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Qualcomm is trimming its work force by 1%

Monday, December 26, 2022

Qualcomm is laying off 153 workers in San Diego as the wireless technology giant seeks to reduce costs amid a global slowdown in smartphone demand.

The San Diego company filed Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) paperwork with the state of California and local employment officials earlier this month giving advanced notice of the job cuts. The layoffs take effect in February.

A Qualcomm spokesperson declined to comment on the reduction, which amounts to about 1 percent of the company’s 12,500-person workforce in San Diego.

While not widespread, other local tech companies also have announced layoffs recently. TuSimple, a startup developing self-driving technology for semi-trucks, said Wednesday that it planned to cut its global workforce by 25 percent, or 350 jobs, to conserve cash.

TuSimple’s workforce reduction includes 143 layoffs at its San Diego headquarters and research and development facilities, according to a WARN Act filing.

TuSimple's vehicles are capable of autonomously transporting freight on highways and surface streets. (Photo: Business Wire)

In November, gene sequencing equipment giant Illumina said it was cutting its global workforce by 5 percent — including 207 jobs in San Diego — as sluggish demand from customers is expected to linger into 2023.

Qualcomm referred questions about its layoffs to statements that executives made during its most recent earnings conference call in November, where they announced a hiring freeze and lowered their smartphone sales forecast for 2022.

“We have planned spending reductions across our mature product areas and SG&A (sales, general and administrative functions) to fund our diversification,” said Chief Executive Cristiano Amon at the time. “We are continuing to evaluate additional actions, and we are prepared and committed to making further reductions to operating expenses as needed.”

Qualcomm, San Diego’s largest publicly traded company by market value, makes processors that power many top-tier Android smartphones, as well as providing semiconductors used in vehicles, laptops and Internet of Things devices. It also supplies 5G cellular connectivity chips used in Apple’s iPhones.

In the earnings call, Qualcomm executives said they expect a low double-digit percentage drop in smartphone sales this year compared with 2021. Earlier, the company had predicted a more modest, mid-single-digit percentage decline.

The semiconductor sector has been hit hard by a pullback in consumer spending amid rising inflation. That has led to bloated chip inventories at electronics firms, which Qualcomm believes could take roughly eight to 10 weeks to burn off in the smartphone market.

As of September, Qualcomm employed 51,000 full- and part-time workers in 150 locations worldwide. It added 6,000 employees during its most recent fiscal year, including through acquisitions. It is unknown if workforce reductions occurred at other locations.

By: DocMemory
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