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Headspace Health to cut 181 jobs in second layoff round

Headspace Health

Meditation app maker Headspace Health has started a second round of job cuts, resulting in a 15 percent reduction in its workforce.

This move follows a broad trend of layoffs affecting the tech industry and other sectors.

In an internal memo to employees, CEO Russell Glass said the company had underestimated the impact of the current economic climate on consumer behavior. 

Read More: Ziprecruiter cuts 270 jobs as CEO takes 30 percent pay cut

However, he emphasized their commitment to achieving cash-flow positivity by 2024, ensuring self-sustainability without relying on external funding.

The cuts will affect 181 employees, primarily in the content creation teams responsible for Headspace’s popular meditation app.

The app has been downloaded over 70 million times since 2022.

The company said these changes aim to secure a profitable future and mentioned upcoming initiatives for 2024, such as an AI-powered journaling feature.

Read More: Robinhood conducts third layoff wave with 150 jobs on the line

Headspace laid off 50 employees in December 2022 out of its 1,200-person workforce. 

Its competitor, Calm, also underwent layoffs, downsizing approximately 20 percent of its staff of 400 in August. 

Business of Apps reported that Calm reached 135 million app downloads by the end of 2022.

Founded in 2010 by Rich Pierson and Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, Headspace was among the pioneering wellness and meditation apps. 

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In 2020, the company witnessed a surge in subscribers as the global pandemic and the divisive US presidential election took a toll on Americans’ mental health. 

The meditation app, Headspace, offers guided meditation exercises and breath work, has gained popularity.

The company also provides mental health benefits to employees through an employee assistance plan.

After merging with Ginger, a mental health coaching platform, in a deal worth an estimated $3 billion, Headspace adopted the name “Headspace Health” in 2021. 

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Google to block Canadian news due to publisher payment law


Google said it would block Canadian news on its platform within Canada, in a similar move to Facebook, as a response to a new law mandating payments to local news publishers. 

In approximately six months, Google’s search results and other products in the country will no longer include links to Canadian news.

The introduction of Bill C-18, known as the Online News Act, prompted Facebook owner Meta to also make this announcement last week. 

Read More: Google accused of violating antitrust laws in Europe

The Canadian media industry has advocated for stricter regulations on internet giants.

This would enable news organizations to recover financial losses suffered as Facebook and Google secured a larger share of the online advertising market.

Canada’s independent budgetary watchdog estimated that news businesses could potentially receive around C$330 million ($249 million) annually through deals mandated by the legislation. 

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who introduced the bill, said the platforms are not immediately bound by the act.

Read More: Meta threatens to pull news in California over payment law

Rodriguez added that the government is open to consulting with them regarding regulation and implementation.

Facebook and Google have argued the proposed regulations are unsustainable for their businesses.

They have signaled for months that news availability in Canada could be terminated unless the act was amended. 

However, the Canadian federal government has resisted calls for changes, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accusing the companies of employing “bullying tactics.”

Read More: Google to cut jobs at Waze in a broad restructuring plan

Rodriguez criticized Google for prioritizing blocking access to quality local news for Canadians rather than paying their fair share to news organizations. 

Google’s president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said in a blog post the law is unworkable, and the company does not believe the regulatory process can address the “structural issues with the legislation.”

Under the finalized rules for implementation, the news outlets affected by Google’s decision will be determined based on the government’s definition of “eligible news businesses.” 

Furthermore, Google will discontinue its News Showcase program in Canada, which currently has agreements with 150 news publications across the country.

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The Online News Act mandates online platforms to negotiate with news publishers and compensate them for their content.

A similar law in Australia led to Google and Facebook threatening to limit their services, but they eventually reached agreements with Australian media companies after the legislation was amended. 

Google has argued Canada’s law is broader than those in Australia and Europe, as it sets a price on news story links displayed in search results and can apply to outlets that do not produce news. 

The firm proposed the payment be based on the display of news content rather than links and limited to businesses that adhere to journalistic standards.

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National Geographic lays off all remaining staff writers

National Geographic

National Geographic magazine has made a significant move by laying off its remaining staff writers.

The recent cuts eliminated 17 editorial positions, including the entire staff writers team and the complete podcast staff.

A former employee affected by the cuts said a group of editors were also let go, including one who had served for nearly four decades.

Read More: Los Angeles Times to axe 74 newsroom jobs as advertising slows

These layoffs were part of a broader cost-cutting initiative by the parent company Disney, which has resulted in thousands of job losses across its various divisions.

The former employee said National Geographic staffers were notified of the impending elimination of their positions in April.

The company also gave a two-month timeframe for the changes to take effect.

The number of staff members affected by the recent layoffs remains undisclosed.

But it coincides with Disney’s ongoing workforce reduction efforts that have impacted several divisions throughout the year.

Read More: BlackRock to axe one percent of its staff

A company spokesperson said: “Staffing changes will not change our ability to do this work, but rather give us more flexibility to tell different stories and meet our audiences where they are across our many platforms.

Any insinuation that the recent changes will negatively impact the magazine, or the quality of our storytelling, is simply incorrect.”

The person said National Geographic plans to rely on a roster of freelance writers for its content creation. 

Certain digital content will still be written by in-house editors, ensuring a mix of expertise and perspectives. 

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The magazine currently retains two designated text editors, multi-platform editors handling print and digital content, and a team of digital-only editors.

The magazine remains committed to its monthly publication schedule and aims to continue engaging its readers.

News of the layoffs began circulating on Twitter when departing staff writers shared their departure from National Geographic. 

The announcement was met with mixed reactions, as former writers expressed gratitude for their time at the magazine and the opportunity to be part of the last class of staff writers.

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Pokémon Go maker Niantic cuts 230 jobs

Pokémon Go

Niantic, the company behind the popular game “Pokémon Go,” is laying off around 230 employees as it focuses on augmented-reality (AR) technology and cancels some games.

The cuts will affect 25 percent of its workforce.

In an email to staff, CEO John Hanke said these measures were necessary to navigate the current challenges in the market and capitalize on future opportunities.

Read More: Ziprecruiter cuts 270 jobs as CEO takes 30 percent pay cut

The company will be discontinuing its game “NBA All-World” and halting production of “Marvel: World of Heroes.” 

Hanke attributed the decision to the need for aligning expenses with revenue, as its expenses were growing faster than its income. 

Despite the return of their revenue to pre-pandemic levels, new projects in both games and platforms have not generated the expected financial results.

Niantic’s move reflects a broader trend in the tech industry, where companies are downsizing in response to economic uncertainties and to better align with their growth projections. 

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Although “Pokémon Go” gained immense popularity upon its release in 2016, Niantic has struggled to replicate that success with subsequent releases. 

Last year, the company laid off around 80 employees and halted the development of a Harry Potter game that had launched in 2019.

In addition to its gaming ventures, Niantic is actively engaged in the development of augmented-reality technology. 

The company aims to create AR experiences not only through games but also by working on technology for AR headsets. 

Niantic’s Lightship platform enables other software companies to build augmented-reality experiences, positioning Niantic as a key player in the emerging AR market.

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TCS bans six employees in bribery scam


Tata Consultancy Services has barred six employees and six staffing firms involved in a bribe-for-jobs scam, with three more employees currently under investigation. 

Chairman N. Chandrasekaran informed shareholders at the annual general meeting that these employees had engaged in unethical conduct that favored certain firms.

However, the exact extent of the favors received remains unknown.

Read More: Cognizant discrimination lawsuit ends without verdict

TCS initiated the probe after receiving two whistleblower complaints, one in February and another in March. 

Both complaints alleged that certain staffers within the company were showing favoritism towards specific Business Associates (BAs). 

Chandrasekaran confirmed that the complaints were thoroughly investigated. 

A senior officer is conducting the internal investigation in India, while an external firm has been hired to conduct the inquiry in the US.

Read More: Former employees accuse Byju’s of failing to credit PF payments

Chandrasekaran said: “For a Tata Group company, the most important thing that is expected of every employee is an ethical conduct and integrity in operation, and that comes first ahead of any financial performance. 

“So, whenever there is a violation of ethical conduct by any employee, it pains us, pains me and all the leaders very deeply. 

“We take it extremely seriously and we will always take strong action.

TCS will review and strengthen its processes to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. 

He noted that the company follows a rigorous recruitment and qualification process for a firm to be called a BA firm.

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TCS relies on BAs to assist in sourcing talent worldwide, employing approximately 1,000 search firms across 55 countries to address talent shortages. 

Previously, TCS had clarified that there was no fraud committed by or against the company, and there was no financial impact resulting from the bribery case.

Chandrasekaran also discussed the global economic landscape, highlighting various trends such as Artificial Intelligence, energy transition, supply chain management transformation, and the need for new skills and talent. 

He pointed out that these trends indicate significant investment and technology adoption by companies worldwide.

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Building a Personal Brand: Leveraging Education and Skills for Career Success

A brand is a combination of education, skills, and presentation.

Employers can tell the kind of brand you are by looking at your profile and interacting with you for a few minutes.

Some of the judgment begins long before you say a word.

It is, therefore, important for students to blend education with skills and presentation to build an attractive brand that raises your profile in any industry you enter.

Personal branding requires you to front your potential. Every activity you undertake in life goes into building a formidable brand. It goes beyond academic work to include the extracurricular activities you enjoy when out of class.

Here are expert ways to build a brand by blending academic qualifications with skills to make you an attractive potential employee.

Improve your grades

Grades are important for your career progression.

They demonstrate your competence to handle tasks in an area. Work on your grades to boost the confidence of potential employers or associates in your skills. Get term paper help online to create sufficient time to revise and polish your academic work.

It takes time to prove your skills. It is the grades that give you that first chance to prove that you can handle a task. Further, poor grades will dilute the best skills you may possess. Write projects to avoid penalties. Submit assignments on time and revise for exams. It is the good grades that open the door for more opportunities in your career.

Join clubs and societies

Join groups like clubs, societies, and organizations that promote agenda that is related to your career. The clubs debate local, national, and international issues that sharpen your insight into the sector.

They also organize activities like symposiums, exhibitions, and fairs where you can showcase your works.

These events bring professionals from fields related to your area of study.

Clubs, societies, and organizations in college also give you an opportunity to lead.

You will improve your skills, increasing your understanding of the sector.

Further, such information and experience will place you ahead of your peers when looking for a job. These are opportunities to experiment with projects that could become your organization in the future.

Network with professionals

Seniors in any profession will guide you effectively when looking for career progression. Take every opportunity available to talk about your career to another professional who can push you a step ahead. Share ideas and exchange notes.

A professional network will include people in a position to employ you once you graduate. These professionals will guide you on the courses to take to improve your chances of employment. They also recommend you to potential employers whenever such an opportunity arises.

Take it online

The internet gives you access to a global audience. Make your social media and internet platforms a professional store. Share ideas about prevailing industry situations using videos, blog articles, and images. You will capture the attention of potential employers or associates.

The Internet gives you a bigger chance to demonstrate your skills. You can take videos at work or share ideas online. The materials will remain on the platform for years. An employer or associate can trace your growth and ideas through these materials. It increases your chances of being hired.

Growing a personal brand requires deliberate effort. Personal branding must consider what the industry requires and the traits you have to offer.

Find a role model or senior to guide you through professional branding. Set clear personal goals for your career and growth. Built a network that enables you to exploit the opportunities available in your industry. Utilize the internet to build a profile that will increase your professional capital.

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Thames Water on the verge of collapse after revealing £10 billion black hole

Thames Water

Thames Water is facing a £10 billion black hole and is now in urgent talks with the UK regulator Ofwat.

The company, which serves 15 million customers, is now in urgent discussions with Ofwat, ministers and government departments over fears over its viability without a significant cash infusion.

The company’s CEO Sarah Bentley also announced she was standing down earlier this week.

READ MORE: Thames Water CEO’s £1.5m pay package sparks controversy

Estimates suggest there is a financial deficit of around £10 billion.

Measures being discussed include temporarily nationalising the company, which would include a big investment of public money, as well as customer bills increasing.

The sale of the company is another option.

No indication has yet been given about how this could affect the company’s 7,000 plus staff and contractors.

This would mean current shareholders, which include large Canadian and UK pension funds and investment vehicles for state money from China and Abu Dhabi.

Thames Water may need £10 billion more than it has already budgeted to bring infrastructure up to regulatory standards.

However, officials are still trying to determine the final cost, and this figure does not include the cost of interest payments on its £14bn debt.

A minister, who requested anonymity, said the government did not have a clear understanding of the costs involved or how much taxpayer support might be needed.

They said Thames Water and other water companies were in distress and needed urgent attention.

UK Business Minister Kemi Badenoch said the government was exploring ways to ensure the survival of Thames Water.

She told Sky News the government was looking at what it could do in order to make sure that “Thames Water as an entity” survived.

READ MORE: Union slams Yorkshire Water CEO’s bonus sacrifice as “hollow”

A spokesperson for Thames declined to comment on the size of the required cash injection but said the company maintained a strong liquidity position.

They said the company was working with shareholders to secure further equity funding to support Thames Water’s turnaround and investment plans.

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A spokesperson for Ofwat said it was monitoring the financial position of all key water and wastewater companies and had been in ongoing discussions with Thames Water about the need for a robust and credible plan to turn the business around and improve its performance for customers and the environment.

A government spokesperson said: “This is a matter for the company [Thames] and its shareholders. We prepare for a range of scenarios across our regulated industries – including water – as any responsible government would. The sector as a whole is financially resilient. Ofwat continues to monitor the financial position of all the key water and wastewater companies.”

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Ziprecruiter cuts 270 jobs as CEO takes 30 percent pay cut

Ziprecruiter logo

A program of 270 cuts at job-hunting platform Ziprecruiter is set to come to an end as the company struggles in a cautious hiring environment.

The company planned to see the cuts finish by tomorrow (Friday, June 30).

After making the announcement last month, the company said: “This action was taken in response to current market conditions and after reducing other discretionary expenses, with a view toward driving long-term efficiency.”

READ MORE: ZipRecruiter share price plunges as CEO admits to a “cooling hiring environment”

The company’s CEO Ian Siegel has also taken a 30 percent pay cut on his $550,000 salary.

CNN reported around half the staff leaving are in sales and customer support teams.

It is thought the move will cost between $7 million and $9 million in severance costs.

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The cuts follow massive reductions across the tech sector.

Amazon has already carried out two massive reductions of around 27,0000 staff.

Facebook owner Meta has also cut 21,000 jobs.

The likes of Google owner Alphabet, Microsoft and Salesforce have all carried out large job cuts.

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Ted Baker cuts 200 head office jobs after US buyout

Ted Baker

Fashion giant Ted Baker has cut 200 head office jobs including finance, production and footwear.

Drapers reported the company cut the jobs earlier this month after its buyout in October by Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a US-based brand owner, development, and entertainment company that also owns Reebok, Forever 21, and Juicy Couture.

The move comes after ABG’s decision to outsource Ted Baker’s stores and ecommerce site to retail management firm AARC in April.

READ MORE: KPMG to cut five percent of US workforce

AARC will now manage the business in 11 countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

ABG also entered into an agreement with PDS to oversee Ted Baker’s sourcing and manufacturing.

At the time, it was stated that PDS would “become a core licensee and operating partner for Ted Baker.”

In the previous month, ABG signed a long-term licensing agreement with UK-based shoes and accessories brand Aldo to produce Ted Baker footwear, handbags, and small leather goods.

Rachel Osborne, the former CEO of Ted Baker, has departed the company, along with CFO Marc Dench, Chief People Officer Peter Collyer, and Commercial and Business Development Director Helen Costello.

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A representative for Authentic Brands Group confirmed the restructuring, stating: “Yes, there was a restructure.

“Less than 15 percent of Ted Baker [head office] employees were impacted through the process.

“The changes did not affect store or customer-facing employees.”

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ChatGPT to open London office and will recruit “dynamic research and engineering teams”


ChatGPT owner OpenAI has announced it will open its first UK office in London.

OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, views the move as a chance to recruit top-tier talent globally.

This announcement follows Altman’s criticism of the EU’s proposed AI regulation, which mandates companies to disclose the data used in training their systems.

READ MORE: “We’re all scared a bad guy could grab it” – Bill Gates on Artificial Intelligence

In contrast, the UK is considering a more “pro-innovation” approach to regulation.

Diane Yoon, OpenAI’s VP of People, said: “We are eager to assemble dynamic research and engineering teams to bolster our commitment to developing and advocating for safe AI.”

ChatGPT, which debuted last November, has generated significant global interest due to its ability to provide human-like responses.

This has also sparked discussions about the potential risks of AI and the necessary regulations to mitigate these risks, with the likes of Tesla boss Elon Musk raising major concerns.

During a gathering at University College London in May, Altman said AI could generate jobs and reduce inequality.

At the same event, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that AI could “positively transform humanity” and improve public services by offering emerging opportunities in various areas.

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ChatGPT has had its share of controversy, with a temporary ban in Italy in April 2023 before its reinstatement.

The UK government has reportedly invested £2.5bn in AI since 2014.

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