Salesforce to cut about 700 workers, adding to tech layoff flood

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Salesforce Inc. is cutting about 700 workers, adding to a brutal string of tech layoffs at the start of 2024.

Less than 1% of workers will be cut, according to a person familiar with the plans who wasn’t authorized to discuss them publicly and asked not to be identified. A Salesforce representative declined to comment.

A year ago Salesforce reduced headcount by 10%. The San Francisco-based company had 70,843 workers as of the end of October, according to a securities filing. More than 2,000 of its employees are based in Indianapolis.

The new cuts show how the tech industry remains focused on trimming costs. Other tech companies, such as Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon.com Inc., also signaled layoffs this month. The Wall Street Journal reported the cuts at Salesforce earlier Friday.

The company, which sells software to other businesses, has focused on expanding profit margins over the last year in response to shareholder pressure, including from activist investors like Elliott Investment Management. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff focused on reducing expenses in the company’s notoriously large sales and marketing division, with 2023 hiring focused on engineering and promoting new artificial intelligence-focused products.

The new year has already proven to be a difficult year for layoffs. A handful of companies have been making job cuts in recent weeks, bringing uncertainty for workers across industries.

In the world of retail and tech, some of these cuts arrive after a ramp-up in hiring seen during the COVID-19 pandemic—when people spent more time and money online. Now, many companies are reducing their workforces to help lower costs and bolster their bottom lines.

Here’s some tech and retail companies that have laid of employees of late:

REI
REI is laying off 357 workers, mostly in the outdoor retailer’s headquarters and distribution centers. In a letter to employees, CEO Eric Artz noted that “outdoor specialty retail has experienced four quarters of decline — and that trend has been worsening.” While REI was able to outperform this for much of last year, he said, this trend caught up to the company in the fourth quarter, and difficult conditions are expected in 2024.

Levi’s
Levi Strauss & Co. is slashing its global corporate workforce by 10% to 15% in the first half of the year — as part of a two-year restructuring plan that seeks to cut costs and simplify its operations, the denim giant said. The layoffs on the same day Levi’s unveiled a proposed 10-year extension to the naming rights for Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, in a $170 million deal.

Microsoft
Microsoft is laying off some 1,900 employees in its gaming division, according to an internal company memo. The job cuts — which represent about an 8% reduction of Microsoft’s 22,000-person gaming workforce — arrive just over three months since the tech giant completed its $69 billion purchase of video game maker Activision Blizzard.

TikTok
TikTok said its shedding dozens of workers in its advertising and sales unit. A spokesperson for the company confirmed that the social media platform is cutting 60 jobs. TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, did not provide a reason for the layoffs.

Riot Games
Video game developer Riot Games, which is behind the popular “League of Legends” multiplayer battle game, is trimming 11% of its staff. The company, which is owned by Chinese technology giant Tencent, said 530 jobs were being eliminated.

eBay
Online retailer eBay Inc. will cut about 1,000 jobs, or an estimated 9% of its full-time workforce, saying its number of employees and costs have exceeded how much the business is growing in a slowing economy.

Wayfair
Online furniture seller Wayfair is cutting about 1,650 jobs, or 13% of its global workforce. The restructuring is set to reduce team sizes across the company and reduce seniority in certain roles with the company planning to “rebuild with modified leveling” this year, CEO and co-founder Niraj Shah said.

Macy’s
Macy’s is laying off about 3.5% of its total headcount, which amounts to roughly 2,350 employees. The iconic department store is also closing five locations in Arlington, Virginia; San Leandro, California; Lihue, Hawaii; Simi Valley, California; and Tallahassee, Florida.

Google
Google said it was laying off hundreds of employees working on its hardware, voice assistance and engineering teams. The cuts follow pledges by executives of Google and its parent company Alphabet to reduce costs. A year ago, Google said it would lay off 12,000 employees or around 6% of its workforce.

Amazon
Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, is cutting more than 500 jobs in a bid to save on costs. The video streaming platform’s CEO Dan Clancy said in an email to employees that even with cost cuts and growing efficiency, the platform “is still meaningfully larger than it needs to be given the size of our business.”

Amazon-owned online audiobook and podcast service Audible is laying off about 5% of its workforce. In a memo sent to employees, Audible CEO Bob Carrigan said that the company is in good shape, but faces an “increasingly challenging landscape.” In addition, Amazon’s Prime Video and MGM Studios unit, is trimming hundreds of employees as it cuts back in areas that are not delivering.

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