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Visualizing Tech Company Layoffs in 2022

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Visualizing Tech Company Layoffs in 2022

Layoffs are happening so frequently in 2022 that everyone from Crunchbase to Indian tech website Inc42 are now keeping track.

There is even a standalone website tracking all tech layoffs in the United States.

For the purposes of this infographic, we’ve used data from trueup.io which includes a mix of U.S. and international tech companies that have let workers go in 2022.

A Thousand Cuts: Mass Layoffs by Tech Companies

Layoffs are having an impact on the entire tech industry, and the phenomenon is global. Here are some of the most high-profile examples of mass layoffs in 2022:

Meta: The social media giant faces competition from upstarts like TikTok, as well as a pool of ad dollars that is shrinking in the face of a faltering economy. Although this reduction in headcount is painful for Meta, it’s worth considering a more broad perspective. In close to two decades of doing business, these will be the company’s first wide-scale job cuts.

Twitter: Though Meta wins with sheer volume of cuts, Twitter’s mass layoffs are surely the most dramatic. In early November, the company’s iconoclastic new owner, Elon Musk, slashed 50% of the workforce, and soon after, thousands of contractors also suddenly lost their jobs. Estimating how many employees remain at the company will remain a challenge until the dust settles.

Byju’s: Layoffs are not just confined to the United States. India’s sizable tech sector is also facing cuts. EdTech giant, Byju’s, laid off 2,500 employees in October—around 5% of its total workforce.

Peloton: The high-end workout equipment company has been dropping its headcount throughout the year. In the visualization above, companies like Meta stand out as they eliminated thousands of employees all at once. Peloton, however, executed its layoffs in stages throughout the year. After strong growth during the pandemic began to stagnate, the company is slimming down to regain profitability.

Why are Tech Companies Laying Off so Many People?

The stated reasons for letting so many workers go are economic uncertainty (external factors) and poor performance (internal factors).

Goldman Sachs Research points out that “higher interest rates and tighter financial conditions disproportionately impact the sector because tech company profits are typically expected further out in the future and therefore subject to greater duration risk.”

Shrinking advertising budgets and the implosion of the cryptocurrency market are also factors that may have influenced the decision to cut headcounts. Twitter and Snapchat fall into the former bucket, while Coinbase and Kraken fall into the latter.

What Do These Job Cuts Mean for the Economy?

At face value, widespread layoffs in the tech sector might appear to be a bad omen for the wider economy—especially given the outsize influence tech companies have on the markets.

Thankfully, this does not appear to be the case. Payroll and wage data from the U.S. government have exceeded expectations, and the country’s unemployment rate is close to a half-century low.

So, why the disconnect?

First off, tech jobs only account for less than 3% of total employment in America. As well, tech workers who’ve lost their jobs have a high likelihood of securing a new job in short order.

It remains to be seen whether November will be the peak of job cuts. Employers generally try to avoid letting people go right before the holiday season. One week into December, Trueup.io has tracked 7,600 more layoffs.

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Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?

The majority of billion-dollar startups in the U.S. have at least one immigrant founder. Here is where those founders are from.

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Where are Immigrant Founders of U.S. Unicorns From?

The majority of U.S. unicorns—private startups worth more than $1 billion—have at least one immigrant founder, according to the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

While some of the companies and founders are well known, like SpaceX from South Africa’s Elon Musk, hundreds of lesser-known unicorns have been founded from the top talent of just a handful of countries.

This visual using NFAP data lays out the countries which are home to the most U.S. billion-dollar startup founders as of May 2022.

Note: These rankings are based on unicorn valuations as of May 2022. As valuations regularly fluctuate, some companies may have gained or lost unicorn status since that time.

Countries with the Most U.S. Unicorn Founders

Here’s a look at the countries that these immigrant founders come from.

The 382 founders accounted for below have combined to start 319 of 582 U.S.-based unicorns.

RankCountry# Founders of
U.S. Unicorns
1🇮🇳 India66
2🇮🇱 Israel54
3🇬🇧 United Kingdom27
4🇨🇦 Canada22
5🇨🇳 China21
6🇫🇷 France18
7🇩🇪 Germany15
8🇷🇺 Russia11
9🇺🇦 Ukraine10
10🇮🇷 Iran8
11🇦🇺 Australia7
T12🇮🇹 Italy6
T12🇳🇬 Nigeria6
T12🇵🇱 Poland6
T12🇷🇴 Romania6
T16🇦🇷 Argentina5
T16🇧🇷 Brazil5
T16🇳🇿 New Zealand5
T16🇵🇰 Pakistan5
T16🇰🇷 South Korea5
T21🇩🇰 Denmark4
T21🇵🇹 Portugal4
T21🇪🇸 Spain4
T24🇧🇾 Belarus3
T24🇧🇬 Bulgaria3
T24🇮🇪 Ireland3
T24🇰🇪 Kenya3
T24🇱🇧 Lebanon3
T24🇵🇭 Philippines3
T24🇿🇦 South Africa3
T24🇹🇼 Taiwan3
T24🇹🇷 Turkey3
T33🇦🇲 Armenia2
T33🇨🇿 Czech Republic2
T33🇬🇷 Greece2
T33🇲🇽 Mexico2
T33🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia2
T33🇸🇬 Singapore2
T33🇨🇭 Switzerland2
T33🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2
T41🇦🇹 Austria1
T41🇧🇩 Bangladesh1
T41🇧🇧 Barbados1
T41🇨🇴 Colombia1
T41🇩🇴 Dominican Republic1
T41🇪🇬 Egypt1
T33🇬🇪 Georgia1
T41🇮🇶 Iraq1
T41🇯🇴 Jordan1
T41🇱🇻 Latvia1
T41🇱🇹 Lithuania1
T41🇲🇹 Malta1
T41🇲🇦 Morocco1
T41🇳🇱 Netherlands1
T41🇳🇴 Norway1
T41🇵🇪 Peru1
T41🇶🇦 Qatar1
T41🇸🇮 Slovenia1
T41🇻🇪 Venezuela1

Far in the lead is India with 66 startup founders and Israel with 54 startup founders. Together, they account for 31% of all unicorn founders listed. In fact, more than half of the immigrant unicorn founders came from just six countries: India, Israel, the UK, Canada, China, and France.

These immigrant founders have helped found many of the world’s biggest startups:

  • Stripe was co-founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison
  • Instacart’s founder and former CEO, Apoorva Mehta, was born in India, then moved to Libya and Canada as a child.
  • Big data startup Databricks was founded by a group of seven computer scientists from the University of California, including five immigrants from Iran, Romania, and China.
  • Immigration and Entrepreneurship

    Though some of these founders came to the U.S. as successful business leaders, the report noted that many immigrated as children or international students.

    In addition, there are another 51 founders (not included in the above statistics) that were not immigrants themselves but are first-generation Americans born to immigrant parents. Data from the report also shows that 80% of unicorns have an immigrant in some key role, whether it’s as a founder, a C-level executive, or some other crucial position.

    Even historically, some of the biggest companies in the U.S. were not founded by Americans. For example, the founders of Procter & Gamble emigrated from England and Ireland in the early 1800s. And today, one of the biggest companies in the U.S. is NVIDIA, which recently broached a trillion dollar market cap and whose founder is from Taiwan.

    The Ever-Changing Unicorn Landscape

    While this dataset is from mid-2022, it should be noted that the startup ecosystem has shifted drastically in just the last year.

    Rapidly rising interest rates and a slowdown in venture capital have conspired to create a more precarious fundraising environment, leading to down rounds and stagnation for some of these billion-dollar companies.

    In Q1 2023, unicorn births declined 89%, suggesting that in upcoming years the unicorn list—and the number of immigrant founders—may be subject to change.

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