It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but not for those still reeling from getting the axe in 2016.
The markets are at all-time highs and job forecasts in much of telecom and IT are looking brighter than they have in years, yet a number of the industry’s big names cut expenses this year — and with so much M&A activity announced in recent months, we’re bound to see more job cuts, unfortunately, in 2017.
Our layoff tracker recaps what at times was a tumultuous year for people who work(ed) for big companies that do business in the channel.
Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.
More than a month before announcing its purchase of $34 billion purchase of Level 3 Communications, CenturyLink said it would reduce its workforce by 7-8 percent by mid-December, first with voluntary severance packages and then layoffs.
Spokesman Mark Molzen told Channel Partners that the Monroe, Louisiana-based telco continually evaluates its cost structure and business practices, and adjusts its operations to meet the needs of the business.
“After careful consideration, CenturyLink has made the difficult decision to reduce its employee related costs,” he said. “We are approaching this initially on a voluntary basis. Employees who take voluntary severance packages can participate in outplacement assistance programs, subject to terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement, including career planning, resume preparation, marketing plan development, interview preparation and job search method training.”
With about 43,000 employees, a 7-8 percent workforce reduction would impact roughly 3,000-3,400 people.
The workforce reduction isn’t focused on any specific group of employees.
On a smaller scale, Level 3 Communications said in September that it would cut its workforce by about 70 people as part of a reorganization.
The news came one year after Level 3 laid off an unspecified number of workers post tw telecom acquisition.
“We announced a reduction of approximately 70 people as part of a reorganization to streamline our North America operations to better serve our customers,” the company said. “We are continuously evaluating opportunities to drive greater operational efficiencies to meet the needs of our business and bring us closer to our customers.”
It remains to be seen how CenturyLink’s acquisition of Level 3, announced in the fourth quarter, will impact personnel.
Read the full story here.
While not official layoffs, Verizon said in October that it plans to consolidate its customer operations, and relocate its telesales and BGCO operations, potentially displacing 3,200 non-union workers.
The key driver behind this decision, which included closing call centers in five states, is to “realign our real-estate portfolio and customer service operations to make the best use of extra capacity in the remaining locations,” the telco said.
Call centers closing were in California, Connecticut, Maine, Nebraska and New York.
About 3,200 call-center employees were asked to move to centers performing customer service or seek other positions with the company; obviously, a large number of those pursued other jobs.
Summer brought some gloom to almost 3,000 more Microsoft employees around the world who learned that their days at the software giant were numbered.
The company made the disclosure in its annual regulatory filing that it would cut another 2,850 positions — just the latest round of layoffs announced from Redmond in the past two years.
The company has been paring down its workforce significantly. Microsoft approved a plan a year ago to eliminate roughly 7,400 positions in fiscal year 2016 (FY16), predominantly in its phone hardware business. And in June, the company announced plans to nix 1,850 positions.
As many as 3,000 mostly U.S.-based employees of the new Dell Technologies learned they would be out of work.
The news came right after the closing of the $60 billion merger with EMC Corp. Between 2,000 and 3,000 company employees were caught in the layoffs, as reported by Bloomberg. The combined Dell-EMC company employee count is about 140,000, of which about 9,000 employees worked for EMC in Massachusetts.
The job cuts impact areas such as supply chain as well as general and administrative positions, and marketing, according to sources.
Back in a first-quarter earnings call, Dion Weisler, president and CEO of HP Inc., said to expect about 3,000 jobs cut by the end of 2016.
“We are accelerating the restructuring program, also announced at SAM [securities analyst meeting], by increasing the fiscal 2016 employee reductions to approximately 3,000. I believe there may be even more opportunity to reduce cost and streamline processes, and we will share details when finalized,” he stated.
The announcement came one year after HP Inc., the printer and personal systems vendor, split off from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).
Channel managers were among those impacted by a cut of more than 800 people by telco giant Sprint in the year’s first quarter. A Bloomberg report said that the number of jobs being eliminated is actually closer to 2,500. The Kansas City Star reported that six call centers would shut down and that about 2,000 employees will be impacted.
Michelle Boyd, Sprint spokeswoman, told Channel Partners that the company is in the “middle of a multiyear turnaround strategy.”
“We are radically transforming how we do business and are laser-focused on creating a superior network, being the price leader in the wireless industry and providing a positive customer experience,” she said. “We are making progress and our business is heading in the right direction.”
The layoffs affected application developers, channel managers, business sales negotiators, IT account managers, pricing managers, systems integrators, telecom design engineers and many others.
Read the full story here.
Cuts at EMC, first announced in summer 2015, came to fruition in January, with the company taking a $250 million charge in severance and other payouts as a result — while not confirming the exact number of job reductions.
While impact on the channel might only be tangential, the move no doubt added to some confusion about the message it sent amid the company’s acquisition by Dell.