Glassdoor’s Chicago office impacted as company lays off 300

Glassdoor, a San Francisco-based employer review platform with a large Chicago office, has laid off 300 employees, Chicago Inno has learned.

The tech company confirmed to Inno that the layoffs, which represent about 30 percent of Glassdoor’s entire staff, affected Chicago employees, but declined to specify exactly how many were impacted or how many remain at the local office.

In July 2019, Inno reported that Glassdoor employed 300 people in the Windy City when the company announced it was opening a second office in Chicago and planned to hire up to 500 people. At the time, Glassdoor said it signed a long-term lease in the West Loop, intending to open it this summer. It is unclear if that office is still slated to open.

In a memo to the entire Glassdoor staff, CEO Christian Sutherland-Wong said the layoffs were a cost-cutting measure taken to offset a decline in revenue caused by the coronavirus crisis.

In March, Glassdoor saw negative double-digit percentage impacts to traffic, direct sales and self-service, according to the memo. April saw no improvement, mainly because employers, who pay Glassdoor to help recruit employees, have slowed hiring considerably.

“While we sought to act conservatively in an effort to weather this crisis, I am deeply saddened to share that these recent efforts to cut costs have not been enough,” Sutherland-Wong wrote in the memo. “The people whom we are asking to leave are leaving through no fault of their own. The decision I am making here is not for a lack of effort these individuals or teams have shown—it is based purely on business performance.”

Affected positions include Glassdoor’s go-to-market and sales teams.

Prior to the layoffs, Glassdoor tried to cut expenses by pausing hiring and salary raises. Additionally, Sutherland-Wong said in the memo that he has taken a 50 percent pay reduction for the rest of the year. Senior executive team members have also taken pay cuts.

Laid off employees will receive a minimum of three months pay, have healthcare costs covered through the end of the year and receive accelerated vesting of stock options through severance periods, the company said. Departing employees also have the ability to keep their Glassdoor laptop to help with job searches.

“Words cannot describe how sad I am that we find ourselves in this position,” Sutherland-Wong said. “It truly breaks my heart to say goodbye to such a talented group of people for reasons that are outside of their control.”

Glassdoor is just the latest tech company to lay off employees in Chicago amid the coronavirus crisis. Others include Chicago-based in-flight WiFi company Gogo, which furloughed more than 600 employees, and Groupon, which is cutting nearly 3,000 jobs.

The U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7 percent in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression. The Illinois unemployment rate for April has not been released yet, but the local jobless rate was 4.6 percent in March.