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Layoffs Hit Kenya’s Tech Sector

Like other tech giants, however, Microsoft has been cutting jobs in the wake of an economic slowdown

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Kenyans working in tech are now feeling the pinch of the global wave of layoffs by the biggest companies.

Over the past two weeks, a number of individuals at the Microsoft African Development Centre (ADC) in Nairobi have been notified of the company’s decision to let them go – including product managers and software engineers. Microsoft opened the ADC facility in Nairobi in March last year. Alongside another ADC in Lagos, the offices were Microsoft’s first engineering centres on the continent.

Like other tech giants, however, Microsoft has been cutting jobs in the wake of an economic slowdown. Projecting slower revenue growth, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced in January that the company would be laying off 10,000 employees – stating that as it faces customers who want to do “more with less” amid the economic crunch.

“We are making changes that will result in the reduction of our overall workforce by 10,000 jobs through the end of FY23 Q3,” Nadella confirmed.

The company has been trimming its workforce around the world, with the layoffs now getting to Nairobi. Other tech giants who have announced widespread layoffs in recent months include Amazon, Meta and Alphabet (Google).

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In Kenya, some of the affected employees have taken to social media, mostly LinkedIn, to share that they had been affected by the redundancies.

Among them is Kipkorir Arap Kipkirui, who had worked at Microsoft as a Senior Product Manager and Senior Manager (Product Management) since December 2021. He stated that he had been informed by Microsoft on Monday, March 20th that his role had been made redundant. Overall, Microsoft’s exercise will affect 5% of its global workforce.

“I have many unanswered questions, and it will take some time to come to terms with this news. However, I do find solace in knowing that it was not due to any performance-related issues,” Kipkirui shared.

Companies including Microsoft and Google, which opened its first product development centre in Africa in April last year, had recruited some of the country’s best tech talents, including from large banking and telecommunications conglomerates – attracting them with higher salaries and better benefits.

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