Refinery29 lays off 34 employees amid digital media headwinds

Refinery29 has conducted a round of layoffs in an acknowledgement that the digital media industry is facing advertising headwinds. 

The women's lifestyle website has let go of 34 employees, or about 7 percent of its staff, a spokeswoman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter

"This year has been especially challenging for digital media and advertising companies," reads a statement from the company. "Refinery29 has seen tremendous growth, but is not immune to some of the negatives that this growth brings. As such, the team has made a difficult decision to part ways with 34 members of the team in an effort to make an investment in the future of the company." 

The 12-year-old company has more than 450 employees around the world and has raised more than $125 million from investors including Turner and Scripps Networks. It currently has around 500 million users across platforms. 

The layoffs come as the digital media industry at large suffers from a course correction. Mashable recently sold to Ziff Davis for what is reported to be well below its one-time valuation of $250 million. Meanwhile, Vice and BuzzFeed are both expected not to meet their revenue projections this year. BuzzFeed, acknowledging that the last year had been a tough one for the media, recently laid off around 100 employees as it reorganized its advertising and sales teams. 

"The media is in crisis," BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti wrote in a letter published Dec. 12 that pointed to the dominance of Facebook and Google in the digital advertising industry and the impact that has had on digital media companies producing content that is distributed on other platforms.

Business Insider, which first reported on the Refinery29 layoffs, published a memo to employees from co-founders Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano that reads in part, "Looking ahead to 2018, we foresee that many of the challenges in our industry will likely continue — which is why we’re moving forward with clarity and resolution. As dozens of content companies have been funded over the past 48 months, we’re seeing a correction in the digital media space. This is a time where the strongest businesses with the most meaningful brands and diversified revenue streams will continue to shine — and thrive."

RELATED: 10 highest-paying jobs for millennials

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10 highest-paying jobs for millennials
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10 highest-paying jobs for millennials

10. Loan Officer

Average salary: $75,170

Work-life balance: above average

Stress level: average

Working for banks, mortgage companies and other financial institutions, loan officers determine whether to approve loans for individuals and businesses. They collect financial information to assess whether applicants need money and how easily they will be able to repay those funds. Officers often specialize in the fields of consumer (given to individuals), commercial (given to businesses) and mortgage (given to purchase property) loans. They need to have strong instincts for sales and customer service. Some officers travel outside of office settings to meet with clients off site.

9. Accountant

Average salary: $75,280

Work-life balance: above average

Stress level: average

Sticklers for detail and deadlines, accountants prepare and assess financial documents. Most individuals come into contact with these professionals in the early spring around tax time, but accountants work year-round for companies and other institutions, keeping records up to date and ensuring compliance with reporting requirements. In addition to completing college coursework, many accountants take licensing exams to become certified. Depending on their specialties, they may have busy seasons, such as the end of a company's fiscal year. Organization and timeliness are essential to success in this field.

8. Operations Research Analyst

Average salary: $84,180

Work-life balance: average

Stress level: above average

People who love to solve puzzles and devise more efficient ways of working may thrive as operations research analysts. They use math and analytical tools to help businesses streamline their work and devise solutions to challenges. They may also conduct interviews with workers to gain a fuller understanding of how systems work. Operations research analysts often labor in teams with people who have expertise complementary to their own, so the ability to collaborate is important to the job. They also must be confident in their ability to make solid recommendations, since most business problems have many possible solutions.

7. Radiation Therapist

Average salary: $84,460

Work-life balance: above average

Stress level: below average

If the health care world interests you, but the prospect of completing medical school seems daunting, a career in radiation therapy could be a good option. These therapists work closely with patients to provide treatment for cancer. Using CT scans and X-rays and working closely with doctors and nurses, they discern where to target radiation and administer doses. They're responsible for keeping detailed records of their work. Being able to communicate compassionately with patients and their families is important to this role, which may appeal to millennials who want to aid others.

6. Environmental Engineer

Average salary: $88,040

Work-life balance: average

Stress level: average

For the nature-lover with a scientific bent, environmental engineering could be an attractive career path. People who work in this field apply biology, chemistry and engineering principles to design and build better systems for recycling, water use and pollution control. Their work affects not only the natural world but also public health and government policies. Although many environmental engineers spend time in office settings, they may have opportunities to travel to and work from outdoor locations where projects are underway. Beyond scientific training, environmental engineers should have strong communication skills.

5. Mechanical Engineer

Average salary: $88,190

Work-life balance: above average

Stress level: average

Love to see physical results from your hard work? You may appreciate the world of mechanical engineers, who dream up, construct and assess tools and machines. They develop and use cutting-edge technology at manufacturing companies and engineering firms, working on turbines, batteries, generators and engines. Mechanical engineers should be good at math, working in teams and applying creative thinking to solving real-world problems. Although they help produce tangible products, they use computer systems frequently in their work, so technical skills are important, too.

4. Computer Systems Analyst

Average salary: $90,180

Work-life balance: average

Stress level: average

Technology jobs don't have to be solitary. Computer systems analysts combine digital knowledge with customer service, working closely with business professionals to learn the ins and outs of their company needs and the technological possibilities that can address them. After selecting appropriate solutions, computer systems analysts help install digital systems and train other workers how to use them. These information science specialists often develop expertise in topics like health care or finance and may work directly for corporations or as consultants.

3. Software Developer

Average salary: $102,160

Work-life balance: above average

Stress level: average

The games on your smartphone, the computer programs essential to your job, the systems you use to edit photos and stream movies: These are all examples of software, technology that has built much of the contemporary world. Software developers are the architects of that technology, which makes their work exciting to some millennials. The profession requires computer coding skills, creativity and a tolerance for trial and error. The work can sometimes be done remotely, making it a good fit for a young worker hoping to establish a good work-life balance.

2. Actuary

Average salary: $110,560

Work-life balance: average

Stress level: average

In antiquity, the Greeks had oracles and the Chinese had fortunetellers. Today, businesses rely on actuaries to discern probable outcomes. Actuaries don't actually predict the future, of course, but they use statistics and financial theory to assess the likelihood that specific events will come to pass. They identify risks and create policies designed to minimize the costs of those risks. Actuaries often work for insurance companies, where their expertise helps set profitable rates for various insurance plans. In addition to strong math skills, actuaries need a solid understanding of computer science and databases.

1. Financial Advisor

Average salary: $118,050

Work-life balance: average

Stress level: above average

From assessing stock options to reviewing taxes to making recommendations about retirement savings, financial advisors help clients make the most of their resources. They often have backgrounds in business, economics or psychology and should be good listeners who can explain complex systems clearly. When not directly advising clients, many financial advisors have to market their services through networking and making presentations. About a fifth of financial advisors are self-employed, and many work during the evenings and on weekends, which may appeal to millennials who want to set their own schedules and preserve a good work-life balance.

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