Edinburgh-based tech firm Skyscanner announce 20 per cent job losses and office closures

The tech company said more than 80 jobs could potentially go at their base in Edinburgh’s Quartermile.

Job losses have been announced at travel tech firm Skyscanner
Job losses have been announced at travel tech firm Skyscanner

Edinburgh-based tech travel firm Skyscanner has announced it plans to cut around 20 per cent of its workforce worldwide, affecting up to 84 jobs in Edinburgh.

The tech firm, which has been hit hard by the slow-down in travel and tourism caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, said they plan to centralising their marketing teams and plan to consolidate their office footprint.

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Earlier in the year, the company had frozen all but essential hiring and had reduced spend and budgets across all departments, as well as implementing a voluntary change in working patterns.

Gareth Williams, founder of Skyscanner in the company's old Princes Street office prior to their move to Quartermile.

A spokesperson said 20 per cent of staff will lose their jobs with two offices in Budapest, Hungary and Sofia, Bulgaria, likely to shut.

The job losses will affect around 300 of the 1,500 staff at the company world-wide.

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In Edinburgh, the spiritual home of the company and its base since 2003, 84 jobs could be lost with the exact number subject to consultation. The office in Quartermile is not likely to shut.

The total is around eight per cent of the company’s total workforce, but new roles will be created as part of the process and priority will be given to employees as an alternative to redundancy.

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In addition to this, 60 students due to join the company via its graduate scheme – one of the tech world’s leading and best paid schemes for new entrants to the job market.

The company said the impact on the UK side of the business will be “less” than others.

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A spokesperson told The Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News: “While we’re confident of Skyscanner’s recovery in the long-term, the impact of COVID-19 means there is still uncertainty on how much time it will take for travel to recover and what this might look like.

"Our graduate recruitment plans are made up to a year in advance and we offered these roles with sincere intent, prior to COVID-19 impacting the business.

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"We highly value our grads and are very sorry that without a clear picture as to when travel will return to normal, we now have to propose further changes.

"Regrettably, these include the proposed retraction of this year’s grad programme, alongside streamlining and centralising our wider workforce. This is a step we had hoped never to have to take.

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“This is a hard time for our people and teams, so throughout this process our priority - as it always is - will be to treat everyone with empathy, care and respect. We’ll be working to make sure we support them as much as we can.”

Skyscanner was founded in 2003 in Edinburgh with the Capital home to the company’s headquarters since the beginning.

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Founded by Gareth Williams, Barry Smith, and Bonamy Grimes, the travel tech firm was sold to Chinese firm Ctrip, now Trip.com Group, in 2016 in a deal which valued the company at £1.4 billion, making it the largest tech travel deal in Europe.

It was also Scotland’s first ‘unicorn’ company before the purchase by Ctrip – referring to a privately held company which is worth more than £1bn.

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The site compares flight, car rental and hotel prices for customers and hit 100 million monthly users in 2019.

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