Last month, Vox Media ($VOXMEDIA) was one of the first media companies to reduce its payroll overhead as it looks to weather a tough advertising market. In mid-April, CEO Jim Bankoff announced Vox would furlough 9% of its employees, reduce hours for another 1%, and cut salaries by 10% for those making more than 13,000. He also noted that he and the compay's president would both take 50% pay cuts.
But weeks ahead of that announcement, the company began cutting new job listings dramatically. From the end of March to mid-April, Vox reduced job listings from 80 to just 49.
The cutbacks have since continued. As of this week, Vox lists just 29 openings on its careers page, the lowest we've seen since we began tracking the metric in 2016.
The Vox Media union asked Bankoff to take a 100% pay cut, but he refused.
"Some of you have asked if we could have avoided furloughs or layoffs by sharing deeper or longer salary cuts. The answer, unfortunately, is no. First, the math is such that the minimum amount of savings we need to make a dent in the revenue shortfall would not be meaningfully reduced with steeper cuts across earning levels or longer periods alone," he said.
Cost-cutting via hiring freezes is also occuring at other new-media giants including Buzzfeed and Vice. In the case of Vox, Bankoff cited missed revenue goals in the first quarter along with "the cancellations of SXSW and March Madness, the collapse of travel, sports and fashion-related advertising."
This week, Quartz announced layoffs that will affect 80 staffers. Buzzfeed also announced that it would shutter its UK and Australia news operations.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.
- Vox Media hiring tumbled more than 40% just before it furloughed 9% of its workforce
- Media jobs plummet at Vox, Vice, and Buzzfeed in the midst of Coronavirus
- Vox Media began move away from freelancers in September when AB 5 regulation passed, data reveals