- Digital payments company Block has trimmed its workforce, cutting about 1% of its total headcount late last week.
- The cuts follow the company’s February pledge to ensure its investments are focused on customer retention as it pursues profitable growth over the long term. “Since then, each business unit has been making adjustments to ensure we remain disciplined and focused to further this goal,” a Block spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. “This has resulted in the difficult decision to right-size our recruiting team to ensure we are supporting the current business needs in a responsible way.”
- The company had intended to increase headcount by about 10% this year, but as Block has pulled back on hiring, “we believe we’ll come in south of that,” Block CFO Amrita Ahuja said at an investor conference last month.
Last year, Block’s headcount grew 46%, and the company ended 2022 with 12,428 employees worldwide, according to Block’s most recent annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Like many payments companies, however, the parent company of merchant business Square, peer-to-peer unit Cash App and buy now, pay later provider Afterpay has been forced to make trade-offs.
Since making February’s pledge, Block’s leaders have looked at the complete cost of their businesses, inclusive of share-based compensation, leading the company “to pull back on our pace of hiring, to be more targeted in hiring for critical roles and to focus more on performance management,” Block Head Jack Dorsey said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call in August.
That includes job cuts, which the company made to its recruiting team late last week.
Personnel is one of the top areas in which Block is pursuing cost-cutting, Ahuja said at a Goldman Sachs conference on Sept. 6. “We are pulling back on hiring in a much more meaningful way than we had intended in this year, and certainly than in prior years,” said Ahuja, also the company’s chief operating officer.
“We are still investing in certain teams and we’ll pull back in others,” she said last month. The company is still hiring for a number of open roles across its business units, including in software engineering and sales, according to Block’s careers webpage.
Block joins a crop of payments companies that have made staff cuts this year, including digital payments pioneer PayPal, digital payments company Stripe, buy now, pay later company Affirm, and card issuing fintech Marqeta.
Block executives have also said the company aims to rein in sales and marketing spending, and that spending growth won’t be as high as it was last year. Block has sought to corporate overhead costs too, including shuttering some real estate locations on the West coast, Ahuja said last month.
In August, Block announced it was pulling the plug on Cash App’s Verse brand in the European Union and buy now, pay later operations in Spain, France and Italy.