10% Staff Cut at Salesforce Highlights Slowdown in Tech Spending

10% Staff Cut at Salesforce Highlights Slowdown in Tech Spending

Salesforce Inc. will shrink its real estate holdings and eliminate roughly 10% of its personnel after the business software provider said it employed too many people during the pandemic-fueled boom and is adapting to clients who are becoming more conservative with their spending.

According to Salesforce, the personnel relocations would cost the corporation between $1.4 billion and $2.1 billion and should be finished by the end of the current fiscal year (2024). Its fourth fiscal quarter will bring in up to $1 billion of that total. Salesforce employed roughly 80,000 people.

The challenges Salesforce is facing are a reflection of the corporate clients’ rising economic apprehension. Executives said during a November earnings conference that customers in the technology and financial sectors were not increasing their expenditures while the company’s customer management software was still in high demand in the manufacturing and tourism sectors. Although their overall revenue growth has slowed, other software vendors like ServiceNow Inc. and Workday Inc. have highlighted the strength of the hotel and retail sectors.

In a letter to staff members on Wednesday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that “The environment remains challenging and our customers are taking a more measured approach to their purchasing decisions.” “As our revenue accelerated through the pandemic, we hired too many people leading into this economic downturn we’re now facing, and I take responsibility for that.”


At 12:15 p.m. in New York, the shares increased 3.1% to $138.97, outperforming the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 share index by approximately 1%. In 2022, the stock fell 48 percent.

In the last four years, Salesforce, the biggest private-sector employer in San Francisco, has virtually quadrupled its workforce, thanks in large part to dozens of acquisitions, including the $27.7 billion purchase of Slack in 2021. The number of employees increased by more than 30,000 from January 2020 to the end of October.

Many of the impacted workers, according to Benioff’s letter, will be informed “next hour” and will get at least five months’ worth of salary, health insurance, career assistance, and other perks. According to the letter, anyone living outside the US would get comparable help that complies with their country’s employment rules.


Many IT businesses are suffering from the Covid-19 growth boom, which saw a spike in demand for electronics and cloud services like collaboration software. This increase is unsustainable. Global smartphone and PC sales are declining. Salesforce and rivals like Zoom Video Communications Inc. have seen consumers scrutinize software expenditure due to inflation and economic uncertainties.

Meta Platforms Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Twitter Inc., HP Inc., and Seagate Technology Holdings Plc have also announced job losses. Microsoft Corp. shares fell after UBS Group AG downgraded the stock, predicting a severe “deceleration” in the company’s cloud-computing business, a major growth engine.

Salesforce’s slowdown likely reflects an industrywide downturn in business IT investment, analyst Anurag Rana noted. “Salesforce recruited aggressively because of the epidemic. These cutbacks might help management attain its adjusted operating margin objectives for at least three years, Rana said.

Starboard Value is pressuring the software behemoth to boost profit margins. In addition, key executives including Co-CEO Bret Taylor and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield have announced their exits.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Keith Bachman said 10% job cutbacks may be greater than projected. He noted that personnel cuts shouldn’t impact management’s long-term interest in M&A to boost income.

The corporation would also cut office space, saving $450 million to $650 million. Real estate reorganization should be complete by 2026. Salesforce’s website lists more than 60 offices.

In a conference call in November, Chief Financial Officer Amy Weaver said, “Over the past two years, we have continued to re-imagine our real estate strategy.” “When leases come up and we don’t renew, when we consolidate areas, it’s something that we are continuing to benefit from.”

—With the help of Amy Thomson.

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