Learning from this January’s layoffs

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(Image credit: Future / Unsplash - Nastuh Abootalebi)

It’s becoming something of a tradition for companies to ring in the new year with a wave of layoffs. In 2024, as in 2023, workforce reduction has been a major theme in the tech sector and beyond for January.

As technologies such as AI take root, the nature and pace of layoffs is likely to change in the near future. Competing pressures of economic downturns and productivity shortfalls could change the tech workforce dramatically.

In this episode, Jane and Rory are joined by Ross Kelly, ITPro’s news and analysis editor, to discuss the latest wave of tech sector layoffs, how they compare to previous years, and what this means for the future.


“Duolingo in particular, was a really interesting one, in that they laid off a lot of their translators purely to automate these roles. It's quite concerning that we're now starting to see that slow trickle of AI-related layoffs coming to fruition, there was a lot of scaremongering last year, a lot of people said rightly it's not going to quite be at the apocalyptic levels that some people are suggesting but it’s probably going to be a middle ground. And I think we’re starting to see that middle ground develop there.”

“It's going to be a balancing act for a lot of businesses, where they go “Well, we really want to unlock these efficiencies”, corporate jargon, etc. But then, if the people that are remaining are really unhappy because they're being worked harder, then they're going to lose out on some seriously vital talent that keeps their business ticking away. So there is going to be a point where some businesses probably are going to do it. And then they're going to find themselves in a serious hole because of it and they're going to be fighting an uphill battle.”

“I think, if there is a positive to this current period and to perhaps layoffs, is that we will start to see more active trade unions within the tech sector. That's something that I think would be a positive. We've seen so much pushback from big organizations against unionization of workers, so if that does start to gain some traction then I think long term that's a very positive thing.”



Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at rory.bathgate@futurenet.com or on LinkedIn.