Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said that 13% of its global staff, or around 11,000 employees, would be let go. It’s the 18-year-old social media behemoth’s first round of mass tech layoffs.
Singapore’s Asia-Pacific headquarters were also affected. Media sources said that up to 100 of the estimated 1,000 workers here, the most of whom are software developers and other computer professionals, may have been impacted.
According to data from the Singapore Ministry of Manpower for 2021, around 45,000 of the 177,100 holders of employment passes are from India. The highest qualified foreign professionals who are permitted to work in the nation are those who hold employment passes and must make at least SGD 5,000 (USD 3,700) each month. There is no doubt that many of these are impacted by the layoffs at Meta as well as other tech-related redundancies.
In response to slow consumer spending, rising interest rates, and inflation, technology companies around the world, including in Singapore, a significant tech hub where many of the big giants have their regional headquarters, are halting recruiting or reducing.
The parent firm of Shopee and Garena, publishers of games like League of Legends and Free Fire, and Sea Limited, a Singapore-based gaming and e-commerce behemoth, made two rounds of layoffs and revoked job offers in June and September. According to the company’s most recent annual report, Sea had 67,300 employees as of the end of 2021, more than double the number from the year before.
14% of the staff at Singapore-based digital wealth management StashAway were let go. 5% of the staff at currency exchange Crypto.com were laid off.
The company reduced its overseas footprint and peripheral businesses in an effort to increase profitability by strengthening its position in its key markets and core products in the wake of a net loss of USD931 million in the second quarter of this year, amid rising borrowing costs and a slowing global economy.
Although the corporation kept the number of job layoffs a secret, it is believed that hundreds of people may lose their jobs at its offices worldwide, including those in Singapore.
According to Jessica Huang Pouleur, a partner at venture capital company Openspace, “Last year, a lot of what happened was a lot of cheap funding in the market flooded the market (which) allowed companies to develop really at any cost.” “What happened was that hiring happened really quickly. You just throw people at your problem because you have one. I believe that throughout the course of the upcoming several months, we’ll probably see more of it.
The Singapore-based digital wealth manager StashAway, which let go of 31 employees, or 14% of its workforce, and the currency exchange Crypto.com, which let go of 260 employees, or 5% of its Singapore workforce, are two Southeast Asian businesses that reduced their workforces in the middle of the year. In the meantime, the Malaysian online retailer iPrice laid off 250 people, or 25% of its workforce, and the Indonesian education technology firm Zenius laid off more than 200 staff.
Twitter and the start-up for digital payments Stripe were two businesses who cut staff in their Singapore offices in November.
On November 3, Stripe said that it would reduce 1,000 global jobs, or 14%, from its staff. After the layoffs, Stripe will employ around 7,000 people. A few jobs in Singapore were affected.
A week following Elon Musk’s takeover, Twitter cut around 3,700 jobs, or half of its global workforce. People working in the Singapore office also experienced this. The engineering, sales, and marketing departments’ employees were among those impacted, according to Singapore’s Straits Times.
Due to a decrease in venture capital financing levels this year, startups in the area were particularly negatively impacted. In the first quarter of 2022, funding in the region decreased by 7% to USD 36.3 billion from the same quarter the previous year, according to a Crunchbase analysis.
As a result of people spending more time at home due to the COVID pandemic and developing habits that increased demand for internet services, many IT firms experienced fast growth. Some of these behaviours have changed when consumer behaviour started to normalise following the lockdowns. All tech companies are under pressure as a result of this, as well as inflation and rising interest rates. The recent decline in share prices of major IT companies is referred to as an overdue correction by some.
While short-term market volatility and effects on revenue and employment in the tech sector are projected, long-term growth is anticipated for the sector.
According to a recent study by consultancy and recruitment expert Mercer, the demand for digital expertise and positions in Asia continues to outpace supply. The beginning salary for graduates with a computing degree are cited by Mercer as supporting evidence. When comparing Mercer’s data from 2018 and taking into account how long it typically takes one cohort to complete an average degree course in most places, there has been significant growth, which has been primarily driven by massive hiring in emerging tech markets like Vietnam (up 59%), as well as lower-tier Chinese cities (22 percent increase).
Asia’s economies are also evolving toward more digitalization. The internet economy in Southeast Asia is expected to double to USD 363 billion by 2025, surpassing the prior prediction of USD 300 billion, according to research from Google, Temasek Holdings, and Bain & Co.
Dr. Natalie Pang told Channel NewsAsia that there are always “periods of substantial adjustments and corrections” in the tech sector, like the “dotcom boom” in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Trusted Internet and Community, Dr. Pang serves as the director of research.
“During the latter two years of the pandemic, widespread use of tech at work and at home fueled considerable development for the business, but the post-pandemic era has underlined the need to react and rectify,” she continued. “Given the recent layoffs, I’d suggest that technology is going through a significant time of upheaval.”