back to article HP cuts 27,000 workers

As rumored last week, IT giant Hewlett-Packard is slashing its employee count worldwide to squeeze more profits from its revenue stream. The job cuts are not as deep as some had been expecting, but are still going to be tough on the company. In a statement put out ahead of its conference call with Wall Street analysts, HP said …


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  1. Zebad

    Here we go again...

    The internal memo states "At the end of 2009, we reported a workforce of about 304,000. At the end of 2010, we had almost 325,000 employees and at the end 2011, that number had ballooned to nearly 350,000. Over that same period, we saw year-over-year revenue growth of 10 percent in 2010, of 1 percent in 2011… and so far in 2012, revenues have been declining.

    We’re struggling under our own weight. And we’ve got to restore a healthy balance in order to return HP to its position as a growing… thriving… innovating… industry leader. That’s what this is all about. And the workforce reduction is only one piece of a comprehensive effort. We see a lot of opportunity to remove complexity, streamline and reduce costs in a number of areas across HP."

    So we employed 46000 extra people over two years of global financial downturn and are now wondering why this might have caused a problem...? FFS!!!!!

    1. David Roberts Silver badge

      Re: Here we go again...

      I helped reduce the workforce in 2009 :-)

      Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't HP bought up a few companies since then, screwed them over, and are now left with the people from a once good company who aren't generating the revenue projected at the time of acquisition?

      So I don't think HP 'empoyed' loads more people - they spent money buying in yet more companies and this is just them chucking out the people who haven't jumped ship.

      Sympathy to anyone from EDS (as was) caught in the all too familiar mangle.

  2. Uncle Siggy

    Reductions or people?

    "Workforce reductions are never easy because they affect people's lives," said Meg Whitman, HP's president and CEO, in a conference call with Wall Street analysts. "But in this case, they are absolutely necessary."

    Come now Meg. Sales guys aren't people!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reductions or people?

      Why do you think sales people would be more affected than other groups? For HP to fire 27,000 sales people they would have to fire all of their sales people, hire some new sales people, and fire them too. This going to primarily affect services delivery. You don't fire a bunch of sales people, at least without replacing them, when one of your major problems is that you are not selling enough.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best-shore Muppets

    Good luck re: losing more competent staff (yes, we do have some) with the hopes of replacing them with cheap labour overseas. In 16 years on the job, I've seen maybe one "best shore" fellow who had a clue what he was doing. In fact, he was so bright, he made a break for the door after 6 months. Guess I should have followed his lead.

    As it sits now, we're probably over-tasked by about 200% Nothing says quality leadership like having five meetings scheduled at the same time--all of which supposedly require mandatory attendance; or having to teach your Brazilian project manager English (and project management) during a client-facing conference call; or having to spend 5 hours a week recording your time in 5 different time tracking applications; I could go on...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Best-shore Muppets

      I thought you were describing my job there until I got to the bit about teaching the Brazilian project manager English... the guy I'm dealing with is Greek. The remainder of the description is the same.

      *Anonymous cause I'm working for the same company...

  4. Rombizio


    Their servers are crap, their services are crap and their printers (that used to be good), are a piece of garbage nowadays. I hope they sink.

    1. Ancient Oracle funkie

      Re: Ha! (@Rombizio)

      Thanks for the well reasoned argument.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens when you focus on being big instead of good

    HP used to make really good electrical testing equipment, calculators, printers and servers for a little while. They got into all of these things that they really didn't know anything about, such as enterprise services, mobile, and application software purely for the sake of becoming huge. When you try to be everything to everyone, you end up not doing anything particularly well.

    1. Dunstan Vavasour

      Re: This is what happens when you focus on being big instead of good

      I had a brilliant HP calculator when I was at university in the 1980s. I once dropped it while crossing the road and it was run over by a car - the only sign was a small crack in one corner of the case. And although they were presumably completely separate businesses, having the Hewlett Packard name on top quality laboratory and medical instruments was fantastic for the brand: there would be a rush to bags the HP oscilloscope for practical sessions.

      A very different HP to today's.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: This is what happens when you focus on being big instead of good

        Second that - I've got an HP 10C on my desk here - still on the original batteries from 1987 and tough as old boots.

  6. Phil_Evans

    The biggest loser

    I'm not in the least surprised about HP's demise to the rages of the world economy and it's rabid desire to become commoditised in its workforce. Every other major player is doing the very same. But to move it's most valuable (latent) brand, COMPAQ, to the desert of SME is a wrong move for me.

    For years HP has tried to stand on the shoulders of the Compaq brand and organisation and still found it unable to homogenise the quality of the manufacturer into its offerings. A rare opportunity has been missed here since HP's share in enterprise computing is on the slide and the domestic market is shot too.

    As for the redundancies? Well, it's a modern day ante-revolution where instead of cheaper workers coming from the countryside, they just work from a cheaper base. Simples.

    Execs? Well, when I was in the HP club, Carly Fiorina (then head of the company) arrived in 3 Chrysler voyagers with 2 or 3 bodyguards to allof and disconnected? They all are.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: The biggest loser

      "Carly Fiorina (then head of the company) arrived in 3 Chrysler voyagers"

      I'm not saying my wife is fat...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From HP Employees

    From a HP employee perspective, I felt really let down that I had to find out this by listening to the morning news, rather than HP having the decency to tell us about it, as usual we are let down by the big companies who really only see us employees are things they can juggle, rather than human beings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From HP Employees

      I'm an HP employee too, and we were most definitely told by HP as soon as possible. There was an all-points email right after the market announcement (which has to go first to avoid breaking insider trading rules). Perhaps your timezone means you watch breakfast TV before checking company email??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: From HP Employees

        I'm in the same boat as the first A/C. I read the rumours on here last week, and then saw the news on the BBC website last night.

        I have the market announcement in my company inbox but still don't have the other email. Neither does anyone else in my office, apparently, as we've all been saying exactly the same thing as the first A/C this morning.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I have the market announcement in my company inbox but still don't have the other email"

          Using Exchange and Outlook?

          Yes, well...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is particularly the case in Europe, which has the best labor laws on the planet.

    Don't worry, they are working hard to change that and lower the playing field with the rest of the world. In particular, Spain has just passed a new law reform that shows the way for other countries.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Europe has the best labo[u]r laws on the planet.

      Maybe that should read "had" (not "has") the best labour laws on the planet?

      I have heard it said that the myth of Reaganomics is starting to catch on even in Germany, where the Works Councils and such have no longer got the influence which helped the German economy stay where it has been until recently (ie in better health than much of the West). If it's true, it's very very sad.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They screwed up Palm, they have now screwed up another takeover. It's funny how their job cuts are to help move towards the demand for mobile computing. They had a mobile device offering, they failed to invest in it and killed it off!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP Invent?

    I always have a chuckle when I see that. HP buys the company that develop the tech then wonders what to do with all the waste (people) that come with it. I'm glad I'm out of it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    8% of the workforce... correction...

    ...more like 10%. I can tell you that I have never seen HP managers so proactive, polishing up their reports so as to justify their existance so that, as in past culls, it's the real workers that will face the chop.

    No pay increase for almost 7 years now, constant cuts in so-called benefits, erosion of the pension plan and the threat of being kicked out on a whim of HP management -- what a place to work :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 8% of the workforce... correction...

      They should go back to making brown sauce.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 8% of the workforce... correction...

        Hmm... HP (the sauce maker) changed the recipe to general outcry quite recently. I wonder if HP (the computer maker) had a hand in it? It certainly sounds like them. Plus they both are into brown sticky stuff.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tired Clichés

    "These initiatives build upon our recent organizational realignment, and will further streamline our operations, improve our processes, and remove complexity from our business,"

    This sort of language obfuscates the nature of the exigency, and should be eschewed.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    " remove complexity from our business"

    First of all, good luck to all HP employees dragged into this latest corporate-speak bullshit'n'bloodbath fest.

    Thinking about Autonomy, the arrogance of HP is jaw dropping - overpay for something that's too sophisticated for you to understand and that has a dubious fit with your core business, alienate the key brains behind the outfit so that the ones that can (or can afford to, thanks to the buyout) leave and then sack the founder because he is the wrong person to "scale the business" (i.e. transform it into something that is worth the purchase price) and ruin a leading-edge tech company in the process. Over-whelming stupidity married to eye-bulging irresponsibility.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: " remove complexity from our business"

      <quote>You are at the heart of our results. Without your efforts, HP cannot thrive. </quote>

      We are really the 'heart' of the results, really?? So why are you ripping the heart out and stomping on it?

    2. Mike Smith

      They're just doing what they've always done

      "Over-whelming stupidity married to eye-bulging irresponsibility."

      HP / Compaq has a bit of previous in that area. Compaq gobbled up DEC, more-or-less "integrated" (how I hate that word) the two and then asset-stripped the result before flogging off the rump to HP.

      I was there at the time and still have the emails archived somewhere. They're a textbook case in how to polish a turd. And the manager who stood up and front of all of us and said, utterly straight-faced that, "it's all about synergy" had phenomenal levels of self-control; you could actually feel the vibe going through the cynical crowd of grunts facing him and he never batted an eyelid. Maybe he was an early adopter of Botox.

      Commiserations to the poor buggers facing the axe.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AC coz HP

    So, HP suggest they will "... also to hire employees in lower-cost regions to replace those who are getting the sack."

    Silly me, I always thought that when an employee was laid off / made redundant, it was because their job had gone. Not because they were too expensive. Hell if it's the expensive employees that need to go, can I suggest the various levels of senior management? Let's see their jobs "off-shored".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AC coz HP

      "Hell if it's the expensive employees that need to go, can I suggest the various levels of senior management? Let's see their jobs "off-shored""

      I second that passionately. It's the one case where offshoring might yield better results too.

      I'd use the joke alert icon, but I'm an anonymous coward. And I'm not joking...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The end is nigh...

    No company strategy, no forward thinking and a fragmented Sales Team who seem to spend most of the time arguing with faceless BDM’s, an incompetent delivery organisation suffocating in bureaucracy, cost cutting, red tape and customers who just can’t see a good enough reason to buy HP anymore.

    Sad day.

  16. Jemma

    I am surprised that they lasted this long...

    The quality of their office printers collapsed around 2000-2003 and onwards. Then they jammed the price up on them. By the time they'd finished 'cutting costs' the things had all the structural integrity of a '79 Alfasud and half the appeal.

    The less said about WebOS the better. Arguably better UI than iDiotOnSlab and An-drone (which lets face it isn't exactly rocket magick). Built in security features (like BB OS and Symbian). Good hardware. So, of course, it had to be killed.

    Computer models and ranges that bore more resemblance to a GPS co-ordinate than something a customer would be able to remember (always assuming that between the time the customer saw it in the catalogue and the time they finally managed to get hold of a sales drone it hadnt been replaced by something entirely different, and even less suitable).

    No-one has mentioned what they did to Compaq - Hewlett Pointless gutted the quality there too - the servers used to be one of the better offerings. Now they're the server equivalent of the little known and even less loved ARNA (the only collaboration in history to multiply the worst points of both companies into something truely mind numbingly dismal. At least until Compaq/HP that is)

    Its a shame that there seem to be so many US CEO's who went to the same 'lose as much money, customer goodwill, and repeat business as possible and you're a success' school of business.

    Nokia have been saddled with one. (Note to Nokia: 90% of your smartphone customers dont want Windows Zombie. This should be a hint to give up on it and beg/plead/steal the Symbian and Meego people back).

    HP have been saddled with at least two and probably three, the way this one is going.

    Sad to see once good companies taken out, tied to a post, and shot.

    Its even more depressing when its the people tasked to run the companies are doing the shooting.

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