back to article Digital transformation expert on mass layoffs: I would have expected more from tech

Digital business transformation expert and erstwhile COBOL programmer Kamales Lardi has spent a lot of time in the tech industry, including consulting with large corporates and SMEs who are going through a process of making cuts. But mass layoffs are hitting mid-career tech pros and harming the businesses who make them, she …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Layoffs should be last resort in truly bad financial situations, rather than first resort in slightly uncertain conditions. "Hear hear. The era of cheap money is over, but these companies are still making a big mistake. Doing the right thing is ultimately going to help many to retain the kind of talent that will never trust Google, Twitter etc al again. And that includes access to their intellectual ability and ability to create new technology.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are CEOs paid for?

    When you see them just copying each other. 1 CEO makes a decision, whether it's right or wrong and the rest of the industry just copies with no due diligence.

    Wait a couple of years and they'll all be complaining about the lack of available staff. The loss of expertise and you'll see more incursions, more outages, more customer issues.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: What are CEOs paid for?

      I don't think it is just the CEOs making the decisions. The industry has to move as one to keep the investors happy. The likes of Chris Hohn pulling strings to ensure his money bed constantly gets larger are not going to be happy if another company does something different causing the company he's invested in to drop in value.

      If say just Meta shed staff then the investors might think that Meta is in trouble and move away making the issue worse. If all the big players do the same then it is 'market forces' or other such rather than the reality which is Meta hired far too many much too overpaid people during covid as well as betting the farm on the metaverse.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: What are CEOs paid for?

      Well they aren't paid for their vision, but rather for managing stakeholder expectations. Yes those stakeholders do include us wage-slaves, but they also include shareholders, money markets and their mates at the Golf & Country Club. And as with any herd animal, sometimes when one moves they can all move. I would pity the poor darlings but for the massive multiple they earn in relation to their underlings.

  3. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Why plan for the long term when your bonus is dependent on the quarterly stock price? Layoffs also keep the peons docile, none of that work-life-balance and work-from-home thing. You'll get a foosball table and free caffeinated water and like it when you're back to being in the office 13 hours/day, afraid to be next.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sack 100% of the staff...

    ... for infinty profit!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Sack 100% of the staff...

      They would if they could.

  5. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    The eternal circle of greed

    This is a constant in every industry and is mostly driven by shareholder greed. They got a 23% dividend last year so now they want that EVERY year and preferably MORE! So, to achieve that next dividend the CEO lays off 10% of the staff, and because of the nature of such things the really good people often jump ship rather than get laid off. So, you lose people you wanted to keep and your overall skill set decreases, and whilst the next dividend is on target or better, the one after that is not so good, and the one after that is ****ing awful. So, the greedy shareholders get the CEO replaced and the new CEO spends a couple of years building the company back up again, but all too soon the dividend demands start mounting again and the cycle repeats. Of course nobody at the shareholder/CEO level gives a flying **** that in the process John Doe lost his house due to being unemployed for a year, or that Jane Smith's marriage has disintegrated because of the stress of unemployment.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      We thought we'd gotten rid of the aristocrats

      But today's royalty doesn't have castles, birthright, serfs and clothes embroidered in gold.

      They have multi-million dollar homes, diplomas from "the right" universities, servants galore and a garage full of expensive cars so their chauffeur can bring them to their private jets.

      And, most importantly, they have the power to tell the rest of us what is to be done, then they scurry back to the comfort of their manucured lives.

      Greed ?

      If only it was just that.

  6. sorry, what?
    Unhappy

    Anyone think it may be the Activist Investors...?

    Maybe the wrong article for this one, but I get the feeling this downsizing is a reaction, at least for some businesses (Salesforce, I'm looking at you), to the tactics employed by these "activists".

    Just because you don't like how a business is run and have a wodge of cash to invest somewhere doesn't mean you should behave this way. It impacts real people who are actually trying to do a good job for the business, themselves and their families. Speaking from a position of ignorance, I doubt that's the motivation for "Activist Investors". While regular working folk can benefit (from improved shareholder value) via pension funds, it seems to me there are too few beneficiaries for this sort of behaviour. They come over as bullies and should be treated that way, IMHO.

    Just my tuppence.

    1. blackcat Silver badge

      Re: Anyone think it may be the Activist Investors...?

      These big investors do not care. If you don't do what they say they will sell and crash your share price. Sillycon valley is built on share prices and if one big investor bails and the prices drop the rest will bail too. Heck big investors have been known to crash whole economies just to make a profit.

  7. ecofeco Silver badge

    Consumer tech is moribund

    There hasn't been any real innovation in most consumer tech in quite a long time, just more bells and whistles and cruft on top of more cruft and just extra steps to do the same thing. And quality is going to hell while the prices go up.

    Notice I said "most".

    But as I've posted before, the tech layoffs are about worker control. https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2023-01-30/column-how-big-tech-is-using-mass-layoffs-to-bring-workers-to-heel

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Consumer tech is moribund

      What about NFTs, blockchain and cloud!

      Oh, I see your point.

  8. Richard Pennington 1
    Flame

    Customer backlash

    I'm retired now (one layoff too many) but I made it a rule throughout my career that I would never be a customer of any company which had laid me off. Whether that be as a client (B2B) or as a customer (outside any former employment). So there are certain firms with which I will never do business ... in a couple of cases, for over 30 years and counting.

    It's the same principle as never going back to an ex-girlfriend.

  9. bernmeister

    Blind leading the blind?

    Layoffs are often higher management policy decisions made with no respect to project requirements. Afterall, a detailed analysis of who is needed or not would take time and money to carry out. When I was made redundant together with my customer support team, my group manager was not consulted nor were my customers, internal and external. The team were given one months pay in lieu of notice, statutory redundancy payment, unused holiday pay and an additional £3,000 if we signed a non disclosure agreement. I have no Idea what happened to my customers. I know some complained to the managing director but micro-managing redundancies was obviously not on the cards.

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