Uber axes 435 more jobs – this time within its engineering and product teams

Anne Freier

In App Business. September 12, 2019

Uber has laid off 435 employees across its engineering (265) and product (170) teams, representing 8% of the total staff count at the popular taxi app company.

The company said the changes were in line with the company’s increased focus on “stronger technical organisation”.

The majority of cuts happened in the US (85%), with just 10% of cuts in the APAC region and 5% in Europe.

According to a statement, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi asked executive management: “if we started from scratch, would we design our organizations as they stand today? After careful consideration, our Engineering and Product leaders concluded that the answer to this question in many respects was no.”

Apparently, duplicated jobs and performance-related cuts were the most affected.

“Previously, to meet the demands of a hyper-growth startup, we hired rapidly and in a decentralized way,” the statement continued. “While this worked for Uber in the past, now that we have over 27,000 full-time employees in cities around the world, we need to shift how we design our organizations: lean, exceptionally high-performing teams, with clear mandates and the ability to execute faster than our competitors.”

It’s a bit peculiar that Uber has lifted a hiring freeze that had been installed in August 2019 at the same time.

Uber Eats was not affected by the staff cuts.

The latest job cuts follow the layoff of 400 people across Uber’s marketing department. Although the company said it axed staff to save costs, Eric Benjamin Seufert for Mobile Dev Memo wonders if marketing teams are becoming universally smaller. After all, Uber spent $1 billion on marketing efforts in Q1 2019 with a team of 1,200 employees back then. That’s not at all unreasonable.

But it’s likely that programmatic technologies and a shift in campaign management toward automated strategies are having an effect on overall marketing team size.

Uber concluded:

“Our hope with these changes is to reset and improve how we work day to day—ruthlessly prioritizing, and always holding ourselves accountable to a high bar of performance and agility. While certainly painful in the moment, especially for those directly affected, we believe that this will result in a much stronger technical organization, which going forward will continue to hire some of the very best talent around the world.”