Salesforce Doing Layoffs a Day After Announcing Record-Breaking Profits

The layoffs fall a day after the cloud software giant reported one of its best quarters in the company's 21-year history. 
August 26, 2020, 6:18pm
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Salesforce is laying off some of its employees, the company has confirmed, following news that the cloud software giant reported one of its best quarters in the company's 21-year history.

Employees received notifications on Tuesday and Wednesday that they had been laid off from the San Francisco-based provider of cloud-based software company, which employs 49,000 workers.

“We’re reallocating resources to position the company for continued growth,” a spokesperson for Salesforce said. “This includes continuing to hire and redirecting some employees to fuel our strategic areas, and eliminating some positions that no longer map to our business priorities. For affected employees, we are helping them find the next step in their careers, whether within our company or a new opportunity.”

Engineers at the data visualization firm Tableau, which is owned by Salesforce, have also reported losing their jobs.

“Based on the near-record revenue numbers, and all of the other positives Marc Benioff spoke about, doing a layoff of this scale and scope, during a global pandemic seems abjectly unconscionable,” Vanya Tucherov, a Tableau engineer who says he will lose his job and has worked at the company for more than a decade, told Motherboard. “I hadn't planned on leaving before retirement, so now having to re-enter the job market, particularly in the era of COVID is more than a little daunting.”

The layoffs arrive at a time of uncertainty for tech workers, as companies have dealt with the economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic by shedding tens of thousands of tech workers. As of early July, more than 25,500 employees of Silicon Valley start-ups, including Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and Groupon had lost their jobs.

On Tuesday, amidst news of the layoffs, Salesforce CEO and billionaire founder Marc Benioff boasted about the company's performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and declared a victory for "stakeholder capitalism."

"It’s humbling to have had one of the best quarters in Salesforce’s history against the backdrop of multiple crises seriously affecting our communities around the world," Benioff said in a press statement.

In March, Salesforce committed not to cut any of its employees for 90 days.

In a tweet, using the Hawaiian word for family, "ohana," to refer to Salesforce employees, Benioff wrote, “Salesforce is pledging to its workforce Ohana not to conduct any significant layoffs over the next 90 days... We encourage our Ohana to pay their own personal hourly workers like housekeepers & dog walkers.”

Tucherov, the Tableau engineer told Motherboard that he found Salesforce’s touting of its employees as '“family” as entirely tone deaf, particularly during a pandemic.

“Since Salesforce so proudly trumpets its vocal commitment to Trust and isn't shy about culturally appropriating the Hawai'ian term ‘Ohana’ to describe the relationship it wants to have with its staff and customer base, the juxtaposition of layoffs under these circumstances seems to expose that as a wanton falsehood,” Tucherov said. “This is not how one treats family, nor how a company builds trust with its employees.”