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San Francisco tech recruiting startup slashes jobs in tough start to 2024

A blurred view through a glass window of people sitting inside a conference room
San Francisco-based hiring company Lever recently cut a slew of workers, one of the first tech firms to do so in 2024. | Source: AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

At the end of 2023, tech industry observers told The Standard that layoffs in the Bay Area would likely persist into the new year—even as the year overall looks to be more promising for hiring and retaining talent. 

Among the first businesses to kick off those layoff rounds, hitting less than a week into 2024, is San Francisco-based hiring company Lever, which recently cut a slew of workers.  

“The tech sector experienced a challenging year, and unfortunately we can confirm limited headcount reductions within the organization to align our objectives and financial plans for 2024 and beyond,” Pete Lamson, CEO of Lever’s parent company, Employ, sent in a statement to The Standard.

“These decisions were made with careful consideration and we’re committed to supporting these team members through this transition to aid them in their next career steps.” 

A representative for the company declined to provide an exact count of how many workers were impacted. Social media posts indicate that customer service workers at Lever were among those hit.

Lever’s core product helps to track job applicants and recruiting efforts for companies. Among its major clients are Netflix and Big Four accounting firm KPMG. 

The startup was acquired by Employ, which is based out of Massachusetts, in 2022. Financial details about the deal were not made public, but Lever raised more than $120 million from venture capital investors, including a $50 million Series D that valued it at around $550 million. 

Lever CEO and co-founder Nate Smith left the company after the acquisition and currently works advising startups at Y Combinator.

This layoff, like other recent reductions in recruiting jobs and people-centered positions in the tech industry, is perhaps indicative of the ongoing challenges hitting tech hiring. 

More than 76,000 tech workers were laid off by companies headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2023, according to data from 

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