Shopify Inc. SHOP-T is cancelling internships and job offers for people who were to begin working for the Ottawa-based e-commerce company this fall, as it deals with challenges posed by its fallen stock price.
In a statement to The Globe and Mail on Friday, Shopify spokesperson Alex Lyons said the “fall internship program will continue with a reduced number of roles, which we have completed hiring for.” Mr. Lyons said Shopify is also evaluating other roles in a bid to focus on immediate initiatives to address the unwavering selloff that is battering the global technology sector.
Many tech companies have significantly scaled back their hiring plans and reduced staff in order to combat economic uncertainty stemming from inflation, rising interest rates, the war in Ukraine and a reversal of pandemic trends. Shopify now joins companies such as Twitter Inc., Coinbase Global Inc. and others that have yanked internship offers to address these global challenges.
Shopify’s internship cancellations will mostly affect students in universities and colleges, but also other early-career tech workers. The company runs three intern application cycles a year that hire for three-, four- and eight-month periods. It offers hundreds of internships in a variety of departments: mobile development, front-end development, digital product design, data engineering, content design, production engineering, data science and backend development.
Many of Shopify’s internships are part of co-op programs, which provide students with hands-on experience to balance their in-class learning, thereby giving them practical experience in their field of study. Postsecondary students often take off entire terms to complete their co-ops.
But for most Canadian universities that offer co-ops, completion is mandatory, so students will need to successfully finish the out-of-school programs in order to graduate.
That means those students who had picked Shopify for their co-ops in the fall term are now scrambling, as they try to make alternative plans while being locked out by a majority of tech companies that have already secured their new cohort of recruits. Those companies include Meta Platforms Inc., which runs Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and Alphabet Inc., the parent company for Google and YouTube.
Beyond Shopify’s internships, many new hires at the company had already been put in a state of limbo as they await their start date. A number of prospective employees, who were told they were going to be hired, have yet to receive written offers with salary figures apart from those discussed with Shopify recruiters.
Last week, Shopify said it is delaying an ambitious compensation overhaul that would give its employees more choice in how they’re paid. At least 50 people have been laid off since April, and dozens of permanent job offers have been delayed by Shopify while it adjusts that salary framework.
Two years ago, Shopify stock traded for about $50 a share (adjusted for a recent 10-for-1 stock split) on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It went on to more than quadruple in price, hitting a record high of $222.87 late last year, before the bottom fell out.
On Friday, Shopify closed at $40.70.
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