Grab lays off 360 employees, citing stark impact of COVID-19

Ride-hailing platform Grab has laid off about 360 employees, representing under 5 per cent of the company’s total workforce, citing the stark impact of COVID-19 on its business and the foreseen prolonged recession as a result of the pandemic.

In a note sent to employees Tuesday, Grab co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan announced that the company will be letting go of about 360 “Grabbers” following months of review and deliberation on how to tackle the “challenges of the post-pandemic economy”.

When the COVID-19 pandemic exploded, Tan said Grab reviewed all costs, cut back on discretionary spending, and implemented pay cuts for senior management. Despite these measures, however, the Singapore-headquartered company still sees the need to cut the number of workers to further bring down costs.

“From the moment we began navigating through this global health crisis, I hoped I would not have to send a note like this. It is with heavy heart that I share with you today that we will be letting go about 360 Grabbers, or just under 5 percent of our employees,” Tan said.

“This is a difficult time for all Grabbers, and I know that this is a lot to take in,” he added.

Aside from the job cuts, Grab also plans to eliminate some non-core projects, consolidate functions, and right-size teams by deploying people to its deliveries business. The redeployment exercise saved many jobs, Tan said.

The global pandemic has greatly impacted businesses, including Grab, and Tan said Covid-19 will likely result in a prolonged recession that the company has to prepare for. He, however, assured employees that the layoff announcement will be the last for this year.

“I assure you that this will be the last organization-wide layoff this year and I am confident as we execute against our refreshed plans to meet our targets, we will not have to go through this painful exercise again in the foreseeable future,” Tan added.

The layoff comes after Grab asked employees across the region in late April to take on flexible working arrangements, such as no-pay leave, reduced working hours, and sabbaticals. In March, Grab had announced that it will cut the salaries of its senior executives by up to 20%, for this year.

In the letter, Tan said affected employees will be notified from 1 p.m. Singapore time. The company is also providing financial and emotional support for dismissed workers. These include severance package, equity vesting, encashment of maternity and paternity leave, and three-month access to Grabber Assistance Program.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.