Salesforce will cut 10 percent of its workers and shut down offices.
“The [economic] environment remains challenging and our customers are taking a more measured approach to their purchasing decisions,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wrote in an open letter to employees. “As our revenue accelerated through the pandemic, we hired too many people leading into this economic downturn we’re now facing, and I take responsibility for that.”
Impacted employees will receive a severance package including nearly five months of pay, health insurance, and career resources. According to The New York Times (which also reported the office closings), Salesforce had roughly 80,000 employees at the end of October, which means the layoffs will affect roughly 8,000 people.
Rumors percolated for months that Salesforce was on the verge of cutting its workforce. Back in November, anonymous sources (including “an industry source and a former employee”) told Protocol that the cloud giant would slash 2,500 employees, around the same time that CNBC reported layoffs of roughly 1,000 workers. During company earnings reports throughout 2022, executives cited slowing revenue from small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), driving teams to look for savings wherever they could.
But Salesforce isn’t alone in enacting significant layoffs. Throughout the back half of 2022, some of the biggest names in tech—including Meta, Uber, Amazon, Cisco, and Twitter—collectively laid off many thousands of workers. Like Salesforce, many of these companies enjoyed outsized revenues and profits during the pandemic, and plowed that money into new hires—but when the economy threatened to contract, these companies moved just as quickly to slash budgets and positions.
As we head into 2023, there are signs those Big Tech layoffs will continue. Companies such as Micron and Tesla may reduce jobs in coming months, and Google has hinted that its recent attempts at streamlining its costs and operations could escalate into layoffs of some sort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, despite the cuts at the largest tech companies, the overall tech unemployment rate remains at 2 percent, and organizations of all sizes still need tech talent.