Careem lays off 31% workforce amid losses due to COVID-19

Middle East’s ride-hailing unicorn, now owned by Uber is undoubtedly one of those businesses which are affected by the COVID-19 crisis to the most. The company has recently announced that it is officially laying off 31 percent of its workforce, which is equivalent to a total of 536 employees, in a wake of huge losses amid the COVID-19 crisis.


The news came a couple of days back, on May 4, when the company rolled out an open letter to its employees in which Careem’s CEO & co-founder Mudassir Sheikha starts with saying,

“There is no easy way to say this, so I will get straight to the point: starting tomorrow and for the next three days, 536 of our colleagues who make up 31% of Careem will leave us. We delayed this decision as long as possible so that we could exhaust all other means to secure Careem.”

The letter also states that the overall business is down by 80 percent, and that is the core reason behind the decision to let go employees,

“Our business is down by more than 80% and the recovery timeline is alarmingly unknown. Our parent company Uber, believes in our Super App vision and is committed to the region, but like others in the industry, is also impacted by the crisis.”

The letter also affirms that the company has arranged a backup for all the laid-off employees which includes the following security benefactions:

“While the details vary slightly by market, we have arranged at least three months of severance pay, one month of equity vesting, and where relevant, extended visa and medical insurance for you and your family until the end of the year,”

In the letter, Sheikha also sought remission from the laid-off employees by adding,

“First, forgive us for prioritizing Careem’s security above you, and for any mistakes that we may have made in the process. Many of you will hopefully remain life-long friends and partners in the future.”

The complete letter from Careem’s CEO, Mudassir Sheikha can be read here.

The co-founder and CEO of Careem, Mudassir Sheikha in a conversation with The National mentioned that the decision to lay off employees was made in a wake of the impact of COVID-19 due to which Careem’s ride-hailing business is witnessing a downfall of 90 percent and for its delivery business, it is 60 percent.

Careem also laid off 150 employees earlier this year in wake of cutting costs and support its expansion strategy soon after being acquired by Uber for $3.1 billion. Careem Now, the delivery arm of Careem is now operating Uber Eats in the UAE as a subsidiary after the very recent exit of Uber Eats from 7 countries including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

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M Haseeb
M Haseeb

Founder of LAFFAZ Media. A tech enthusiast, digital marketer and critical thinker. Has worked with over 50 startups across India and UAE for building their digital marketing strategies.

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