IT Operations

Layoffs at Cisco buck trends across industry

“They just needed to cut and will claim it was part of the November cuts,” one angry commenter wrote on a jobs board.
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In a surprise move, network systems firm Cisco laid off employees in July.

The job cuts began July 17, sources told CRN, but the total number of affected employees is still unclear. In November, the company said it would lay off around 4,000 employees.

In a statement emailed to IT Brew, Justin Chinich, a spokesperson for Cisco, downplayed the July layoffs, saying they were simply “part of the rebalancing effort we began in November 2022, which included a limited restructuring impacting our real estate portfolio and approximately 5% of our workforce.”

“As we announced then, this is not about cost savings as we have roughly the same number of employees as we did before the process began,” Chinich said, adding that Cisco would try to place laid off employees elsewhere in the company.

Big picture. The layoffs come at a moment when economic concerns are lessening. Fears of a recession, which led many firms to rethink spending and hiring decisions, have faded from the front of mind for the C-suite.

According to TechCrunch, tech companies have reached the “pruning phase” of layoffs, as opposed to the more wholesale slashing of positions that the industry saw over the past year.

Those job cuts aside, the tech industry is healthy and hiring. As IT Brew has reported, there’s an existing talent deficit in the field that’s making tech workers feel overworked due to the lack of support.

Staff reaction. Posts on job forum board TheLayoff and Blind indicated Cisco employees had not expected the layoffs and were skeptical of the reasoning that they were part of a previously announced push.

Some commenters pointed to the layoffs as representative of the company culture. “Working at Cisco is like gambling at a casino,” one said. Another suggested the cuts were “all on a whim and [whose] leader’s arse you kiss the hardest.” The company reportedly sent out emails announcing job promotions in the wake of announcing the cuts, a move decried as insensitive.

CEO Chuck Robbins came in for particular criticism over the claim that the layoffs were connected to the November announcement.

“We all know it’s not true, as Chuck confirmed post that cut that there weren’t gonna be any more cuts,” one commenter wrote. “They just needed to cut and will claim it was part of the November cuts.”

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.