Despite the apparently buoyant demand for food delivery services that has made its signature green uniform and backpack ubiquitous on streets, Grab will be cutting its headcount by 5 percent, or around 360 employees. In a note sent to employees on June 16 and subsequently released on Grab's blog, CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said that Grab would have to "become leaner as an organization in order to tackle the challenges of the post-pandemic economy".
The affected employees will be notified by 1pm on June 16, according to the note, and will receive extensive "financial, professional medical, and emotional support" including severance payments, medical insurance coverage until the end of the year, encashment of benefits and outplacement support. Employees will also be allowed to keep their company-issued laptops.
The ride-hailing firm's revenues have been falling steadily since the COVID-19 outbreak prompted lockdowns across the region, and in May it announced pay cuts of up to 20 percent for senior leaders as part of a cost reduction exercise. However, it has also been attempting to support drivers and delivery riders throughout the pandemic, including cutting vehicle rental and offering income support to riders who are quarantined or hospitalized.
Grab is not the only major gig firm in the region to have cut costs and laid off employees amid COVID-19 disruption, while going to lengths to support drivers and riders. Its Indonesian rival Gojek already went through several rounds of layoffs earlier in the year, even as senior management diverted large chunks of their pay to supporting drivers.