back to article Cisco swings the axe on permanent staff – hundreds laid off worldwide this week

Cisco has confirmed to The Register it launched a round of layoffs on Monday, effectively slashing its Customer Experience (CX) team, after insiders alerted us to the cuts. Between 200 and 300 jobs at least have been axed at Cisco CX, one Reg reader told us, along with up to 10 per cent of another division – understood to be …

  1. A.P. Veening

    Open roles unfulfilled

    "We're also told that the number of open roles in Cisco far outnumbers the layoffs, so with good fortune, the company will be able to redeploy affected staff, although that will depend on how willing recently discarded staff will be to stay, and how willing managers are to continue taking them on. Payoffs are, by some accounts, pretty good for those leaving, and recruiters for the competition are no-doubt hovering for the best pickings."

    I suspect most of these open roles will be unfulfilled as recently layed off staff usually have some reluctance to return to that employer, especially if there are other opportunities. This goes double for the most valuable employees, who will have a lot of choice. A much smarter move would have been to encourage the best (those which the employer would like to retain) to apply for other positions and laying off the remainder in complete teams after cherry picking.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open roles unfulfilled

      I was "restructured" a few years ago.

      In the UK you get two weeks to find a new job, though many open reqs disappear once the axe falls.

      I actually had someone ask to interview me but HR wouldn't have it.

      Glad I got out of there though. A friend of mine was laid off earlier this year so clearly the Chambers Hunger Games have become bi annual. Payoff was good considering time served.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Open roles unfulfilled

        "the Chambers Hunger Games have become bi annual."

        The clocks went back last week, that's the usual reminder it's due. Oddly my place do it at Christmas and high summer, so out of phase with everywhere else.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @AC Re: Open roles unfulfilled

        By the time you get the notice, its too late.

        Yes you will be blocked from applying for those 'open roles' which actually are no longer open and the position is frozen until you and your team are gone from the rolls.

        Your managers know about the layoff long before you do and if they wanted to keep you, they would have told you to apply for a different role or would have had the other manager call you and then tell you that the manager called him out of courtesy and that you should take the job...

        IBM and other big corporations do this.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Open roles unfulfilled

        +1 for getting LR'd.

        Pay off was very good.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open roles unfulfilled

      The usual scam is that the layoffs are in the West and the vacancies are in Bangalore

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Open roles unfulfilled

      A much smarter move would have been to encourage the best (those which the employer would like to retain) to apply for other positions and laying off the remainder in complete teams after cherry picking.

      A nice idea. But in my rather-too-considerable experience of these matters, employers don't have a fucking clue who their best employees are.

      When "cherry picking" all they do is pick those whose face (or figure) fits - if those people are lucky, they've just been picked for brown nosing, or for their ability to avoid any accountability or controversy. If they're unlucky, they've been picked because the boss fancies them (or worse, the boss's boss fancies them).

      And that inability to identify talent is universal across large companies. Many of you fellow commentards will, like me, work for big corporates whose HR team operate a "talent pool" scheme. And like me you may have seen enough to know that talent pool schemes work well for those in them, despite the fact that talent is rarely evidenced by those people, who tend to be uncontroversial, risk averse box tickers who subscribe to whatever corporate groupthink is current, and are skilled at the latest in-house buzzword bingo.

      1. A.P. Veening

        Identifying talent

        "And that inability to identify talent is universal across large companies."

        There is one sure way to identify the talent. Those are the ones who jump ship as soon as they spot problems ahead. By that time it is already too late for management and HR to retain them.

  2. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Layoffs

    Time to buy Cisco stock then.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    "Over the last several years, we have been transforming Cisco to deliver even greater value to our customers,"

    I am sure that those who are being layed off will find great console with that phrase...

    1. Korev Silver badge

      I sit here loving a great pun, but at the same time feeling very sorry for all those loosing their jobs.... Good luck to those having to switch employers

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    PR BS makes me puke

    “Over the last several years, we have been transforming Cisco to deliver even greater value to our customers "

    ... So we will reward all the women and men who did that great job by kicking them out.

    For sure, PR does not deliver greater value to customers, only greater BS.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: PR BS makes me puke

      Just adapting to changing market needs.

      The only reason to buy CISCO over some OEM grey box or rolling your own open source is because of the wealth of professional support services.

      So you axe all the customer support people.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: PR BS makes me puke

        So you axe all the customer support people

        Quite clearly, you have a reading comprehension problem. Customer Experience. Not support.

        In Cisco, these were the people who produce reference designs and papers describing how the kit is to be used. There is very little new coming out in the area of networking which is directly customer or engineer driven. All new stuff is driven by software.

        So for all of these people the writing on the wall was up for like 5+ years. Anyone still employed in this role probably WAS aiming for a retirement pay-out in the first place.

        They are all getting a payout we can only dream of as most of that division is in Switherland or places in Europe where 6+ month notices are the norm.

        1. JSUH2000

          Re: PR BS makes me puke

          Customer Experience is actually a combination of 'Support' (Technical Services) and Advanced Services. The 2 recently combined to make one organisation - a lot cleaner when you're planning mass redundancies.

          Also, it is not true that the majority of the resources were in Switzerland - much was already in lower cost parts of Eastern Europe and Bangalore, so the packages you talk about relate to the very few (if any), not the many.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: PR BS makes me puke

          You are incorrect, Cisco has rebranded TAC as "Customer Experience" (CX). A large number of the individuals laid off are TAC engineers, managers, and other support staff. Entire TAC teams were eliminated in this restructuring, and their work will be taken over by outsourced teams in Mexico and India.

          1. JSUH2000

            Re: PR BS makes me puke

            https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2018/10/26/cisco-cx-group-maria-martinez-exec-exits-csco.html?ana=yahoo&yptr=yahoo

            Clearly not just a TAC rebrand

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Cisco going the way of IBM?

    Or is this just a pre-emptive cost-cutting measure in light of His Trumpness' global trade antics?

  6. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    This has been the Cisco way. I remembered commenting to people that Cisco does lay-offs every year. And every time they do, the quality of their product (hardware and software) takes a significant hit. RTP and SJ going to get hit. That's going to be bad.

  7. GetMeOuttaHere
    FAIL

    What I find rather bemusing is the amount of businessbabble Cisco dribble on about when it comes to explaining these layoffs:-

    "We continue to make decisions to ensure that our investments and resources are aligned with strategic growth areas of the business."

    ”significant role in accelerating Cisco's business transformation and overall growth strategy,”

    “We have also moved quickly to open requisitions – our impacted talent may be eligible to apply for these newly-created CX roles where there is a skills match,”

    Utter bollocks of course- why not be honest about it and tell it to us straight - you're not making sufficient profits for your shareholders/investors, so you're getting rid of people who are not cost effective.

    1. FozzyBear Silver badge

      Because If they did that then the marketing and PR pukes would be on the chopping block. Being so verbose they justify their own existence

  8. Frozit
    Flame

    The sad thing is, as a large company, you HAVE to do layoffs. Especially in tech.

    Hire 10 people. 2 are top rate, 6 are ok, 2 are terrible.

    Who is the most likely to leave? The top 2, and maybe some of the 6.

    Who will never leave? The bottom 2.

    Hire another 10 people. 2 are top rate, 6 are ok, 2 are terrible.

    Rinse, repeat.

    If you don't have a house cleaning, you fill up with bottom raters.

    Sad, but true.

    And given the ability for bad managers to select staff that, uh, fits their views, you have to be shotgun with the house cleaning.

    Terrible for the individual, necessary for the whole.

    1. Kernel

      "If you don't have a house cleaning, you fill up with bottom raters."

      Depends where you are - in NZ (and many other countries I suspect) you don't make people redundant, you must make their position redundant.

      Making a person redundant and then employing someone else in the same or similar role gets real expensive once the newly unemployed have got you in front of an employment tribunal - so much so that I've know even a big company to settle privately with individuals, rather than go the tribunal route.

      I've also been involved in downsizing exercises in the past - I personally found having to decide who goes and who stays, especially when it's people you've known and worked with for a number of years, to be very stressful and having significant impact on my outside-of-work life and relationships. This is the major reason I stopped chasing management roles quite a few years ago.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Frozit

      >If you don't have a house cleaning, you fill up with bottom raters.

      ...and if you do regular house cleaning you never get to employ good people in the first place. Word gets around and in a skill starved environment where people have choices you as an employer don't get any.

      Its obviously difficult to know exactly who was let go and why. Its possible that Cisco had been trying to fill out the ranks with people who have lower skills or less training (i.e. cheaper) so the performance of those groups would be sub par. Its also possible that if they're recruiting in somewhere like India they can be very abusive with their employees (unemployment is so bad, especially among graduates, that there are well organized scams built around bogus recruiters and non-existent jobs). Bottom line is that these kinds of big companies tend to be at the bottom of the list when you're looking for a job -- you hire on if you have to, not because there's any guarantee of a career.

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    “Over the last several years, we have been transforming Cisco to deliver even greater value to our customers board and stockholders,” a Cisco spokesperson told The Register in an email.

    I think this was mis-written by Cisco... fixed it for them.

    We really do need a greedy bastard icon....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exclusive?

    For an "exclusive" article it would be nice to be actually correct and comprehensive.

    Disclosure: Cisco employee here.

    We are used to ElReg constantly laying into us even though I am not entirely sure why. However, it's grating and feels very unfair but I guess it's part of business.

    As to the layoffs, this is restructuring of the business as Cisco is going through a massive reorg to adapt to the new landscape. Not sure if we can do anything right in the eyes of the writer of this article. Do nothing and get blamed for being a dinosaur, reorganize and you are being blamed for, yes, what exactly?

    Here are the facts. 300 roles are being axed due to reorg. There are 3000+ open reqs at Cisco at the moment. Everyone of the 300 has a hiring agent assigned to ensure they find a place within Cisco. Cisco preferably hires internally (if that's good or bad is a different topic) and in the past 70% of affected employees were absorbed into open positions.

    To put this on equal footing as the hamfisted layoffs at DXC or other companies is perhaps not the most fair approach.

    Still, thank you for your writing and insight.

  11. Trooper_ID

    best thing that ever happened to me.

    A long long time ago in a large corporation far far away. I heard that we were restructuring and managed to get myself reassigned to one of the new growth areas, and so was safe. good thing i thought as the entire team i was in was let go. fast forward to a long time ago and the new team i was in (and now leading) was called to a town hall meeting. doors were closed behind us and we were told we were all redundant, security had our personal belongings and we would be paid as per legal requirements but that we had to leave there and then. i was initially devastated, i loved working for that corp and was proud of what i, and my team, had achieved. fast forward to now. i am self employed, contracting out to multiple large corps, earning more money, work the hours that suit me, and am much less stressed. best thing that happened to me. it is not the end of the word.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019