Symantec Layoffs Have Begun In Earnest: About 1,700 Jobs Will Be Cut

Symantec Steve BennettSymantec CEO Steve Bennett

The long-awaited big layoff at Symantec is finally in progress and will roll out over the next two months, reports Arik Hesseldahl at AllThingsD.

Some 1,700 jobs will be cut according to Hesseldahl’s sources.

Symantec employees 21,500people, it says, so that would be about 8% of its workforce.

Executives have been talking about a big restructuring for months. About a year ago, the company fired its CEO, Enrique Salem, and replaced him with chairman Steve Bennett, who had previously been CEO of Intuit.

In January, Bennett outlined an ambitious turnaround plan and warned that a layoffs were coming “I think our system is just broken,” he told Wall Street analysts in January, on the first quarterly earnings call under his watch. His fix-it plan included reworking the sales team, trimming software products/reorganising business units, cutting headcount and increasing R&D.

In January, word was job cuts would tally around 1,000, or about 5% of the workforce.  Yet, last month, during the quarterly conference call, analysts noted that Symantec had actually reported an increase in headcount and asked Bennett to explain.

He said that headcount was being jacked up “by temporary employees and contract employees, and there’s all sorts of games that companies can play to keep employees off the books.” He then promised that big cost reduction cuts were coming (“200 basis points of margin improvement”) and noted that “people-related costs are 70% of our costs.”

Ergo, a big layoff was coming soon.

About 1,000 jobs are being cut this month, beginning this week and another 700 positions are to scheduled to be cut in July, Hesseldahl reports. 

We reached out to Symantec for comment. The company told Hesseldahl: “We are engaged in a company-wide reorganization. As a result, some positions are being eliminated.” The spokesperson also confirmed that the restructuring was happening in “several stages”, it affects “all levels of employees” and that “some notifications are happening this month.”

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