Salesforce plans on hiring more than 3,300 employees, including critical roles in the company’s engineering and data cloud divisions. That’s quite a reversal from January, when the cloud-marketing giant announced it would cut 10 percent of its workers and shut down offices.
“Our job is to grow the company and to continue to achieve great margins,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told Bloomberg. “We know we have to hire thousands of people.” He added that the company was hoping to attract “boomerang” employees who had worked there previously.
Salesforce’s January cuts totaled roughly 8,000 employees, so hiring 3,300 new workers would “replace” roughly 40 percent of those layoffs. Salesforce subsidiary Slack is also cycling up its hiring.
During those earlier layoffs, Benioff blamed a “challenging” economic environment, combined with excessive hiring during the pandemic, when an explosive rise in remote work led to businesses shelling out considerable amounts on cloud-based apps and services. “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,” he wrote in an open letter to employees at the time.
Salesforce wasn’t alone in enacting big layoffs. At roughly the same time, some of the biggest names in tech—including Meta, Uber, Amazon, Cisco, and Twitter—collectively laid off many thousands of workers. Those companies generally cited similar reasons, including fears of economic uncertainty and excessive headcount.
So, what’s changed? Simply put, Benioff thinks the rise of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning will kick off an aggressive cycle of hiring and investment, and he wants to hire workers who can help Salesforce surf this new wave. Salesforce plans on integrating a number of A.I. products into its existing service lineup, including chatbots powered by generative A.I.
“We think that there is an incredible opportunity in A.I.,” Patrick Stokes, Salesforce EVP and GM of Platform, told reporters, according to Engadget. “We think that it is creating jobs, we think that it is driving productivity across organizations... we also think that as customers and businesses are driving towards these A.I. strategies, they may not have the platform that they really want or that they really need.”
The big question now is whether A.I. will accelerate hiring at the other tech giants. If so, it could produce ample opportunities for tech professionals who want to work in Big Tech, especially if they’re interested in A.I. and machine learning. If you fall into that category, make sure you’re familiar with the A.I. basics such as model development and deployment, natural-language processing, and more.