citing “immense volatility” in markets. The financial services company said it let go of 159 of its 1,262 employees.

In a letter to staff, chief executive Michael Katchen positioned the cuts as part of the fallout from months of seeing the market soar and Wealthsimple grow at an “unprecedented” rate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With reporting from the Canadian Press

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