In his seventh statement since the pandemic began, Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky has confirmed the company has been forced to make large-scale layoffs. According to Chesky, Airbnb must make “more fundamental changes” to ensure the company can one day fully recover.
Chesky confirmed that of the 7,500 Airbnb employees around the world, 1,900 of them will be asked to leave, equating to a 25% decrease in the workforce. The decision follows Airbnb raising US$2 billion in capital to counteract the forecasted drop in revenue this year. Chesky and others high up in the company have forfeited part or all of their salary to help reach the $2 billion figure.
Employees in the US will receive 14 weeks of base pay, plus one additional week for every year at Airbnb. Tenure will be rounded to the nearest year. Outside the US, all employees will receive at least 14 weeks of pay, plus tenure increases consistent with their country-specific practices.
The layoffs are one of many parts of Airbnb’s new focused business mission statement. Chesky explained: “Travel in this new world will look different, and we need to evolve Airbnb accordingly. People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable. But people will also yearn for something that feels like it’s been taken away from them, human connection. When we started Airbnb, it was about belonging and connection. This crisis has sharpened our focus to get back to our roots, back to the basics, back to what is truly special about Airbnb, everyday people who host their homes and offer experiences.”
With this in mind, investments that do not support the core host community will be paused, including Airbnb’s work in transportation and its Airbnb Studios concept. Airbnb Hotels and Lux work will also have investments cut.
Chesky closed the statement by saying: “I am truly sorry. Please know this is not your fault. The world will never stop seeking the qualities and talents that you brought to Airbnb…that helped make Airbnb. I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing them with us.”Airbnb has employees spread across 24 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the US, Canada and the Middle East.