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More layoffs at Shopee, three months after previous round of job cuts

More layoffs at Shopee, three months after previous round of job cuts
In June, Shopee laid off some employees in its food delivery ShopeeFood and online payment ShopeePay teams in Southeast Asia, as well as staff in Mexico, Argentina and Chile. (Photo: TODAY/Ili Nadhirah Mansor)

SINGAPORE: E-commerce giant Shopee cut more jobs on Monday (Sep 19), the most recent in a series of moves following widening losses and slower revenue growth. 

The retrenchments were announced internally this morning in town halls with staff.

“These changes are part of our ongoing efforts to optimise operating efficiency with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency across our business,” said a Shopee spokesperson in response to queries about the retrenchments announced on Monday. 

“We are extending support to our affected colleagues during this transition.”

Shopee is also in touch with the Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU), which represents Shopee’s employees, about its latest "adjustments", it said in a joint statement with the union.

“The company has assured CMPU that appropriate compensation packages will be extended to affected employees in line with market norms,” the statement read. 

“Employment facilitation and assistance, including career coaching and job matching services via CMPU’s network and e2i will be offered, if required.” 

Earlier this month, Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce firm rescinded dozens of job offers. At the time, parent company Sea said it had recently cancelled some offers at Shopee “due to adjustments to hiring plans” on some tech teams, but declined to say how many offers were rescinded.

In June, Shopee laid off some employees in its food delivery ShopeeFood and online payment ShopeePay teams in Southeast Asia, as well as staff in Mexico, Argentina and Chile. 

In a letter to Sea employees last week, CEO Forrest Li said that the company had made “some difficult announcements” lately, citing a turbulent period for the tech industry. 

“Sadly, we are not immune to these shocks,” he wrote. 

The “number one objective” for the next 12 to 18 months is achieving self-sufficiency, which means achieving “positive cashflow” as soon as possible, said Li in his letter. 

Sea reported a net loss of US$931 million in the second quarter, more than double the loss it made in the same period a year earlier.

In comments provided to CNA, executive director of Digital Industry Singapore Chan Ih Ming noted that given the economic slowdown, companies have to decide “how best to position themselves for the future”, and this might involve adjusting their workforce strength and profiles. 

“The rapid growth of the tech sector in recent years has led to intense competition for tech talent globally, resulting in wage escalation and poaching even beyond the tech sector,” he added. 

Tech jobs continue to be in high demand, increasing by about 10,000 annually across Singapore’s economy last year, especially for machine learning engineers and backend developers, he said. 

“This is largely a result of accelerated digitalisation efforts across companies emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mr Chan. 

“We remain confident in the growth potential of Singapore’s tech sector as global tech companies continue to invest in Singapore, and many local tech companies expand to pursue growth in the region.”

Source: CNA/hw(ac)
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