Salesforce confirms more workers are officially laid off
Salesforce, San Francisco’s largest private employer, laid off thousands of employees early Thursday morning as the tech giant moved forward with its plan to cut its workforce by 10%.
The corporate software company blamed the layoff rounds, first announced on Jan. 4, on over-hiring during the pandemic. In a two-hour meeting the next day, CEO Marc Benioff complained that only half of the company’s salespeople were responsible for 96% of sales, according to a CNBC report.
In San Francisco, Thursday’s round of layoffs hit 258 workers, affecting “sales and customer service,” “technology and product” and “general administration,” according to a WARN notice obtained by SFGATE. WARN notices are mandated by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to notify employees of mass layoffs.
The 10% cut, which kicked off a brutal January of tech layoff announcements, will eventually put about 7,000 people out of work. Insider reported Thursday that 4,000 people disappeared from Salesforce’s Slack channel over the past two days, a number that could include contractors. Salesforce spokeswoman Carolyn Guss confirmed to SFGATE that Thursday’s layoffs were part of the round announced in January.
Layoff posts flooded LinkedIn from around the country and around San Francisco Thursday morning, as workers said goodbye to their Salesforce “ohana” and put “#opentowork” filters on their profiles. Although Benioff has expressed concerns about the productivity of younger salespeople, many of the posts come from workers who had been with the company for more than five years.
In Ireland, 200 of the firm’s 2,100 employees received their notices on Thursday, according to the Irish Independent. The insider reported that hundreds of employees will also be axed in England, Germany and France.
In the January announcement, Benioff said the layoffs in the U.S. would come with a minimum of nearly five months’ pay, health insurance, career resources and other benefits. He also took personal responsibility for over-employment.
It’s been a chaotic quarter for the San Francisco titan, which provides customer management software to other companies and owns both Slack and Tableau. In late November 2022, co-CEO Bret Taylor announced his departure. Days later, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield and Tableau CEO Mark Nelson said they were leaving. And Slack’s chief product officer Tamar Yehoshua and senior vice president of marketing and communications Jonathan Prince tendered their resignations along with Butterfield.
During last year’s Dreamforce, Benioff suggested that Salesforce would be affected by “a level of normalization” after seeing significant demand and customer growth in the early days of the pandemic. As tech stocks have tanked and business-to-business sales have slowed, Salesforce has been cutting back on its growing workforce.
“Everything is still bigger, but there is definitely an overlay that needs to be addressed,” he said at a press conference during the event. “I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.”
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