Amid rough sledding for tech stocks in general, Uber in particular is tightening its belt.
The ride-share big dog informed employees on Sunday that cuts are coming to marketing and driver incentives.
It also indicated that hiring would slow — or from now on would be considered a “privilege.”
Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said in an email, obtained by CNBC, “it’s clear that the market is experiencing a seismic shift and we need to react accordingly.”
That’s apparently an acknowledgement that tech investors are no longer interested almost exclusively in growth. They’re now also eager to see some good old-fashioned profits to boot.
Uber, like a number of high-flying tech companies, has been pitching itself to Wall Street as a company on the go, and has used various growth metrics to back that up.
But profits have been a moving target — and Uber’s latest cutbacks appear to reflect a growing awareness that it needs to shore up its finances if it wants to keep making a compelling case to investors.
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“We have to make sure our unit economics work before we go big,” Khosrowshahi wrote in his email. “The least efficient marketing and incentive spend will be pulled back.”
Hiring, he said, will become a good deal pickier.
“We will treat hiring as a privilege and be deliberate about when and where we add headcount,” Khosrowshahi said. “We will be even more hardcore about costs across the board.”
Whether new hires see being on Uber’s team as a “privilege” remains to be seen. That sort of thing generally places the onus on the employer to make workers feel they’re part of something special.
The company’s shares are down more than 40% so far this year, and they’re lower again Monday.