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EBay trims contractor workforce among major job cuts

eBay's London offices
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eBay cuts 1,000 jobs and reduces work for outside contractors

  • Move follows previous layoffs and reflects economic challenges.
  • Impact on contractors and long-term company strategy unclear.

In a double blow to its workforce, e-commerce giant eBay announced plans to trim both full-time employee jobs and outside contractor hours as it aims to regain financial agility. The move, impacting an estimated 1,000 employees (9% of the workforce) and a yet-to-be-specified number of contractors, comes amidst a “challenging” economic environment and the company’s ongoing struggle to compete with rivals like Amazon and Walmart.

While acknowledging progress on strategic initiatives, eBay executives conceded that “overall headcount and expenses have outpaced the growth of our business.” The company will now “implement organizational changes, consolidate certain teams, and reduce contractor reliance” to streamline operations and improve customer experience globally.

The news marks the second round of staff reductions for eBay in less than a year. In February 2023, the online marketplace cut 500 employees, citing a post-pandemic e-commerce slowdown. This latest move adds eBay to the growing list of tech companies grappling with economic pressures, joining Amazon, Google’s parent Alphabet, and others who have laid off over 11,000 employees already this year.

eBay’s long-standing battle for market share against industry giants Amazon and Walmart has forced the company to adapt and refine its focus. CEO Jamie Iannone seeks to carve out niches for the platform, targeting high-end watch and collectible markets while emphasizing refurbished goods for budget-conscious shoppers. However, active buyer numbers paint a concerning picture, shrinking by 3% year-over-year as of September 2023.

With the dual reduction in both employee and contractor roles, eBay hopes to navigate the current economic turbulence and become more “nimble” in its operations. However, the immediate impact on affected individuals and potential long-term consequences for the platform’s workforce and contractor network remain to be seen.

The news of the layoffs follows reports that the company has also been involved in a reputational risky lawsuit. The ecommerce company was forced to pay a $3m fine alongside worker prison sentences after executives harassed a Massachusetts couple, including posting them live insects and a funeral wreath. The couple ran a newsletter called EcommerceBytes.

Sources: Bloomberg, Silicon

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