Inside views on the jobs market
Die-hard UBS investors who have stayed with the bank through thick and thin are hoping new boss Oswald Gruebel (sitting) will return the Swiss icon to its former splendour thanks to a bitter medicine of thousands of new layoffs and heavy cost cuts announced on Wednesday.
But their patience is running out.
"The only reason why we are still with UBS is because hope dies last. But if this carries on, we will not tolerate it anymore," said Blandina Heyne, a UBS investor for seven years, as she and her husband came to attend the bank's annual general meeting in Zurich.
Both clients and shareholders have turned their back to Switzerland's largest bank after the crisis forced UBS to post the biggest loss in Swiss corporate history and shares plummeted to historic lows.
Shareholder anger forced former CEO Marcel Rohner to quit in February and chairman Peter Kurer (standing) was giving his last speech on Wednesday before leaving his job after just one year of what some investors say are empty promises.
These have been a couple of ugly weeks for the newspaper industry. First, EW Scripps pulled the plug on the Rocky Mountain News, and then, today, McClatchy said it was cutting about 1,600 jobs, representing 15 percent of its workforce.
For those who like to look at the bright side of things, McClatchy isn't shutting down The Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee or Anchorage Daily News. But the staff cuts are deep and undoubtedly will hurt the quality and depth of coverage at some of those newspapers. How couldn't they? After all, they come on top of two other major rounds of layoffs at McClatchy.
HSBC, whose advertisements play on how one image can have different meanings in different cultures, appears to have settled on a single view of the U.S. consumer: you’re not worth the risk. The global bank, whose billboards proclaim the importance of local knowledge, said it would shut most of its U.S. consumer lending business with the loss of 6,100 jobs.
“With the benefit of hindsight, this is an acquisition we wish we had not undertaken,” HSBC Chairman Stephen Green said of its 2003 acquisition of Household, which was renamed HSBC Finance.
The pain in the auto industry keeps getting worse. General Motors has just announced that it will cut its global salaried workforce to about 63,000 from 73,000 this year. The remainder of its salaried staff face pay cuts.
In the United States, approximately 3,400 of GM’s 29,500 salaried employees will be cut. The temporary pay cut for most U.S. salaried employees runs May 1 through the end of the year. Executive employees will have their base pay cut by 10 percent, with others seeing cuts of 3 percent to 7 percent.
UBS, the biggest banker to the rich, announced a second round of job cuts after posting the biggest annual loss in Swiss history. The cuts to investment banking jobs come on top of 7,500 jobs that the bank has already axed as a result of the economic crisis.
It’s not all bad news, however. UBS hired nearly 400 financial advisers in the United States in the last quarter and sources have told Reuters it is aggressively poaching advisers from rivals including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney.
Ford UK is to cut around 850 jobs by May and review its previously agreed pay offer as it grapples with the economic impact hitting the car industry, the company said on Thursday.
The news comes a week after the automaker said it was cutting some 2,500 white-collar jobs and 1,200 jobs at Ford Motor Credit. If you’re a Ford employee, tell us how the cuts are affecting you.
Cisco CEO John Chambers has said he wants to avoid layoffs on the scale seen when the tech bubble burst in 2001, but that will be scant consolation to employees hit by Wednesday’s news that the network equipment maker is cutting up to 2,000 jobs. In our report, Chambers did not rule out the possibility of a major layoff, which he defined as a cut of 10 percent or more workers.
If you work at Cisco, which ended 2008 with 67,318 employees, tells us how people are reacting to yesterday’s announcement. Where will the cuts impact and how is the company helping those affected?
Panasonic, the world’s No.1 plasma TV maker, is cutting about 15,000 jobs as it grapples with a stronger yen and slowing demand. Half the cuts will be in Japan and half overseas, our report explains. If you work for Panasonic, tell us what’s happening in your office or factory. Have you been told how the cuts will impact you? How do the severance terms where you work compare with other units of Panasonic?
So, you’re one of the lucky ones. Name on your office door. Extra-glossy business cards. A bit of seniority.
While recent MBA grads prowling for work face the uneviable task of breaking into the financial ranks for the first time (gasp!), the barrage of layoffs that’s spread into the upper echelons of the industry in recent months shows that title-toting execs face a formidable challenge of their own – protecting their hides. The recession’s official, more jobs will be cut and there’s no reason to assume your’s won’t be one of them.
Ahh, just when you could use a stiff drink on the company’s tab to kill the sobering mood wrought by this year’s financial carnage, you find out you’ll be coughing up for the bill yourself at the annual holiday shindig. Such is the case for scores of London’s financial workers. As Reuters’ Olesya Dmitracova reports, employees at some of the biggest names in town – Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, Barclays and so on – will be on the hook for their own year-end parties. A reasonable cost-cutting measure, it seems, during these often unreasonable times. Too bad, though, for those who get stuck drinking swill should their annual bonus get slashed too.
Across the pond, some employees of failed Washington Mutual received some less digestible news on Friday. JPMorgan, which bought WaMu’s banking operations in September, announced job cuts were on the way for some at the former thrift’s Seattle headquarters and elsewhere. Though overall numbers are still not known, and most will retain their jobs, at least 1,600 back-office WaMu staff who worked in California got word they’d be out of a job by March. More concrete figures and dates for others are expected on Monday. How’s that for a start to the holiday season?