Apple avoids layoff trend, hires in the UK
- Layoffs announced at Epic Games, and Bandcamp will be sold.
- Apple CEO says tech layoffs a last resort, but is hiring in the UK.
- AI expertise might be best way to hold onto your job.
Tech layoffs have slowed in the later months of this year after a rampant start to 2023 – but they certainly haven’t stopped. Since 2022, major firms including Amazon, Meta, Google and Microsoft have cut tens of thousands of jobs, and just a couple of days ago Fortnite maker Epic Games announced it would cut 16% of its workforce.
It’s also selling Bandcamp, which it acquired just last year. CEO Tim Sweeney wrote that the company “concluded that layoffs are the only way, and that doing them now and on this scale will stabilize our finances.”
Staff received a memo from Epic, stating that it had tried to cut costs but was still spending “way more money” than it earns.
When the company bought Bandcamp, eyebrows were raised. Its sale suggests those doubts were well founded – Bandcamp made its name as a place for independent artists to make better returns on their music than they could get on streaming platforms.
Bandcamp will join Songtradr, a music marketplace company supporting artists, according to Sweeney. He said that “Epic folks around the world have been making ongoing efforts to reduce costs, including moving to net zero hiring and cutting operating spend on things like marketing and events.”
“We still ended up far short of financial stability.”
It’s not yet known where the job cuts will fall; Epic has offices all around the world. It’s known for its gaming engine, Unreal Engine, which powers a number of successful titles, including Fortnite and Gears of War.
Offsetting tech layoffs
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has said the firm wants to hire more staff in the UK, taking on employees to work in AI. Contrasting the redundancies seen across the tech sector, Apple announced it would be hiring a day after Epic’s revelation of job cuts.
Cook has been critical of tech layoffs and in May called it a “last resort.” When asked about AI and jobs in the UK, he told the PA news agency that Apple is hiring “in that area” and he expects investment to increase.
And he’s not wrong. Amazon announced an investment of up to $4bn in San Francisco-based AI firm Anthropic last week, following Microsoft’s multibillion dollar investment in OpenAI in January.
The UK’s Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan, said Apple’s decision to hire in the UK was “another vote of confidence in our burgeoning tech sector.”
“Apple’s ongoing investment in brilliant British talent highlights our global credentials as both an AI and technology superpower,” she wrote on X.
Cook says AI is behind several prominent features on Apple devices, like software that detects if a person has fallen or been in a crash, as well as more commonly used tools like predictive typing.
In fact, he says, it’s “literally everywhere” on Apple products and the company is “researching generative AI as well.”
So, maybe the best way to avoid becoming a casualty of the relentless waves of tech layoffs is to get into the business of AI. And do it fast.
8 December 2023
8 December 2023
7 December 2023