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How Byju's Staff Struggle With Layoffs

By Anushka Bhardwaj & Ojasvi Gupta
March 04, 2024 09:32 IST
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'Due to the fear caused by the Byju's crisis, several employees have chosen to take up entry-level jobs in firms other than edtech.'

Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters

The spate of layoffs by crisis-ridden Byju's has upended the lives of several people who worked at what was once the poster child of the Indian edtech industry.

While some have moved to other edtech platforms at lower salaries, there are those who have left the sector altogether, opting instead to take up jobs in potentially stable industries.

Byju's, grappling with a liquidity crunch and pending lender repayments, has claimed to have initiated a salary settlement process for those who were laid off. However, several employees that Business Standard spoke with said they are yet to get any confirmation on this.

With officials at Byju's allegedly unapproachable, some former employees are making their plight known through social media posts.

'My last working day at Byju's was October 8 (2023). Even after four months of departure, the final payment is yet to be settled. No communication has been received so far,' a teacher posted on X on February 12, 2024.

At its peak in 2022, Byju's had about 50,000 employees, which included the edtech firm's various subsidiaries. Since last year, it has initiated restructuring exercises and multiple rounds of layoffs, reducing its workforce to about 15,000.

Shikha Kuthiala, a mathematics teacher who was given the pink slip during Byju's August-September 2023 layoff round, said the stress of losing the job was as much emotional as financial.

"Although I was not the sole earner in my family, my portion of income was suddenly cut, and more than financial, it took a mental toll," she said.

Talking about the discomfort that was majorly caused by the suddenness of the process, she said, "You get used to a certain style of spending, and then overnight, you become dependent on somebody else. It leaves you helpless and confused."

Kuthila now works with another edtech platform, earning less than she did at Byju's.

"The layoff period was tough," said a former employee who left Byju's in July 2023 after working in the video department for five years.

As the layoffs became frequent and the worry of losing the job set in, others too started exiting the company, said this person asking not to be named.

"Due to the fear caused by the Byju's crisis, several employees have chosen to take up entry-level jobs in firms other than edtech," this person said.

"They are ready to work at lower salaries if that industry is stable."

Meanwhile, with employees looking for safer choices, gig work and freelancing platforms have seen a push in an already booming sector -- coaching.

Kajal Malik, co-founder and chief business officer, PickMyWork, a New Delhi-based gig platform, said, "Amid the recent layoffs at prominent edtech companies and the subsequent surge of teachers turning to gig work, it's clear that the gig economy model presents an appealing alternative to those affected."

An employee who left Byju's last week after working as a product manager and then in the sales department, told Business Standard that they used to be paid nearly Rs 5.5 lakh per annum.

However, now, the firm is sacking employees like her and hiring fresh talent at almost half the pay, she alleged.

Workdays had also started becoming difficult, she said. "Our shift time was extended, taking breaks was tough and micromanagement began." This person is now working on her YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, Byju's Founder and CEO Byju Raveendran recently said that the employees had received the salary for January and that he was 'moving mountains' to make payroll.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Anushka Bhardwaj & Ojasvi Gupta
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