Industry-Wide Tech Layoffs Impacting WordPress Professionals

Most WordPress professionals managed to escape 2022’s round of tech layoffs, which primarily affected venture capital-funded startups and larger companies that had overhired during the economic upswing that came with pandemic precautions being lifted in many places. Mass layoffs hit Meta, Peleton, Stripe, Carvana, and more during the last half of 2022.

Tech layoffs have continued relentlessly in 2023, with major players like PayPal, Spotify, Google, Microsoft, Coinbase, Salesforce, and Amazon cutting tens of thousands of workers in January. This round of layoffs seems more brutal than the last, as it hits more close to home for WordPress professionals., a layoffs tracking website, has logged 376 tech companies with total of 107,930 employees laid off. Both the number of companies and number of employees laid off in January were the highest they have been over the past year.

Last week, GoDaddy announced it will be reducing the size of its global team by about 8% (approximately 530 employees), with cuts that hit teams working on WordPress and WooCommerce hosting products.

“Despite increasingly challenging macroeconomic conditions, we made progress on our 2022 strategic initiatives and continued our efforts to manage costs effectively,” GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani. “The discipline we embraced was important but, unfortunately, it was not sufficient to avoid the impacts of slower growth in a prolonged, uncertain macroeconomic environment.”

The layoffs came as a surprise to GoDaddy employees, after they had been assured the company would not be cutting jobs. A few days after employees were let go, the company reported significant growth in its last earnings call, with a total revenue of $4.1 billion in 2022, up 7.2% year-over-year, and 8.4% on a constant currency basis.

A former GoDaddy employee, who was impacted by the layoffs and wishes to remain anonymous, said “employees and their managers were blindsided.” They were offered approximately three months of severance pay plus two weeks severance per year of tenure.

“The severance package was average at best – a few months of runway in exchange for releasing GoDaddy from all liability,” the source said. “It’s the minimum requirement to get people to sign legal releases. Items such as stock that wasn’t fully vested must be forfeited.”

The source reported that the employees who were laid off were cherry-picked from different teams. Despite GoDaddy’s heavy investments into WordPress and recent acquisitions of the Skyverge and Pagely brands, the company elected to downsize many who were active in its WordPress efforts.

“I’m seeing lots of WordPress-related product/marketing folks getting cut,” the source said.

DigitalOcean, which acquired managed hosting company Cloudways for $350 million in cash last year, told staff it is laying off 11 percent of its workforce, approximately 200 employees. The Register reports that 100 employees were immediately let go and another 100 will follow. The cuts include members of the company’s content team, causing concern about the future of the company’s documentation resources.

Larger tech companies are not the only ones reducing their workforces. The economic conditions behind these cuts are also affecting smaller organizations like XWP, a WordPress agency that laid off employees two months ago. Human Made, an agency that builds WordPress sites and products for enterprise customers, has also been affected. The company recently announced a round of redundancies for the first time in its history.

“This has been a tough few weeks, particularly for those leaving who now face an uncertain future,” Human Made CEO and co-founder Tom Willmot said. “It’s also been tough for the rest of company, this is not [a] situation we wanted to be in and even with the wider economic headwinds the industry is facing, there are also important lessons for us to learn.”

As part of its commitment to transparency, Human Made also published the details of its redundancy support package, which includes a minimum notice period of four weeks plus one week for each year past two, and two weeks pay on top of notice, among other benefits.

WordPress product companies are stepping up to help people find new work. Easily Amused, Trew Knowledge, SiteCare, and other companies across Twitter, Mastodon, and LinkedIn have responded to posts with links to open positions. Michelle Frechette, Director of Community Engagement at StellarWP, publishes a weekly thread with available jobs from around the WordPress community. Her most recent thread from last week includes information on 10 companies that are currently hiring.


11 responses to “Industry-Wide Tech Layoffs Impacting WordPress Professionals”

  1. This may seem unrelated but layoffs and shutdowns are coming to WordPress as well. WordPress is one of the most hard to sell CMS to a client. It is also the MOST Expensive ! I feel increasingly frustrated by the fact that everything in WordPress from a tiny piece of code goes into a subscription model. While it might sound good to have a business with an ARR without putting additional effort . This model turns the buyers away from WordPress. 5-7 years ago this was not the case and there was competition in WordPress. I am literally forced to turn buyers to use Shopify or Wix which prove to be relatively cheaper compared to WordPress. This industry needs a wakeup call, WordPress has lost its competitive edge, great startups get acquired then they turn into big fat corporates and raise their prices.

    • While I see the point, I don’t there this is 100% true for a few reasons.

      First, there are amazing products with a lifetime model (oxygen, Divi).

      Second, most plugins/themes on WP are GPL. While it may sound wrong, a lot of stuff on GPL clubs are actually legal to use.

      • “Second, most plugins/themes on WP are GPL. While it may sound wrong, a lot of stuff on GPL clubs are actually legal to use.”

        Not entirely true… All WP themes and plugins MUST have GPL license.

        To be exact and comprehensive:

        “According to the WordPress GPL (General Public License), all themes and plugins developed for WordPress must be released under the GPL license, regardless of whether they are free or premium. This means that anyone is free to use, modify, and distribute WordPress themes and plugins, and the source code must be made available to end-users.

        This requirement is due to the fact that WordPress is itself released under the GPL license, which requires that any software that is derived from or distributed with GPL-licensed software must also be released under the same license. Therefore, all themes and plugins developed for WordPress must also be GPL-licensed in order to comply with the terms of the license.

        However, it’s worth noting that premium themes and plugins can still be sold for a fee. The GPL license allows for commercial use of software, and developers are free to charge for their work. The key requirement is that the source code must be made available and that users are free to modify and redistribute the software.” ChatGPT

        That said, and what’s missing from the above quote, with premium products, you can NOT distribute the license keys, otherwise and legally, you can do anything you want with the code you acquired.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. Just curious: how about the advantages of owning your data (and code, for that matter)? SaaS companies (Shopify, Wix) contain potential future risks. For example, what if prices rise, or the company or product weakens, and it’s hard to leave? Something always changes, and no vendor relationship lasts forever. I’ve seen very bad situations in other industry sectors when customers want to leave their SaaS vendor. Are these real risks, and if so, how do you mitigate them?

  2. Great write-up!

    I think it’s fair to also point out that DigitalOcean revenue grew 34% YOY last year. They also got approval to buy back 500 million stock, and already bought back 600 million worth of stock last year.

    Free cash flow grew at 13% as well, but their target was reported to be 20%. So, they decided to fire people and buy back stock instead of improving their offering and investing into their customers.

  3. What is old is new again: It’s seems GoDaddy is, predictably, doing its best to use the economy as a cover to fund more stock buybacks, a scenario that has been fairly common this quarter.

    While my heart goes out to those affected, GoDaddy has never been a good company, no matter how the WordPress “community” tries to whitewash their history.

    I think the smaller firms like XWP and HM are more concerning. Both seem well run and to care about their people. If they’re struggling how many others are as well?

  4. Honestly, I think the WordPress community needs to vote with their wallets and boycott Cloudways, GoDaddy has always been a mess, but Cloudways is more premium and I also hate the fact that you can select Amazon as one of their cloud providers. Amazon is a rip off and they charge in arm and a leg.
    I personally prefer SITEGROUND and they use Google Cloud as their cloud provider.


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