Indeed layoffs: ‘Your position has been impacted’

Indeed layoffsYou have prob­a­bly read about the lay­offs by now. The world’s largest job board has laid off 2,200 employ­ees, or about 15% of its . Its sis­ter site Glass­door also laid off 140 employ­ees – about 15% of its total. Apart the very real and painful impact on ex-employ­ees, the lay­off is the first sig­nif­i­cant one for Indeed, had until recent­ly been grow­ing like a prover­bial weed in almost all the where it was present. Employ­ees found out their fate via emails – those los­ing their jobs received an omi­nous mes­sage begin­ning “ Posi­tion Has Been Impact­ed.” My con­do­lences to those affect­ed – this is not the kind of news you want to hear from Man­age­ment.

So what’s up? The answer pro­vid­ed by Indeed’s CEO Chris Hymans for the Indeed lay­offs was straight­for­ward: “Last quar­ter, US total job open­ings were down 3.5% year-over-year, while spon­sored job vol­ume fell 33%. With future job open­ings at or below pre-pan­dem­ic lev­els, our orga­ni­za­tion is sim­ply too big for what lies ahead.” In words, too many peo­ple, not enough rev­enue. How­ev­er, I sus­pect that it was also the case that Indeed over­hired in reac­tion to rev­enue growth in 2021 and 2022. Respond­ing to mar­ket con­di­tions is an inex­act sci­ence involv­ing both analy­sis and guess­work – as many of Indeed’s cus­tomers would attest. A good part of Indeed’s growth in the past year was no doubt fueled by over­hir­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the tech sec­tor. Large employ­ers such as Ama­zon and Apple appeared to be ‘bank­ing’ tech tal­ent – an action that they regret­ted as soon as the econ­o­my cooled ever so slight­ly. And then there was that rocky roll­out of the CPA mod­el. Hmm.

But – as they say on TV – ‘there’s more!’. Recruit­ing Hold­ings recent­ly pro­vid­ed new guid­ance on their finan­cials. They low­ered their fore­cast for basic earn­ings per share, and also announced that oper­at­ing income will drop 10% – $2.04 bil­lion USD. The ‘restruc­tur­ing’ (i.e., the Indeed lay­offs) will cost the com­pa­ny an esti­mat­ed $139 mil­lion USD dur­ing the 4th quar­ter – sig­nif­i­cant, but still rel­a­tive­ly small for a com­pa­ny that pro­duced $6.6 bil­lion USD in rev­enue dur­ing Q3 2022.

What does this mean for the job board indus­try at large? First, now could be a time to hire some tal­ent­ed folks. Cuts were made in all areas, so peo­ple with skills rang­ing from sales to HR will be look­ing for their next oppor­tu­ni­ty. Sec­ond, giv­en Indeed’s role as the lead­ing job board, expect a pos­si­ble con­trac­tion of as those out­side the indus­try see the lay­offs as a rea­son not to invest. Final­ly, if your is direct­ly com­pet­ing with Indeed (for instance, per­haps you’re with LinkedIn or Adzu­na), then here’s your chance to shine. Wide­spread lay­offs tend to have a com­pa­ny-wide effect, even for those spared from the cuts. Indeed employ­ees may be think­ing more about retain­ing their jobs and less about gain­ing mar­ket share for the moth­er­ship. Com­pa­ny ini­tia­tives may be post­poned or elim­i­nat­ed. And the res­olute focus on goals – a long­time hall­mark of Indeed – may be a lit­tle less res­olute as folks over their shoul­ders. In oth­er words, Indeed’s own employ­ees may be a lit­tle dis­tract­ed. Let’s put it this way – if were com­pet­ing with Indeed, I would be ramp­ing up some major ini­tia­tive to take mar­ket share away from them!

It’s a bit iron­ic – the Indeed lay­offs come mere months after Recruit received a $2.7 bil­lion USD div­i­dend from the U.S. sub­sidiary. I guess it’s always “So what have you done for me late­ly”, eh? Oh well…

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