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Twitter Layoffs - Where did they go?
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The acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk in October 2022 for $44B garnered significant media attention, with complete organizational restructuring, dramatic strategic changes, and eventual rebranding as X. As part of this seismic shift, Twitter went through multiple rounds of layoffs, taking the company from around 7,500 employees to reportedly around twenty percent of that figure. Given the drastic nature and strategic imperative of this downsizing, one would imagine that many of these former employees are competent & capable, who could use this as an opportunity to pivot their careers toward other top talent destinations. From the hirers’ perspective, this similarly represents a noteworthy opportunity for companies and recruiters to target quality talent for their own workforce needs.
Analysis of the cohort of leavers post-acquisition enables insights into the consequences of such a significant layoff event.  In this report, we explore their geography, destination, jobs, and seniority to better understand these laid off individuals.
Who are they? Where did they go?
Using Aura data, we identified 810 former employees of Twitter laid off in November 2022 or after who have since taken on new roles, based on publicly available data up to July 2023.
Although a significant proportion of those laid off are not accounted for here, this may be due to a number of reasons: a) they intentionally remain unemployed in the context of severance package, the opportunity for a break, and/or other non-employment opportunities (e.g. education); b) they are actively recruiting for opportunities but are yet to find something they are after; or c) they are yet to update any publicly available information about their latest employment, due to oversight or the need for secrecy (e.g. projects in stealth mode).
The clear majority of employees remain US-based, with ~75% share, expected given that Twitter was a US-headquartered company.
We also identified the top ten destinations for this cohort of former employees, which is shown in the graphic below.
Among the top destinations, technology companies make up the majority, which is expected given their need for engineers and similarities to Twitter. TikTok, Airbnb & Spotify spearhead this list, while Big Tech leaders Microsoft & Meta round out the top ten. However, no single employer stood out as a major destination for these employees – we see that these 810 rehires have spread out across a wide number of companies. Interestingly, direct competitors to Twitter like TikTok and Meta (including new challenger product Threads) did not ‘snap up’ large swathes of valuable talent with direct expertise in social media products, with modest counts of fifteen & nine employees respectively. Given the current economic uncertainty, especially facing the tech industry, avoiding an overweight workforce incurring unnecessary personnel costs may have contributed to this finding.
A sizeable proportion of Twitter’s workforce has historically been engineering staff, and they make up around 40% of this cohort of rehired former employees. Accordingly, the most common job titles at Twitter are engineering-related: the top two were Senior Software Engineer and Software Engineer. Unsurprisingly then, many moved into similar roles at other firms, with these top two mirrored in the most common post-Twitter roles.
How did this affect career progression?
In general, being laid off can significantly hinder career progression for several reasons. It may signal to potential future employers that the candidate has competence or other gaps associated with their termination. Additionally, it may create an employment gap, which can raise further concerns about the above, and can put them at a disadvantage compared to their peers. Finally, a layoff can significantly affect one's self-confidence and motivation, leading to doubt, frustration, and fear of future job instability. This may impact a person's ability to present themselves confidently in interviews and project enthusiasm, making it harder to secure new opportunities.
On the other hand, especially in the case of Twitter where layoffs were driven by reorganization at scale rather than purely performance-based, this can present a number of opportunities for talent to grow in relation to their personal career goals. These challenging periods may trigger career pivots to other companies or industries, deep motivations catalyzed by the momentum generated by the termination (versus the inertia of staying put) or new exploration driven by the subsequent period of self-reflection. Joining a new company can also create a chance to gain a promotion or increase their role seniority, leveraging their previous skills and experience. Former Twitter employees, for example, could utilize their previous positions in a leading social media platform and valuable knowledge of the field and adjacent capabilities to negotiate into more senior positions as they look to be recruited.
We see the latter trend appearing in the above data, comparing role seniority at Twitter as compared to post-Twitter. Only ~15% of the rehires were in director or C-suite level roles at Twitter, but this proportion nearly doubled to ~30% at subsequent companies.
Following ‘layoff cohorts’ to understand their destinations and subsequent employment situations can lead to interesting insights, especially around who is hiring and the level of power candidates have in seeking senior roles in their subsequent companies. Despite the reasonable ‘doom & gloom’ surrounding such events, there can be silver linings, as new opportunities are unlocked elsewhere.
At Aura, we support this type of analysis by making workforce data readily available, enabling comparison of relevant metrics between cohorts of companies & candidates to develop a deeper understanding of workforce trends and drive meaningful change.
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Matthew Chan
Product Economist, Aura

Note: All information mentioned in this report comes from publicly available data; if you believe the information on your company is incorrect, please reach out to us at:
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