It became known about the massive cuts in Skillbox and GeekBrains. They lost 300 people in November-December alone. The number of people dismissed in a year can be many times more (almost more than one and a half thousand). We talked to his former employees about what is happening in the educational holding.

But first, a little introductory.

The figure of 300 people was announced by Vedomosti. The publication gave information with reference to three unnamed sources, one of which is close to the leadership of Skillbox. It was clarified that methodologists, producers and specialists of the educational platform support service fell under the cuts.

The main reason for layoffs, according to experts of the publication, is the optimization of business after the merger of Skillbox and GeekBrains, which took place last August. According to its results, both companies became part of a single holding company Skillbox Limited, 50.06% of which belongs to VK.

However, the cuts can be much more extensive. As specified on the pages of “Habra“, now “more than 1600 active resumes have been published on HeadHunter, where Skillbox or Geekbrains are indicated as the last place of work for the last calendar year.” Yes, “Facancy recruitment service recorded 427 current profiles of employees with experience in Skillbox and 193 with experience in Geekbrains.”

We decided to find out what the situation looks like from the inside. Two former employees agreed to talk to us. Another person who previously interacted with the holding confirmed the words of the speaker, who previously worked at GeekBrains.

The situation in Skillbox

According to a former Skillbox employee who wished to remain anonymous, the company experienced rapid growth throughout 2020. Skillbox actively recruited employees, launched new projects, moreover, it was ready for experimental formats, which it gave the green light to.

At the beginning of 2021, the situation changed. The management began to talk about a change of strategy. Instead of constantly launching new products and courses, it was decided to focus on supporting existing ones. Bold initiatives have ceased to be supported.

The situation worsened in the fall. Skillbox began to close those areas, products and courses that did not show profitability. Including very young ones who simply did not have time to go into the plus, being launched, for example, in the spring of the same year. Along with the closures, the cuts also began.

The latter took place in all departments, including video production, methodological department and support. All employees were aware of them, but neither the management nor HR made any statements. At the same time, there were rumors that up to 40% of people fell under the cuts.

Even within the framework of a large corporate meeting, not a word was said that someone would be fired. On the contrary, the management talked about a new strategy, about big plans for the next year, about how the company values the team. And then, almost the next day, some of the Skillbox employees received an invitation to the HR office, where they were asked to leave by agreement of the parties.

The situation in GeekBrains

We also talked to one of the former GeekBrains employees, who had already left the company by November, but continued to monitor the situation. He also wished to remain anonymous.

According to him, the problems in GeekBrains began in early 2021. Then the company changed its CEO. He became Alexander Volchek, who from 2012 to 2015 led the organization for training for entrepreneurs “Business Youth“.

He brought his team to GeekBrains. For example, Alexander Sagun became the executive director of the educational company, who worked at the Business of Youth for seven years and where he was also responsible for sales.

After the leadership change, GeekBrains started having problems. Turnover has increased in the company. In parallel, problems began with the payment of money to teachers of educational programs and difficulties with the possibility of obtaining a refund for tuition. The source also connects the appearance of controversial programs with the new management (a la “Developer” or “Digital Master“).

As for the massive cuts, they began in GeekBrains much earlier than November — back in August, when it became known about the merger of GeekBrains with Skillbox into a single holding. The dismissals turned out to be so significant and obvious that, according to our source, the figure of 1,600 dismissed in a year looks quite reliable.


We also contacted Skillbox’s PR and Communications Director for comment. However, at the time of publication of the material, we have not received a response.

Update from 01/28/2021: On Thursday, a representative of the company contacted us and said that the company would refrain from commenting on this issue.