Inside Higher Ed reports that ETS has laid off six percent of its employees, which is estimated to be about 150 people.  This is at least the fifth round of layoffs at the testing firm since 2021.  Impacted staff were contacted personally and a video featuring CEO Amit Sevak was sent company-wide.

A few highlights from the article:


  1. Sevak said in the video: “We need to rethink how we serve our customers and align ourselves to new ways of working, re-evaluate our skills and staffing to make sure we have what we need to move forward, and to continually, effectively and efficiently manage our financial health”


  1. A recent employee satisfaction survey obtained by Inside Higher Ed showed displeasure with the leadership of the group.  One responded noting: “…we still lack a coherent, actionable strategy, and leadership seems completely out of touch with the organization and its people, to the point of it seeming disrespectful.”


  1. Inside Higher Ed notes that other responses “show a distinct lack of confidence in the organization’s leadership.”  Says one: “There is a general consensus across the company that Sr Leadership is not honest with staff, there is no real strategy, and decisions are being made that go against supporting data.”


  1. Says another:  “Everyone is working under the constant possibility of having their job eliminated or outsourced… We’ve gone through so many staff reductions over the past year that it is demoralizing staff … Many people have left ETS, and many of those who remain at ETS are looking for jobs.”


  1. The article notes:  “In 2004, a minor schism between ETS and the College Board led the latter to shift from ETS to Pearson as its main test scorer; 10 years later, that rift deepened when the College Board opted to bring test development, formerly ETS’s purview, in house.”


  1. And: “ETS’s contract with the College Board to administer the SAT is up for renewal next June. When asked via email whether it was likely to renew the partnership, a spokesperson for College Board said the company doesn’t comment on vendor relationships.”


The last note is worth watching.  Just two days ago I wrote in this space about how College Board work accounts for about 30% of ETS’s revenue. A loss of that contract could be significant (though, of course, part of that revenue likely comes from work on the AP tests).

I believe there were also several rounds of layoffs in the pre-pandemic period.

It is worth noting that many of the best and brightest minds at rival testing firm Duolingo seem to be former ETSers.  I am unsure if they were affected by those layoffs or, perhaps, if they took buy-outs during the period.  Or just departed.

I do encourage readers to check out the original article.

Best of luck to those affected.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments