Airbnb job cuts took a heavy toll on marketers, designers and data scientists
Last week, Airbnb cut 1,900 employees—25 percent of its 7,500 workforce—in an effort to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, which has sent travel brands reeling to recoup costs.
Amid the fallout from the pandemic, people lately have taken it upon themselves to curate referral lists of colleagues or friends who are suddenly out of work, and share these lists online and with recruiters to help those recently laid off to land on their feet. The practice was becoming commonplace even before the pandemic. This past August when Uber made cuts, more than 400 former employees requested to be part of a list that quickly began circulating online.
In the case of Airbnb, the company is providing that outlet itself in the form of a public talent directory. Laid-off employees can opt in to have their LinkedIn profiles, bios and work samples posted online at airbnb.com/d/talent. The website is being widely shared by Airbnb employees across social media, but is not linked from Airbnb’s own website.
Due to its opt-in nature, the list doesn’t reveal the full extent of Airbnb’s cuts, but it still offers some insight into the kind of talent the company had to let go—and in the four days that the list has been available, marketing, design and data science have been among the most-crowded sections, outside of customer service.
Airbnb Co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky announced the layoffs and the talent directory in a letter posted to its website last week. In his letter, Chesky described the need to refocus on its “roots” and “basics.” He wrote that the company would need to “pause efforts” in transportation, Airbnb Studios and scale back investments in Hotels and Lux.
The list of ex-employees being posted to its talent directory reflects Airbnb’s change in strategy. More than 50 former marketing employees from around the world have opted to have their information shared on the site, with job titles from Global Head of Strategic Partnerships, Brand Marketing Manager of North America and Olympics to Global Marketing Lead. Several roles fall into the areas Airbnb is backing away from, as Chesky described in his letter. These includes roles like Head of Growth Marketing for Luxury and Market Coordinator for Hotels.
The "design" section of the directory already features more than 75 former employees who have listed their credentials, including for roles such as Experience Design Lead, Senior Creative Producer and User Experience Writer. At least 15 more fall under “art and creative” with job titles like Global Lead of Branded Merchandise, Art Director, Global Editorial Creative Lead and Head of Photography Content: Experiences.
The list also contains 29 former Airbnb data scientists and five analysts, including Analytics and Insights Senior Analyst and Business Analyst—Hospitality Teams.
In his letter Chesky also outlined four other ways the company would help with offboarding, in addition to the talent directory: An alumni placement team where Airbnb recruiters help those departing find new jobs; four months of career services through RiseSmart; a program for employee alumni support; and the option for laid off staff to keep their laptops. The off-boarding options came with 14 or more weeks of severance pay, 12 months of health insurance and an option to hold equity.
“We have great people leaving Airbnb, and other companies will be lucky to have them,” wrote Chesky in the letter.
Online, Airbnb is being praised online for its off-boarding approach.