Zoom to lay off corporate employees

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

Zoom Video Communications Inc. will lay off 1,300 employees, following the company’s rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO Eric Yuan announced the layoffs in a Feb. 7 blog post on the company’s website. He called the decision a “difficult” one to make and held himself accountable for the mistakes that were made.

“I know this is a difficult message to hear, and certainly not one I ever wanted to deliver,” he wrote.

Yuan added that Zoom must adapt to its new post-pandemic environment as the company faces the “uncertainty of the global economy.” He said the cuts will affect every aspect of the company.

Employees who were affected by the layoffs will receive severance package options. These include 16 weeks of continued salary payments, healthcare coverage and payment of their earned annual bonus for the coming fiscal year — which is based on the company’s performance. Another option is outplacement services, which include one-on-one coaching, workshops and networking groups.

In addition to the company’s layoffs, Yuan said that members of Zoom’s executive leadership team — which he is a part of — will cut parts of their salaries. Yuan plans to cut 98% from his $300,000 salary. Other members of the executive team will take away 20% from their salaries.

“As the CEO and founder of Zoom, I am accountable for these mistakes and the actions we take today — and I want to show accountability not just in words but in my own actions,” Yuan wrote.

Shares of the California-based company closed at $84.66, resulting from a nearly 10% gain during trading hours on Feb. 7. Zoom’s stock decreased by 40% within the past 12 months. 

Zoom became a household name during the pandemic, when many people were ordered to stay at home. They relied on video conferencing services to communicate with co-workers, attend school, hold meetings as well as to reach out to loved ones who were separated from them due to worldwide lockdowns.

Pandemic-related growth has since slowed as demand and sales declined during Zoom’s first quarter for 2022, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Zoom is the latest company in the technology industry to cut its workforce by significant numbers.

According to data compiled by Layoffs, nearly 359 tech companies have laid off a combined total of close to 105,514 workers since the start of this year, as of Feb. 16.Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. laid off over 12,000 of its employees, who make up roughly 12% of its workforce, on Jan. 20. Microsoft Corp. confirmed plans to lay off 10,000 employees due to slow revenue growth. Yahoo also laid off 20% of its workforce.

Technology companies in the entertainment space also took financial hits. Popular streaming service Netflix Inc. reportedly laid off 150 employees in May 2022.