Technology

Salesforce to Lay Off 10 Percent of Staff and Cut Office Space

Salesforce, the business software giant, is laying off 10 percent of its work force, or about 8,000 employees, and scaling back office space because of concerns about the economy, the company said on Wednesday.

“The environment remains challenging and our customers are taking a more measured approach to their purchasing decisions,” Marc Benioff, the company’s chief executive, said in a note to employees announcing the cuts.

Salesforce’s revenue, like that of many other technology companies, boomed during the pandemic when more people around the world worked from home and relied more heavily on technology to collaborate with colleagues remotely. In his letter, Mr. Benioff suggested that the company had hired too aggressively during that period of growth.

Salesforce employed just under 80,000 people at the end of October, up from about 48,000 people three years earlier.

“We hired too many people leading into this economic downturn we’re now facing, and I take responsibility for that,” Mr. Benioff said.

The company’s sales grew 14 percent in its latest quarter, the slowest pace in years; it projected even slower growth in its current quarter. Other tech chiefs, like Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, have recently admitted to hiring too many people as they rushed to make cuts. More than 150,000 tech workers were laid off last year, according to Layoffs.fyi, a site that tracks job cuts.

Salesforce is the largest private employer in San Francisco, and its flagship office building is the city’s tallest.

The company estimated that the changes would cost up to $2.1 billion. Salesforce is offering U.S. employees a minimum of five months of pay, as well as health insurance and career resources, Mr. Benioff said. Most of the cuts would come “over the coming weeks,” he wrote.

Salesforce’s shares rose more than 4 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday. The company’s stock price fell by nearly 50 percent last year.

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