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Airbnb plans to cut 35% of its Dublin workforce with around 190 jobs to go

Employees are being consulted as part of the redundancy process.

Image: DPA/PA Images

AIRBNB PLANS TO shed 35% of its Dublin workforce.

Employees have been told that the company is targeting 190 redundancies at its European headquarters in Grand Canal Docks, because of the decline in its online bookings business as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On 8 May, company chief executive and founder Brian Chesky announced that out of 7,500 employees globally, “nearly 1,900 teammates will have to leave Airbnb, comprising around 25% of our company”.

At the time of the announcement, it wasn’t clear if the cuts would significantly impact the company’s Dublin office, where it employs just over 500 people.

TheJournal.ie now understands that over half of the Dublin workforce, some 320 employees, are involved in a consultation process with the company, which will result in around 190 redundancies. 

Airbnb could not confirm its exact employee headcount in the capital or the exact number of redundancies that would be sought. However, this website has seen internal communications sent to employees detailing plans for approximately 190 staff members to depart the company. 

A spokesperson for the company confirmed that over 500 people were employed in Dublin and that around 35% of staff based in the capital would be made redundant as part of the company’s plans. 

The Dublin figure is substantially higher than the global company-wide planned reduction of 25%. 

Workers have been told that the Dublin customer service team will suffer the worst of the cuts with around 100 out of the targeted 190 redundancies coming from that team alone.

Chesky, the chief executive, said in his statement last month that the company had been “hit hard” by the sudden downturn in business, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what was made in 2019.

“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill.”

He said the company has raised $2 billion (about €1.8 billion) in capital and “dramatically cut costs” in response to the crisis.

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The statement also informed employees outside the US that they “will receive at least 14 weeks of pay, plus tenure increases consistent with their country-specific practices”. 

Although the company had a presence in Ireland from 2012, Airbnb announced plans to significantly ramp up its Irish operations on its company blog in 2013. In September that year, it publicly signalled its intention to set up European headquarters in Dublin.

Chesky said at the time that Dublin was chosen because Ireland “has hospitality in its DNA” and is known for its warm welcome. He added that the city was an emerging technology epicentre in Europe, with nearly every language represented.

In 2014, Airbnb moved its Dublin HQ from Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4 to the Watermarque building in Ringsend. It then moved to the Reflector Building on Hanover Quay — built by developer Michael Cotter’s Park Developments — in 2016, where it is currently based.

Airbnb’s short-term letting business model has put the company in the firing line of Irish policymakers in recent years.

Concerns about landlords withdrawing properties from the long-term rental market to rent out on a short-term basis resulted in the government bringing in new laws last year to curb the practice in areas where demand for rentals are high.

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