• Grab cited the "breakneck speed" of AI that drove capital costs up
  • An Olx spokesperson attributed the layoffs to an earlier decision to exit Olx Autos
  • 788 tech companies have laid off more than 210,000 employees so far in 2023

The tech reckoning continues as two more companies have announced layoffs, with ride-hailing and food delivery app Grab reducing its workforce by 11% and online marketplace Olx Group eliminating around 800 roles globally.

Singapore-based Grab Holdings announced the elimination of 1,000 jobs Tuesday as the ride-hailing giant looks to cut costs, Reuters reported.

Anthony Tan, Grab CEO, told employees in a letter seen by Reuters that the layoffs were not "a shortcut to profitability" but a way to implement a strategic reorganization that should help the company adapt to the changing business environment.

Tan explained that changes in the industry have "never been this fast," adding the growth of AI "at breakneck speed" has drove capital costs up and directly impacted "the competitive landscape."

"We must combine our scale with nimble execution and cost leadership, so that we can sustainably offer even more affordable services and deepen our penetration of the masses," he noted.

Grab's last workforce reduction was in 2020, when it laid off 5% of its staff, which affected around 360 employees.

A spokesperson at the time told TechCrunch that layoffs were to help the company become "a leaner and more efficient organization."

In September last year, Grab's Chief Operating Officer Alex Hungate said the company was not at a "desperate" point of implementing mass layoffs or pausing hiring even as the market turned weak because it was "very careful and judicious about any hiring."

However, in December, Tan announced a slew of measures to manage costs, including a freeze on most hiring and salary freezes for senior managers.

"More so than ever, all Grabbers need to adapt to a frugal and prudent mindset as we prepare for 2023," Tan said in a memo to employees at the time.

Grab isn't the only tech company slashing its workforce as classified ads and online marketplace Olx Group confirmed it has eliminated around 800 jobs globally.

A spokesperson for Olx told TechCrunch that the layoffs were the result of an earlier decision to exit the Olx Autos business, the company's car marketplace.

The spokesperson added that it searched for potential buyers or investors but couldn't find any in some markets. Olx Argentina, Mexico and Colombia have been shut down due to the failure to find buyers or investors, the outlet reported. Olx Autos will continue to sell vehicles in these markets but will not accept any new transactions.

It is unclear how many employees the company now has but according to Olx's parent company Prosus' annual report for the final quarter of 2022, its classified ads business had 11,375 employees around the world.

The Financial Express reported late in January that Olx was looking to slash 15% of its staff or at least 1,500 employees globally due to poor demands. The report said the company's engineering and operations units in India would be affected the most by the job cuts.

"We can confirm that OLX is reducing its global workforce by 15% which impacts staff across all countries, business units and job functions," an Olx spokesperson told FE.

Many other tech companies also cut workforce this month, including job posting site ZipRecruiter, music streaming giant Spotify, discussion platform Reddit and food delivery service Grubhub.

Wireless home sound system provider Sonos and software giant Oracle reportedly laid off employees last week. This week, India's most valued startup, Byju's, reportedly cut up to 1,000 roles.

At least 788 tech companies have eliminated more than 210,000 jobs across various sectors so far this year, according to data from layoffs tracker Among the hardest-hit sectors were transportation, healthcare, crypto and finance.

A Grab logo is pictured at the Money 20/20 Asia Fintech Trade Show in Singapore
Grab is just one of more than 780 tech companies that laid off employees so far in 2023. Reuters