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March 7, 2023

Atlassian makes 500 job cuts, leave staff sweating on their futures for 15 minutes

The project management software company has wielded the axe, and left impacted staff waiting anxiously on news.

By Matthew Gooding

Project management software developer Atlassian has made 500 staff redundant, some 5% of its global workforce. It is the latest tech company to announce redundancies as businesses in the sector adjust to the economic slowdown. Staff were reportedly left waiting to discover their fate for 15 minutes after a company-wide update told them to they would be emailed about whether their role was being axed.

Atlassian has made 500 staff redundant. (Photo by Sundry Photography/Shutterstock)

Co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar said the changes were being made because the company was “rebalancing the skills we require to run faster at our company priorities.”

Australian vendor Atlassian produces software which helps businesses manage workflows. Its flagship product, Jira, is used to track projects and problems that arise, and it also owns a suite of related software including web-based project management tool Trello. It works with more than 240,000 customers in 190 countries, and its software has more than ten million users.

The Nasdaq-listed company’s revenue for 2022 was $2.8bn, but it reported an operating loss of $106.5bn.

Why Atlassian is making job cuts

Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar said in their statement that they have already made changes to how the business operates, but that these did not go far enough.

“A month back we reorganised our company to better reflect operating in a changing and difficult macroeconomic environment,” they wrote. “We made tough calls to prioritise the most critical work for our current and future customers. While it helped us streamline work, we need to go further in rebalancing the skills we require to run faster at our company priorities.”

Layoffs are coming across all Atlassian teams, with those most affected including talent acquisition, program management, and research and insights. “We’ve made hard calls to reduce our investment in specific areas, in order to reinvest in others,” the Atlassian co-founders wrote. “As a company, we have massive growth opportunities in front of us. Although hard, this rebalancing will help us put more wood behind these arrows.”

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Staff being made redundant will receive 15 weeks’ pay, plus an additional week for every year they’ve spent at Atlassian, Cannon-Brookes and Farquahar said. This may come as some consolation to employees who were apparently left to wait to find out whether they were impacted by the job cuts. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, staff were sent a “founder’s update” announcing the redundancies, then told to wait by their emails for individual decisions to be sent out. These reportedly did not arrive for 15 minutes.

Tech job cuts continue, but TSMC is hiring

Atlassian is the latest in a long line of software companies to make job cuts as the recession bites.

Tech's biggest names, many of which hired extensively during the pandemic, have been hardest hit, with Google's parent company Alphabet laying off 12,000 staff in January, following big cuts at Meta, Microsoft and Amazon.

But while many tech companies are scaling back, chipmaking giant TSMC is expanding its team, having announced over the weekend it will be hiring 6,000 engineers in 2023 as it anticipates sustained high demand for its services. The company will seek young engineers with degrees in electrical engineering and software-related disciplines. However, the roles are all based in Taiwan.

Read more: UK tech jobs - vacancies up 191%

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