In recent times, the global economic landscape has witnessed significant changes, and India’s corporate sector has been no exception. Various Indian companies across industries have faced challenges, leading them to implement employee layoffs as a means to optimize operations, restructure business models, or navigate through uncertain times. This feature aims to shed light on some notable Indian companies that have resorted to workforce reductions, highlighting the factors contributing to these decisions and their potential impact on the affected employees and the broader business ecosystem.
Last year witnessed lakhs of people losing their jobs as companies resorted to layoffs amid economic uncertainty and a funding winter. As many as 1,052 tech companies fired 1,61,411 people. However, the layoff wave didn’t end in 2022 but has continued to 2023 too. In this year alone, over 500 tech firms have issued pink slips to over 1,50,000 employees
The layoffs are a global phenomenon and India is not an exception to that. Numerous homegrown startups and companies have also fired thousands of workers. These include Edtech major Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu, Swiggy, Ola, to name a few.
Company-wise layoffs in India from past few years:
One of the largest layoffs in the telecom sector will result from this. Earlier, as part of its cost-cutting strategy, the producer of telecom equipment Ericsson fired 8,500 people worldwide. Margherita Della Valle, the new CEO of Vodafone, said that the company’s decision to eliminate positions was made because it wanted a “simpler” structure since it expects little to no growth in profitability for the upcoming fiscal year. Vodafone has now made the decision to eliminate 11,000 positions over the next three years. Earlier, thousands of positions had been eliminated by corporations like Amazon, Google, Meta, and others.
With the loss of 1,000 employees in Italy earlier this year and a media story that it was considering 1,300 job cuts in Germany, Vodafone has lately made employment cuts in a number of its major regions. Regarding the proposed merger of its British operations with Hutchison’s Three UK, Vodafone stated that it was impossible to predict if any transaction would eventually be approved.
Startup layoffs are still prevalent, with one company that is owned by a company that processes credit card bills, CRED, laying off close to 35 160 workers as part of a reorganization effort. In a cash and equity agreement that valued the business at $180 million, CRED purchased Happay in December 2021.
The media claimed that Happay, a supplier of corporate cost management solutions and a subsidiary of credit card bill payment company CRED, has reduced its personnel by approximately 35% as part of a restructuring effort. In a cash and equity agreement that valued the business at $180 million, CRED purchased Happay in December 2021.
One of India’s leading IT services companies, Infosys, announced a workforce reduction in 2022 as part of its restructuring efforts. The company aimed to streamline its workforce to enhance efficiency and productivity. However, it simultaneously emphasized its commitment to reskilling and redeploying impacted employees within the organization.
4. Air India
Facing financial constraints, Air India, the national carrier of India, underwent a substantial workforce reduction in recent years. The government-owned airline implemented a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) as part of its turnaround plan. This initiative aimed to reduce costs and increase operational efficiency in a challenging aviation market.
Oyo, a prominent Indian hospitality startup, implemented employee layoffs in 2020 due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel and tourism industry. The company experienced a significant downturn in business, leading to the need for cost-cutting measures, including workforce reduction, to sustain its operations.
Zomato, a popular online food delivery platform, laid off a portion of its workforce in 2020 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the restaurant industry. The company faced operational challenges due to reduced orders and closure of dining establishments, prompting a restructuring effort that included employee layoffs.
7. Mahindra & Mahindra
Even established companies like Mahindra & Mahindra, a renowned Indian automobile manufacturer, had to resort to employee layoffs. In 2020, the company announced job cuts to optimize costs and realign its business strategies in response to the challenging market conditions caused by the pandemic and economic slowdown.
Implications and Employee Welfare
Workforce reductions undoubtedly have significant consequences for the affected employees, including financial uncertainties and career disruptions. However, some companies have emphasized efforts to support their impacted workforce through initiatives such as severance packages, career transition support, retraining programs, and job placement assistance.
It is important to note that while layoffs may be a necessary step for companies to navigate challenging circumstances, it is crucial for organizations to balance short-term cost-cutting measures with the long-term implications on employee morale, talent retention, and overall organizational culture.
Workforce reductions have become a prevalent strategy for many Indian companies in recent times, driven by various factors such as economic downturns, industry disruptions, and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While these measures are often implemented to ensure business sustainability, it is vital for organizations to strike a balance between short-term cost-saving measures and the welfare of their employees. Companies that prioritize comprehensive employee support during such transitions stand a better chance of preserving a positive employer brand and facilitating the successful recovery of their businesses.