As winter sets in, we transition from Diwali to the Christmas season, but unfortunately, the chill in the air also brings a familiar refrain – global layoffs. The narrative we are witnessing as we close out the old year and welcome the new one eerily resembles what transpired in 2022. Back then, approximately 150,000 individuals faced unemployment, and now in 2023, the numbers are even more staggering, with over 240,000 working professionals losing their jobs. This impact resonates across the spectrum, affecting tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, as well as small fintech startups and apps. As the holiday season draws near, the specter of job cuts looms large, particularly within these major global tech behemoths.
Austerity Before Festivity: Exploring the Surge in Layoffs as Christmas Approaches
The question that plagues the minds of those affected is, "Why did I lose my job just before Christmas?" It's a gloomy storyline that appears to recur consistently each year. The sentiment is poignantly captured by the classic lyrics from Rodriguez's song "Cause":
"I lost my job two weeks before Christmas,
And I talked to Jesus at the sewer,
And the Pope said it was none of his God-dammed business."
These individuals were living the dream with coveted tech jobs that countless aspire to secure. Yet, as Christmas and the new year approach, these dreams are under threat for thousands. Heartlessly, tens of thousands have faced layoffs from formidable companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.
The Grim Annual Ritual: Unemployment Peaks in the Holiday Season
The significance of the festive season cannot be underestimated. Festivals and celebrations are cherished worldwide. In India, the festive season kicks off with Dussehra and culminates in Diwali. In the West, Christmas and the new year mark the end of this joyous period. Most people do the bulk of their shopping during this time.
In any economy, the principle holds true that "one person's expenditure is another's income." Naturally, this season holds great importance for the business world. The revenue generated during the festive season is pivotal for corporations. However, post-Christmas, revenue opportunities start to dwindle. It becomes a time to close the books and prepare for the upcoming year.
The Harsh Reality of December Layoffs
By the end of November, corporate leaders and CEOs have a clear understanding of their financial standing for the final quarter of the fiscal year. Prior to the festive season, there's typically a push for marketing and sales. However, the last quarter is when accounting, auditing, compliance, profit and loss statements, balance sheet filings, profit announcements, dividends, and other financial tasks take center stage. This period is also known as the earnings season.
Consequently, the latter half of January often becomes a busy period for CEOs. December, on the other hand, is a time for family holidays and New Year celebrations, offering a brief respite before the pressures of work return. Thus, November proves to be the opportune time to trim excess expenses. In the pursuit of "traveling light," job cuts occur just weeks before Christmas. Rather than attributing these decisions to external factors, it's essential to understand that the pressure of closing the financial year largely drives them.
Surviving the Winter Layoff Wave: Strategies for Job Seekers
While the situation may be challenging for a couple of months, opportunities are likely to arise post-March when the same management emerges from board meetings with ambitious expansion plans. So, continue working diligently, and in case you find yourself without a job, remember to keep enjoying life. Here's to wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ahead.
Note: This article has been archived for TICE with updated layoff figures for 2023, which will be continually refreshed through December 2023