Twitter slashes global workforce as it struggles for growth

Twitter is making up to 336 employees, or about 8 per cent of its global workforce, redundant in the first major move since co-founder Jack Dorsey was named chief executive.

The redundancies will come mainly in the product and engineering functions, the company said. “We feel strongly that engineering will move much faster with a smaller and nimbler team, while remaining the biggest percentage of our workforce,” Dorsey said in a letter to staff on Tuesday. “And the rest of the organisation will be streamlined in parallel.”

The job losses come as Twitter is struggling to grow its user base and has suffered a series of management upheavals. With about 300 million users, Twitter is less popular than Instagram. Facebook has more than 1.4 billion users.

Dorsey recently introduced Twitter Moments – curated stories aimed at making the service less confusing to new users. Moments is one of a series of moves to end the slowdown in user growth. The others have yet to prove successful.

This year, Twitter lowered its projections for user growth, sending its share price into a tailspin. In July, it revealed the slowest rise in monthly average users since it went public in 2013.

Dorsey said the company had a roadmap to change “how we work, and what we need to do that work”. He said the job losses had been an “extremely tough decision”. “We are doing this with the utmost respect for each and every person. Twitter will go to great lengths to take care of each individual by providing generous exit packages and help finding a new job,” he wrote.

“Let’s take this time to express our gratitude to all of those who are leaving us. We will honor them by doing our best to serve all the people that use Twitter. We do so with a more purpose-built team, which we’ll continue to build strength into over time, as we are now enabled to reinvest in our most impactful priorities.”

One Twitter employee, software engineer Bart Teeuwisse, found out the bad news when he was unable to log on to his work email account from home. Teeuwisse tweeted a screenshot of the “no access” message.

He later added that he was working from home and had been called by Twitter’s HR department, which got his voicemail.

Richard Windsor, an analyst at Edison Investment Research, said: “It is important to run a tight ship, but simply cutting jobs is often the action of a company that does not know what else to do.

“It looks like Jack Dorsey’s first action as the permanent CEO of Twitter will be to make a series of job cuts, including some of the engineering staff. What I would have preferred to see is the removal of engineers from the mature part of the business and their re-employment on the big new strategy that will bring Twitter back to growth. Simply getting rid of them makes it look like the big new strategy to return Twitter to growth does not exist.”

Twitter has about 4,100 staff globally. It expects the redundancies to cost between $10m and $20m (£6.5m-£13m) in severance money and another $5m-$15m in restructuring costs.

Twitter also said it expected its third-quarter revenue to be at or above the higher end of its forecast range of $545m-$560m, and its adjusted earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation to be at or above the higher end of its forecast range of $110m-$115m.

Twitter shares had risen 4.9% to more than $30 by noon on Tuesday. Up to Monday’s close, its shares had fallen by about 20% this year. The company will report its third-quarter results on 27 October after the market closes.