Big Bump in Tech Layoffs in August

Technology layoffs soared in the month of August, with job cuts rising by roughly three times the level of the previous month for the computer and telecom industries, according to a report released Thursday by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

LayoffsIn August, tech companies said they planned to ax 4,663 computer positions, compared with 1,587 job cuts announced during July.

The telecom industry, meanwhile, posted 2,620 job cuts in August, up from 803 the previous month, according to the report.

Cisco’s planned reduction of 4,000 positions contributes to a significant portion of the technology layoffs announced in August, but companies including Symantec, Salesforce, Level 3 Communications and others say they are paring their staff as well.

It’s important to note, however, that the report deals only with announced layoffs. The totals could be even higher because some companies, such as IBM, tend to stay mum about such moves. IBM’s recent layoffs, for example, came to light from documents it filed with the State of California.

Job Cuts Chart Challenger GrayIn a previous report, Challenger, Gray & Christmas attributed the rise in layoffs to shifting trends within the tech industry, forcing companies to realign their priorities and work forces. These trends “are making it necessary for companies to alter business strategies, streamline operations and restructure their organizations,” said John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm.

Bigger Bite for IT Job Cuts Last Year

Although the August IT job cuts look horrific when compared with the previous month, the situation is actually improving when compared with the first eight months of the year, or with the same period last year.

In the computer industry, the number of jobs eliminated is down 30 percent to 26,180 year to date, compared with the same period a year ago.

Telecom industry job cuts have also substantially lessened this year compared to last year, according to the report. To date, 8,637 telecom jobs have gone away, compared with 18,987 jobs during the same eight month period last year.

The monthly reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continue to show steady gains in computer-related jobs – particularly in consulting. And helping to offset layoff news are reports of companies hiring, such as Red Hat, Seagate and Citrix.

28 Responses to “Big Bump in Tech Layoffs in August”

  1. So where’s the economic recovery that they keep talking about??? 7.3% unemployment they claim. Total and complete BS!! I’m betting that most of the jobs listed on Dice are ghost positions as in they don’t really exist.

    I get half a dozen or more calls each day from India based technical recruiting firms and they all call from area codes from the East Coast or West Coast and never from the area where the jobs are supposedly located at.

    I’m sick of this BS!! Hopefully it will end soon when the REAL economic/financial collapse happens.

  2. Boss Hogg

    Sam, I have been complaining about the H1Bs program for years! Instead of increasing it we as America should address this issue by training people here in America for these jobs just like India does!!!! Instead of college that trains you on NOTHING specific we need people being trained in these specific areas for these specific jobs like Database admins. It’s a lot easier to just increase the H1Bs then actually address the issue! Lame duck administration!!

  3. I just finished up school and I’m having a hard time finding work. I now have my Associates in IT/Networking, I have worked as a PC Tech for Microsoft and I’ve worked as a PC Tech/Help desk for Boeing and now no one will even give me a chance! Even at entry level Help desk positions I seem to get shut down! How are we suppose to get moving forward if I don’t even have enough experience for a level 1 position!


      Josh, I would advise you to get out of I.T. but if you truly love it and must do it then look for a company that will take you on as an intern. Yes that’s right, work for free. If you are lucky you will find a company that might actually pay you. Just get in the door any way you can and set a time limit on how long you will stay. At the end of the time limit find another internship. Keep doing that until someone offers you a job. It will happen.

      One mistake I made was I thought I had to work hard at my job. The truth is you need to work harder on yourself than you do at your job. That means adding certs, exposing yourself to as many new and varied experiences as you can. Already know user management and user/group permissions for Active Directory? Great go back and take a course and learn about user management for *nix. Take jobs that will expose you to new protocols, workflows and technology that you are not familiar with. Don’t ever stop.

      The quickest way to move up the salary ladder is by changing jobs. Develop your chops and look for openings that allow you to test, refine, and master newly learned skills.

      I didn’t do that. Now I am just a fool without an enterprise gig and a depleted 401K.

      • First off, Im sorry to hear of you situation. I feel like a fool also. I spent a lot of money on an Associates in Computer IT on line, almost done I have 6 weeks to go, I am fighting tooth and nail to finish because I already tried looking for a job and cant find 1. I feel like I wasted my time and MONEY, I dont even feel like finishing this expensive useless degree.

    • chris edward

      You have the internet study study , this happen in 2003 , also take contract work. Help small mom and pop places that are American. They really want people that can solve things. So many here can not even parse a file. A degree is of no use if you can not understand the basics.

  4. I’m from Italy, I have a MS/BS in EECS from Rome with a 3.925 GPA, and I have another MS in CS from UCLA with a GPA of 3.933. I’m on a H1B visa and I work in San Francisco. I get contacted by recruiters in the area almost daily, either from big companies and from startups. I don’t know what are you talking about. If you’re good, people will hire you no matter if you are on a visa or not. Companies are fighting to get the best engineers – if people are not good, regardless on their visa status, they can’t complain about not finding a job and blame immigrants (who pay taxes and help economy spending the money HERE) for their lack of skills.



      You sound like a truly exceptional person. I imagine you are. May I address your comments?

      You are exceptional as are many of your comrades I am sure. However let’s take the example of an Enterprise Exchange Engineer who has been working for a company for 10 years and knows the companies systems inside and out. He is making $175,000 a year. How is that possible you ask?

      It’s possible because he started with the company fresh out of college at a time when there was no such thing as an exchange admin and with cost of living increases, smart negotiating of pay raises, along with getting certs he was able to maximize his value. Then comes along a person who is willing to do that job for $30,000 and it’s bye bye job for him. The guy making $30,000 comes in on an H1B visa and is able to do it because he’s living in an apartment with 7 other guys crammed into two rooms which allows them to save enough money on rent and to send some home to their families.

      This is in defense of protecting labor not an attack on immigrants. Perhaps someone said something to you or about you which was unfair. I am sorry for that but if you think I am going to go softer on you than I would on a fellow countryman making the same point then you are seriously mistaken. Facts are facts and truth is truth no matter what country you live in, move to, or escape from.

      You are exceptional. Let me show you some exceptional U.S. citizens who also have exceptional kids who they are putting through school who also can’t get jobs in this market. In addition to being exceptional they also have a lot of experience.

      Let’s also talk about economy of scale, cloud computing. Cloud services can be scaled and managed with a few engineers. So what does that mean in terms of this discussion? It means that we are in a technology paradigm shift. Just like the paradigm shift that occurred (and continues to occur) when robotics were brought into the auto industry, the same displacement of workers is occurring within the computer provisioned services industry.

      In addition globalization is also occurring. This means you sir are going to compete against some poor citizen in some foreign country with regard to how much money you can make. So the very thing you see happening to older chaps here in this country after a couple of decades will also happen to you only at a faster rate, say in less than a decade. Remember cloud services can be managed anywhere over the wire. We will likely see infrastructure built in faraway places as high speed access becomes even faster. So say in 8 years your manager walks into your office accompanied by a young lad who you can barely understand and he will say to you: “Stefano this is Sung Kwan. We would like him to train with you. Show him everything you know about our systems, how they run and how to manage them.”

      You will swallow and your gut will start to ache because you will know that he is there to replace you. You will not hate him because he is poor. You will not hate him because he is an immigrant. You will not even dislike him because of his squeaky clean, shiny black hair. You will fear him only because he is the guy who is taking your job because of economics, a skill he possesses that you don’t have, (a system you have never run before that handles more tasks than the one your company currently uses). And the worst part of it will be that you likely will have made the recommendation to use that system. All of which would not have been possible if he didn’t have an H1B visa.

      You are smart. You are a go-getter. You have energy. You have a GPA of 3.933. Wonderful.

      Now may I introduce you to the american citizen who is also just as smart, twice as energetic, also a go getter and came out of college with a 4.0 with honors, can remember a table of ip addresses after only looking at them for 2 minutes. Not only that he speaks Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. He’s not better than you. He’s the same as you only with unique skills. We are all unique. On the day when Sung Kwan walks into your office you will understand. Completely.

      This is not personal. This is business. American companies will teach you about business. You will learn all the dirty little tricks and games they play and after you have been “real world” educated and are “Americanized”. You will be less willing to take less money, work more hours, do without the Benz/BMW, and the house with the mortgage because you worked hard for it 14 hours a day, 50 weeks a year, skipping vacations because your employer asked if you could hold off a little while because the company needed you right now. You will have a right to feel that way because you earned that right, and when you bitch about it, you will overhear someone say how lazy Americans are and how they don’t appreciate what they have… and they will be talking about you.

    • According to Stefano, if you are an unemployed American engineer, it’s because you “are not good” and lack skills. Shut up and stop complaining. By Stefano’s example, not only does the H1-B visa holder deserve the job that an unemployed American wants, but the H1-Ber also gets to be arrogant about it. But take heart, because Stefano will spend his money and let the benefit trickle down to you.

      With Stefano’s amazing abilities, he should be able to get one of the top engineering jobs in Italy; even if there is only one engineering job in Italy, he should be able to get it. Why did he leave Italy to live here amongst so many complaining, untalented, unemployed engineers? (Just how did those stupid, untalented, unemployed, American engineers get to be engineers in the first place?)

      • I am sick and tired of these H1B haters. When your grand pa came to this country, he also spent most of his life in one bedroom apartment, trying to raise you and your dad so you could go to college and own your house (someday).

        Fast forward 100 years, another immigrant on H1-B comes and he shares his apartment with others and suddenly he is talk of the town!

        While you were trying to get laid at the age of 14, few others in India/China/Brazil/Italy were trying to go through the text books. They had an American dream similar to what your grandpa had.

        Stop ranting….go find a job! Some H1-B is ready to take your interview. This time if you cannot understand him, it is your problem not his.

        God Bless America!

        Legal Immigrant.



          My Grandfather was born in this country. How do you like them apples?

          Please also take into consideration that earlier generations came to become American citizens.

          The typical H-1B visa holder comes, works, sends money home, then eventually leaves and becomes a star back at home in their country. That’s different I think.

  5. Stuart Ridley

    Since one company’s annoucement has such a big impact on the numbers, a month by month comparison is meaningless. Without Cisco, the numbers would be a big improvement.
    A more useful comparison would be layoffs in 2013 versus the same period in various previous years, including before the financial collapse.
    The real problem with layoff figures is they don’t tell the whole story, as some companies have completely lost control of their business and and are in very short-period firing-hiring-firing cycles (significantly less than a year in some cases). This is the story to talk about as it might give some insight as to what is really happening in our industry.

  6. Not Served By Congress

    H1Bs should have been shut down a long time ago if we were being served by our Congress but we are not.

    Stop buying goods and services from subsidiaries of corporations owned by the wealthy. Just STOP. Buy local, pay more, do not buy any imported fruits and vegetables. Do not buy from any company that is U.S. owned.

    Here we are in September of 2013 and the 1 percent-ers have pulled all their money out of the market AGAIN. It’s time to put your money in your cookie jar, start a vegetable garden, install a solar roof, learn how to fix everything yourself around your house because its coming again. That’s at least what big money seems to be saying.

    Get active. Tell your family, friends, and neighbors the same thing. Our only power is the almighty dollar. Stop giving your money to the huge widget making monoliths. Stop buying electronic toys because if you do you continue to feed the process. Cut off it’s blood supply now.

  7. Rather than complain about what we perceive (myself included) to be the reason…

    I think high mobility and across the board knowledge in Core Technologies is about what the IT industry has come to. Get used to contracting. The days of full time IT staff are coming to a close. Those staff should be minimum. Its called “Everything as a Service”. This is not going to be a lifestyle conducive to family life I don’t believe. Unless.. Id suggest researching federal state and local contracts as well as businesses in your area and pimping yourself or a collective of your professional buddies and get the work that way. If the work that’s there has to go out to an agency to fulfill a short time requirement you stand little chance.

    Another suggestion..

    The H1Bs are highly competent in most cases and very educated. Forget what you read in the news. If you intend to stay in this field you will have to stay trained and motivated. In doing so you may consider getting your training offshore where the H1B comes from. For the price you pay to achieve industry certification at a US vendor you can have a trip to Thailand, Dubai, India, etc, get certified and call it a vacation. Check out koenig or some others

    I guess that says a lot. We have to change

  8. Let me see. We have so many computer positions (IT positions) in St. Louis we can’t fill them with H1Bs or American labor (I’ll take Q’s for that matter). I, personally, have 4 open positions on my team alone, and I’m lucky to get 4 qualified applicants in one week. One worthy of hiring every 3 months or so. It’s been over a week since I’ve had anyone to interview, and that person, who came from India, failed the technical so miserably, I wanted to give him negative points. As a manager, I’m having to code again. Where are all the qualified people? Sure St. Louis might not be as sexy as San Francisco, but folks, have you checked our cost of living? My commute is 25 miles, and I get to work in 20 minutes. No traffic jams. We have culture, art, food out of this world. I don’t care if you’re purple. Can you code? Did I mention my 3 bedroom 2.5 bath, brick home’s mortgage is $415.71 per month?

    • thomas wucetich

      technical tests like “Brainbench” are utterly worthless. Anyone can get a text book and pick out the 10 most difficult questions they can look up. I started one of these about 10 years ago during an interview and left after the 3rd question was about a COBOL pointer variable (!!!) A “technical” should always be a face to face or phone interview where the interviewer includes both technical questions and questions about projects the interviewee has worked on according to their resume.

  9. Karl Snow

    As uncomfortable this short run is and I don’t like it, we need to understand that we are not compensated for work. We have to sign onto an agreed work bid, fully publish that, get it done and hope for more. Smith was right about this arrangement. Anyone out there that can work an algorithm of finished work, based on current surroundings? We cannot blame business for wanting the lowest bidder, because I am one of them. I have a family. I have a child. I’ve done complex data analysis and I’ll work like a slave to take care of them.

  10. H1B visas should have been stopped at least 12 years ago. The Y2K influx has made it worse and now this program is rife with corruption, fraud, nepotism, bribery and deceit.. The resumes are embellished with all sorts of claims and outright lies, one qualified person, hides 4 non-qualified persons under his/her wing and kickbacks are routine.
    If only greedy corporation honkos had any concern for American citizens, they’d plan for their needs and train their own employees for new technology and positions, instead of getting slave labor from overseas. The congress is complicit in this whole scam. Any claims that local qualifed American citizens are not available, is pure hogwash. American citizens are the ones who usually have to train these unqualified H1B guys to replace their own positions.

    • That is true. When I was in b2b company, In early 2000,I trained a bunch of indian engineers on j2ee(7-10) who had very impressive resumes (more experience then I was at least on resume). They can not even distinguish the differences between pass by reference and pass by value. The reason is that most management are not technical and l attached to 1/4 salary of US engineers with the same qualification. The resume are mock up resumes (some of them confessed to it). They start to layoff half the US engineers (these are the engineers responsible for the products that brought in 40 millions funding). Roll forward, 1 year later and burn over 10 millions in development cost the new product assigned to these engineers failed.

      Here is the weird part, now they decided to outsource the to india company to reduce risk and cost.
      I gave up, and left the company before they layout me off or the company die. The company die.

      In the new company, our design won the government multi-millions dollars contact. We finished,
      the product and got more contacts. The management decide that it would look good if we can increase head counts cheaply by working with the company from India staffing firm that charge per engineer and free exchange if not happy (Like Best Buy guarantee). Needless to say, the project
      also failed to delivery. It hurts our company reputation and company decided to cute the lost and
      terminated of out source operation.

      Do not get me wrong, they are alot of good H1B engineers out there. The problem is not the H1B
      engineers, the management mentality and misunderstanding of the engineer field (especially software). Many managements overlook the important of engineers with deep understand of the
      company’s business. It is cheaper to replace these engineers then providing training for new emerging technology, Company that go this round looses employee’s royalty; consequently, reduce productivity. I personally, hold back many product ideas because I am not sure when I will be replaced.

      In the old, ensuring the company success will ensure your promotion or at least ensure your job safety. Today, you can get a good bonus check for did a very good then the pink slip the next day.
      I help secure a 32 millions deal that about to go sour before handed over to me. In fact, the customer wanted a new design document in two weeks or they will terminate the deal. My design
      was approved, delivered the product a happy customer. I received a big fat bonus check and a thank email from customer forward to the whole engineer department.

      Two weeks later, received the pink slip along with all the high paid engineers to cut cost for
      meet quarterly financial report.
      Two months later, I received the call from my boss wondering if I wanted to rejoin the company
      because they had very hot project (from same customer).

      I said no. The said part was, I had did not found a job yet and was on vacation at the time.

  11. Tell me, where are the numbers on new hires for the same time-period? I could care less about how many jobs were cut without a counterbalance of how many also took new positions. Why do these articles all proclaim gloom-and-doom about lost jobs without including any information on gained jobs?

    For those new to the field, such as Josh, demographics are nearly as important as skills and experience. Where are you located? I happen to be in an area where the technical sector is thriving (Portland, OR). I could leave my position today without having anything lined up, and feel confident in obtaining a new position within a month. There are a significant number of places in this country where this is simply not the case. There are jobs everywhere, but not always in such abundance.

    To find your dream job, you may need to move. Another alternative is working remotely. A lot of companies will hire you to work from home. In many cases they don’t even care what hours you work, as long as you get the job done. The company I currently work for has many remote employees; some that work in very technical positions.

    Things are tough all over. Yes, the H1Bs are an issue that MUST be addressed. We need to do something about it, including raising awareness. But getting on a site like this and whining about not being able to find work is, well… just whining. Spend that time and energy on writing an additional email or making an additional call to prospective employers. I really do sympathize with you, but that time can be much better spent.