Symantec Layoffs Could Hit 8 Percent of Workforce

Symantec has begun laying off up to 1,700 employees — 8 percent of its workforce — as it struggles to turn around its lagging business. The downsizing is part of a reorganization the company announced in January.

Symantec LogoOn Friday, a spokeswoman told AllThingsD that the reorganization is part of an effort to make the company’s reporting structure “more efficient.” She continued, “There are several stages to the reorganization process, as we define executive and management layers down to all levels of employees. Some notifications are happening this month, as part of this … process.”

Sources told AllThingsD that the cuts, which are supposed to be completed in fiscal 2014, have been going on for several months. While only a small number of employees have been affected so far, the next round will be the “biggest yet,” with as many as 1,000 people being laid off in June. Symantec has a total workforce of about 21,000.

CEO Steve Bennett has said that many managers at the company have only five reports, indicating that middle management is bound to be hit hard. In a conference call last month with analysts, Bennett said the company would cut between 30 and 40 percent of its management positions and will have “fewer, bigger jobs for our best and brightest,” according to AllThingsD. He expected the management cuts to be done by the end of July.

Bennett and his team are also working to consolidate and kill product categories and bring back innovation to a company that has been widely seen as bloated and stagnant. Channelnomics says the company’s “key” categories will be mobile workforce productivity, Norton protection, Norton cloud, information security services, identity/content-aware security, data center security, business continuity, integrated backup, cloud-based information management and object storage.

At least some employees agree that the company’s structure needs work. On Glassdoor, one commented that although Symantec has an “open, kind, helpful and hardworking culture” and a “ton of great talent,” it also struggles under “endless layers of management.”

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