Salesforce is reportedly set to lay off 700 employees, around one percent of its global staff.
The Wall Street Journal reported the news late this week as the latest in the dispiriting pattern of tech layoffs in 2024. It also follows Salesforce laying off over 10 percent of its staff last year.
The Journal cited an anonymous source who said the layoffs are supposed to support the company’s ambition to focus its spending.
The Wall Street Journal highlighted that Salesforce was still advertising for roughly 1,000 new jobs, indicating the layoffs could be facilitated by a regular headcount adjustment rather than a reactive response to ongoing economic uncertainty.
Salesforce isn’t the only tech giant carrying out layoffs in 2024. Google has already let 1,000 employees go, while The Verge has reported that Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has told staff to expect further layoffs as 2024 progresses. Microsoft let go 1,900 workers from its gaming branches this week, while Amazon began the month announcing it would cut 18,000 jobs from across its businesses.
Salesforce 2023 Layoffs
Salesforce began last January by laying off around 8,000 workers, around 10 percent of its staff.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff took responsibility for the layoffs. “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,” Benioff said. The changes resulted from an overarching, large-scale restructuring, which Salesforce anticipated would cost between $1.4-2.1 billion.
That was followed by another 258 job losses at the start of February 2023, which SFGATE – a San Francisco news website – suggested impacted staff in sales and customer service, general administration, and technology and product teams.
A further 50 jobs were cut in August at Salesforce’s base in Ireland, impacting the customer success and sales teams.
As with the January layoffs, Salesforce attributed the job cuts to its renewed focus on profitability.
The Journal’s reporting this week comes days after Benioff appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” programme, speaking from the Davos Economic Forum, where he said, “activist investors only care about money”. Last year, activist investors were credited with exerting pressure on Benioff and Salesforce to undergo the restructuring that caused the mass layoffs because margins weren’t increasing as quickly as they wanted.
However, as the Wall Street Journal’s source suggests, Salesforce still advertising 1,000 roles while cutting 700 others might indicate that these layoffs might be more a headcount course correction rather than the result of activist investor pressure.