Thoughtworks lays off around 500 employees amid ongoing slowdown

Thoughtworks has emerged as the latest tech company to join the ongoing trend of laying off employees amid the global economic slowdown.

The software consultancy firm laid off about four percent of its global workforce — approximately 500 employees — a figure that the company did not dispute when reached for comment on Wednesday. TechCrunch learned that the company initially informed its affected employees about the decision on Tuesday, and the layoffs will continue in the coming days.

“We confirm that we have made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce by about four percent globally,” Thoughtworks global public relations head Linda Horiuchi said in a statement emailed to TechCrunch. “We did not make this decision lightly and regret that we had to say goodbye to some talented and passionate Thoughtworkers. These changes were necessary to support the future growth of our business.”

Thoughtworks has over 12,500 employees across 18 countries on five continents, including the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The company also has a strong presence in India, though the spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the move did not include any layoffs in the country.

Earlier this week, Thoughtworks reported an 8.3% year-over-year surge in quarterly revenue compared to the same period last year, totaling more than $310 million. This revenue growth also contributed to the company’s net income of $16.1 million in the fourth quarter, an improvement from its loss of almost $17 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The Chicago-headquartered company also forecast to generate revenue between $303 million and $305 million in the current quarter and anticipated a year-over-year growth in revenue of between 0.5% and 2.5% for the overall year.

On Wednesday, Thoughtworks was trading at $7.34 per share with a market cap of $2.29 billion.

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Thoughtworks lays off around 500 employees amid ongoing slowdown by Jagmeet Singh originally published on TechCrunch

PerchPeek raises $11M to woo ‘great resignation employees’ with easy relocation

Relocating employees can involve up to 20-30 different complex processes, while many of the support packages on the market can be inflexible and expensive. Plus, relocating services are usually only available to company leaders, not staff. But an even bigger issue looms over companies today: the ‘great resignation’ brought on by the pandemic, as employees seek out new opportunities abroad. Can offering easier relocation woo them into staying on?

PerchPeek, is a relocation platform that has now raised £8m in Series A funding to address this employee relocation problem – and make it easier for companies to acquiesce to employee requests to move locations. The raise was co-led by Stage 2 Capital and AlbionVC.

In a joint statement, Paul Bennett, Dr. Ace Vinayak, and Oliver Markham, co-founders of PerchPeek, comment: “By bringing all the processes into one platform, with great support at accessible price points, we help both the relocating employee with their move but also their employer provide a high-value employee benefit.” 
According to Beroe, a SaaS-based procurement analytics provider, the global employee relocation market is now worth $33.5bn, due to the costs and complexity involved in making relocation possible.

PerchPeek says it has a step-by-step app that supports employees relocating to 47 countries around the world – including more remote locations, and claims it can save companies up to 70% in relocation costs.
It also has experts available via instant messaging, to guide employees through properties and amenities.

The startups’ competitors include Relocity and Dwellworks (both US-based). But PerchPeek says it plans to compete on customer experience and its large range of locations. Since January 2020, it claims to have moved over 5,000 people. Clients include Thoughtworks, Liberty Global, Impala Travel, and INEOS.

Nadine Torbey, Investment Manager at AlbionVC, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the shift in the way people choose to work and live… PerchPeek is the long-awaited disruption that will help unlock the full market and enable an increasingly mobile and global talent pool.”

Tech leaders can be the secret weapon for supercharging ESG goals

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors should be key considerations for CTOs and technology leaders scaling next generation companies from day one. Investors are increasingly prioritizing startups that focus on ESG, with the growth of sustainable investing skyrocketing.

What’s driving this shift in mentality across every industry? It’s simple: Consumers are no longer willing to support companies that don’t prioritize sustainability. According to a survey conducted by IBM, the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated consumers’ focus on sustainability and their willingness to pay out of their own pockets for a sustainable future. In tandem, federal action on climate change is increasing, with the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and a recent executive order on climate commitments.

Over the past few years, we have seen an uptick in organizations setting long-term sustainability goals. However, CEOs and chief sustainability officers typically forecast these goals, and they are often long term and aspirational — leaving the near and midterm implementation of ESG programs to operations and technology teams.

Until recently, choosing cloud regions meant considering factors like cost and latency to end users. But carbon is another factor worth considering.

CTOs are a crucial part of the planning process, and in fact, can be the secret weapon to help their organization supercharge their ESG targets. Below are a few immediate steps that CTOs and technology leaders can take to achieve sustainability and make an ethical impact.

Reducing environmental impact

As more businesses digitize and more consumers use devices and cloud services, the energy needed by data centers continues to rise. In fact, data centers account for an estimated 1% of worldwide electricity usage. However, a forecast from IDC shows that the continued adoption of cloud computing could prevent the emission of more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from 2021 through 2024.

Make compute workloads more efficient: First, it’s important to understand the links between computing, power consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Making your app and compute workloads more efficient will reduce costs and energy requirements, thus reducing the carbon footprint of those workloads. In the cloud, tools like compute instance auto scaling and sizing recommendations make sure you’re not running too many or overprovisioned cloud VMs based on demand. You can also move to serverless computing, which does much of this scaling work automatically.

Deploy compute workloads in regions with lower carbon intensity: Until recently, choosing cloud regions meant considering factors like cost and latency to end users. But carbon is another factor worth considering. While the compute capabilities of regions are similar, their carbon intensities typically vary. Some regions have access to more carbon-free energy production than others, and consequently the carbon intensity for each region is different.

So, choosing a cloud region with lower carbon intensity is often the simplest and most impactful step you can take. Alistair Scott, co-founder and CTO of cloud infrastructure startup Infracost, underscores this sentiment: “Engineers want to do the right thing and reduce waste, and I think cloud providers can help with that. The key is to provide information in workflow, so the people who are responsible for infraprovisioning can weigh the CO2 impact versus other factors such as cost and data residency before they deploy.”

Another step is to estimate your specific workload’s carbon footprint using open-source software like Cloud Carbon Footprint, a project sponsored by ThoughtWorks. Etsy has open-sourced a similar tool called Cloud Jewels that estimates energy consumption based on cloud usage information. This is helping them track progress toward their target of reducing their energy intensity by 25% by 2025.

Make social impact

Beyond reducing environmental impact, CTOs and technology leaders can have significant, direct and meaningful social impact.

Include societal benefits in the design of your products: As a CTO or technology founder, you can help ensure that societal benefits are prioritized in your product roadmaps. For example, if you’re a fintech CTO, you can add product features to expand access to credit in underserved populations. Startups like LoanWell are on a mission to increase access to capital for those typically left out of the financial system and make the loan origination process more efficient and equitable.

When thinking about product design, a product needs to be as useful and effective as it is sustainable. By thinking about sustainability and societal impact as a core element of product innovation, there is an opportunity to differentiate yourself in socially beneficial ways. For example, Lush has been a pioneer of package-free solutions, and launched Lush Lens — a virtual package app leveraging cameras on mobile phones and AI to overlay product information. The company hit 2 million scans in its efforts to tackle the beauty industry’s excessive use of (plastic) packaging.

Responsible AI practices should be ingrained in the culture to avoid social harms: Machine learning and artificial intelligence have become central to the advanced, personalized digital experiences everyone is accustomed to — from product and content recommendations to spam filtering, trend forecasting and other “smart” behaviors.

It is therefore critical to incorporate responsible AI practices, so benefits from AI and ML can be realized by your entire user base and that inadvertent harm can be avoided. Start by establishing clear principles for working with AI responsibly, and translate those principles into processes and procedures. Think about AI responsibility reviews the same way you think about code reviews, automated testing and UX design. As a technical leader or founder, you get to establish what the process is.

Impact governance

Promoting governance does not stop with the board and CEO; CTOs play an important role, too.

Create a diverse and inclusive technology team: Compared to individual decision-makers, diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time. Additionally, Gartner research found that in a diverse workforce, performance improves by 12% and intent to stay by 20%.

It is important to reinforce and demonstrate why diversity, equity and inclusion is important within a technology team. One way you can do this is by using data to inform your DEI efforts. You can establish a voluntary internal program to collect demographics, including gender, race and ethnicity, and this data will provide a baseline for identifying diversity gaps and measuring improvements. Consider going further by baking these improvements into your employee performance process, such as objectives and key results (OKRs). Make everyone accountable from the start, not just HR.

These are just a few of the ways CTOs and technology leaders can contribute to ESG progress in their companies. The first step, however, is to recognize the many ways you as a technology leader can make an impact from day one.