Intel laid off a substantial number of information technology workers at sites across the company this week, according to multiple sources inside the company.
The layoffs numbered in the hundreds, according to people with direct knowledge of the cuts who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about their employer.
Intel confirmed the layoffs but declined to specify how many people lost their jobs or describe the rationale for the cutbacks.
“Changes in our workforce are driven by the needs and priorities of our business, which we continually evaluate. We are committed to treating all impacted employees with professionalism and respect,” Intel said in a brief statement acknowledging the cuts to The Oregonian/OregonLive.
The cuts took place at sites across the company, including Oregon, Intel’s largest site with 20,000 workers. Cuts also took place at other Intel facilities in the United States and at a large administrative facility in Costa Rica, according to people familiar with the layoffs.
Though Intel forecasts flat sales in 2019, people inside the company said this week’s layoffs don’t appear to be strictly a cost-cutting move. Rather, they said the cuts appeared to reflect a broad change in the way Intel is approaching its internal technical systems.
Information technology (IT) professionals don’t usually develop new technology but they play an essential role in managing a company’s internal systems. Their work is particularly important at tech companies such as Intel, which depend on IT workers to keep systems secure and running smoothly.
This week’s layoffs appear to be Intel’s biggest cutbacks since 2016, when the company eliminated 15,000 jobs across the company through layoffs, buyouts and early retirement offers. Intel had 107,400 employees around the world at the end of 2018.
At that time Intel was bracing itself for long-term decline in its core business, microprocessors for PCs and laptops. The company has since transitioned to rely on new markets, most prominently data centers.
Intel is also preparing for a big shift in its manufacturing technology and is preparing to build new, multibillion-dollar factories in Oregon, Ireland and Israel. Intel is planning for 1,750 new Oregon jobs in the next few years as it builds the third phase of its massive Hillsboro research factory called D1X.
Intel shares were trading up 0.9 percent Friday at $53.61. The stock is near its highest point since the dot-com era.