Rumors are rife regarding layoffs at HP.
What’s yet to be determined is whether these represent new layoffs or a continuance and execution of previously announced layoffs.
Based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I’d estimate that most of HP’s recent job shedding is occurring in Europe, where HP faced bureaucratic, institutional, and cultural resistance to its across-the-board salary-reduction gambit, announced earlier this year.
HP also quashed perks for private executive jetting, but that, like nominal remuneration reductions to upper-echelon executives, was more about the appearance of probity than about serious cost containment.
It’s difficult to get a firm handle on just how severe the cuts have been at HP’s offices in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in North America. There have been reductions in employee numbers in Oregon and Colorado, but those were apparently modest.
What’s more, as a story by Tom Sullivan of InfoWorld noted earlier this year, it’s hard to know how many announced layoffs are consummated.
Apparently corporate executives try to deceive bloodthirsty investors into thinking employee pogroms are worse than they actually turn out to be. Investors and Wall Street types respond favorably to layoffs, which reduce operating costs and therefore have the potential to increase near-term profits.
This bait-and-switch layoff ruse was explained pithily by Forrester Research analyst Natalie Petouhoff in the aforementioned InfoWorld article:
“It’s smoke and mirrors, to tell shareholders they’re doing what they need to do.”
Feel better now? I didn’t think so.