Telecom-IT Layoff Tracker: AT&T, CenturyLink, VMware, Cisco

With the coronavirus threatening businesses and productivity, it could be a challenge for job seekers in the channel who found themselves pink-slipped in recent months.

AT&T, CenturyLink, Cisco and VMware are among companies in the channel that have shed workers since last August as part of a cost-cutting strategy and/or business transformation. Telecommunications continues to shrink its workforce, with 1,000 positions eliminated last month alone.

Tech company layoffs skyrocketed last year, up 351% from 2018, amid trade concerns, emerging technologies and shifts in customer behavior, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. In all, 64,166 tech company job cuts were reported last year compared to 14,230 in 2018.

The good news for job seekers is the U.S. tech sector added an estimated 33,500 new jobs in the first two months of 2020, the best hiring start for a year since 2017, according to CompTIA. What’s yet to be seen is whether the coronavirus will reverse that trend.

Scroll through our layoff tracker below for a recap of cuts that occurred during since last August.

VMware layoffs

VMware said in a late January regulatory filing with the state of California that it will again reduce its head count this after a significant earlier round of layoffsPalo Alto Online reported that another wave of people – 211, to be exact – will get the axe. That number includes 10 executives in the IoT and edge computing groups.

The layoffs were set to start this month. VMware attributes them to “regular workforce rebalancing,” according to reports.

Google Cloud cuts
Google Cloud

News broke last month that Google Cloud, despite its recent strong earnings performance, will cut about 50 jobs. Google will try to move the affected staff into other jobs at the company.

At least one analyst speculated, via Silicon Valley Business Journal, that Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian, who’s been in charge for a year now, wants to concentrate on large enterprises.

“We recently communicated organizational changes to a handful of teams that will improve how we market, partner and engage with customers in every industry around the globe," Google Cloud said in a statement. "We made the difficult, but necessary decision to notify a small number of employees that their roles will be eliminated. We’re working with our internal mobility teams across the company to help those affected by this change, and hope to find them new roles within the company. We are grateful for everything they have accomplished and their commitment to Google Cloud.”

Metro by T-Mobile

T-Mobile last month reportedly laid off a number of employees as it nears completion of its $26 billion merger with Sprint.

According to a Light Reading (Channel Partners’ sister site) report, T-Mobile has laid off workers within its Metro by T-Mobile prepaid business, citing three people familiar with the company. The extent of the layoffs is unclear.

Also last month, U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero dismissed a lawsuit from 14 state attorneys general in a move that represents the last federal regulatory hurdle for the two companies in completing their merger.

CenturyLink cuts

CenturyLink last month confirmed it will shed more than 300 employees companywide by the end of May, including 150 of the more than 2,000 workers in Minnesota.

CenturyLink spokesman Mark Molzen said "based on continuous assessment of our business needs and workforce alignment, we are reducing our field operations workforce by approximately 310 employees.” The last work day for these employees will be May 29.

These workers perform installation and repair, as well as central office duties, he said.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) represent about 25% of CenturyLink’s workers.

“While raking in billions in taxpayer dollars, CenturyLink has tried to evade its service quality obligations, laying off hundreds of experienced workers in the process,” said Brenda Roberts, CWA’s District 7 vice president. “CenturyLink’s job cuts are harmful to employees, their families and communities nationwide — and not to mention — bad for business. CenturyLink is sending a clear message to the families and businesses it serves that providing reliable phone service and standing up for its employees are their last priorities.”

AT&T layoffs

AT&T began the new year with a fresh round of job cuts.

According to Axios, thousands of AT&T employees will be hunting for new jobs after assigning them to train their own foreign replacements. Many of the workers have been with AT&T for more than a decade, but won’t be getting severance or early retirement, and may not easily find a comparable job elsewhere with similar pay, it said.

AT&T already has inked deals with major outsourcing firms, it said.

At a recent investor conference, AT&T COO John Stankey said AT&T will decrease labor costs in 2020, but didn’t say if that will include layoffs or job freezes. He said every part of the company will be scrutinized.

“No place is safe,” he said. “We are looking across the entire business.”

Oracle cuts

Oracle last summer shut down its flash storage division and cut at least 300 workers.

This followed the company laying off hundreds of workers in California, including software and application developers and others last May.

According to a Blocks & Files report, employees were told of the layoffs by Mike Workman, Oracle’s senior vice president of flash storage systems, via conference call. An Oracle employee told the publication about 300 workers are losing their jobs.

When asked about laying off employees, Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger told Channel Partners “as our cloud business grows, we will continually balance our resources and restructure our development group to help ensure we have the right people delivering the best cloud products to our customers around the world.”

Symantec layoffs

Last August, amid selling its enterprise security business to Broadcom, Symantec laid off 7% of its workforce, including nearly 200 workers in California, and closed certain facilities as part of a $100 million restructuring program.

As Symantec divested its enterprise business, its workforce was reduced from about 12,000 employees to about 10,000.

Broadcom purchased Symantec’s enterprise business for $10.7 billion in cash. It previously tried to purchase the entire company but couldn’t reach an agreement.

Cisco job cuts

Cisco laid off nearly 500 workers in California last August amid reporting a drop in sales to service providers and falling sales in China.

The networking giant cut 397 workers at its San Jose facility and 91 workers at its Milpitas facility. Cisco now is shedding another nearly 400 workers at those facilities. 

In terms of last year's layoffs, Cisco sent us the following statement: "Over the last few years, we have been transforming Cisco and driving innovation to deliver even greater value to our customers and partners. It’s important that we make decisions to continually ensure that our investments and resources are aligned with strategic growth areas of the business and customer demands. As we realign some of our teams, we are working closely with impacted employees to match them where possible with the wide variety of roles currently open across Cisco.”

Layoff gallery - company reorganization

Hitachi Vantara

Hitachi Vantara plans to lay off 151 employees, including 52 workers at its Santa Clara facility and 99 remote workers. The layoffs are expected to occur on March 31 and April 30. Terminated employees won't be able to displace other workers based on seniority or any other factor. Impacted positions include software development engineers, master solutions consultants, senior software development engineers, specialist technical consultants and more.

In a statement, Hitachi Vantara said it “had to make some tough decisions to simplify and streamline our operations, improve our financial performance and position ourselves for long-term success – this includes headcount reductions to optimize our organization.”

“We do not make decisions that affect our people and teams lightly, but we believe these moves are important to accelerate our transformation and growth,” it said.

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