Optical/IP Networks

Headcount: Numbers Games

Telecom companies continue to make positive chatter on their earnings calls about spending levels coming back, etc. But recovery, in any sense, won't necessarily mean that companies will do much hiring in the near future.

Overall employment figures suggest that things are stagnant, if nothing else. The number of folks who lost their jobs or finished temporary assignments was about 4,936,000 last month, the lowest it had been since last October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Motto: "We got government jo-obs! Nyah-nyah-nya-nyah-nyah!") The unemployment rate, 6.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, 8.8 million, were also more or less unchanged.

Stagnant though things are, no one's sitting still. Witness this week's summary of recent hirings and firings in the telecom space:

  • The bad news: more job cuts at Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT). Last week the company told its employees it would cut about 200 optical networking jobs in Ottawa, 30 jobs in Montreal, and 45 jobs in Monkstown, Ireland. The company was able to save about 60 jobs, by transferring folks to its wireless businesses, a spokesperson for Nortel says: "These decisions are never easy, and we will be providing those affected employees with notice and severance."

    The good news is that the Lingonberries -- a Swedish folk group in Ottawa formed by laid off Nortelians -- will now have an ample talent pool from which to recruit future baritones.

  • Is Gluon Networks Inc. heading for the glue factory? The equipment startup has cut 40 people, leaving it with 75 employees, according to a report in the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, Calif. The cuts make Gluon exactly half the size as it was in 2001, when it boasted three locations with more than 80,000 square feet of space and more than 150 employees. The last announced funding round for Gluon came in May 2002, when it added more than $11 million to a previous round, giving it more than $76 million raised since 1999.

  • Hanaro Telecom Inc., Korea's second-largest broadband carrier, is trimming the number of its high-ranking executives to 27 from 49, according to The Korean Herald. (Note: The Korean Herald is not affiliated with Headcount's affable next-door neighbor, Harold the Korean.)

  • Are the lights still on at Emperative Inc.? We have from a reliable source an unconfirmed report that the company is shutting its doors at the end of this week. Headcount's calls to Emperative weren't returned, even though we told them it was emperative that they phone us.

  • Last week ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT) installed its third OSS chief in just six months (see ADC Loses Another OSS Boss). Jo Anne Anderson, also head of ADC's systems integration business, has hopped on the executive merry-go-round after her predecessors, Larry Barker and Dilip Singh, were sent flying in the direction of the swing sets.

  • Wireless LAN switch startup Trapeze Networks Inc. is looking to replace its VP of sales, Michael Ferguson, who left in late October (see Trapeze Sales VP Sails Off). Trapeze recently cut around 30 percent of its workforce, leaving it with somewhere north of 60 people (see Trapeze's Wireless Wobbles).

  • The 20 or so people left at Tahoe Networks will be folded gently into Nokia Corp.'s (NYSE: NOK) facilities in Mountain View, Calif. (see Nokia Sweeps Up Tahoe). But, given Nokia's history with previous acquisitions such as Ipsilon Networks and Amber Networks, maybe "folded gently" should read "crushed into powder."

    And, now, a few more appointments and disappointments from the past few days: That's all for this go-round. Drop us a line if you have a news tip, or, for that matter, a list of better band names for ex-Nortelers than "The Lingonberries." Send all correspondence to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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    gumbydammit 12/4/2012 | 11:15:51 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games Come'on Nortel, admit it, it *is* getting easier to lay-off peopl. Lord knows you had enough practice at it by now. Slow and painful death.

    I'd been hearing rumors for some time that Nortel will close its sizable Richardson, Tx facility by EOCY'03. Anyone in-the-know care to comment?

    horse of a different color 12/4/2012 | 11:15:51 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games That's because the JOBS page filed "Chapter Closed".

    So sad, but oh so true. ;-(

    sir-wish-pro-wide-her 12/4/2012 | 11:15:51 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games Funny, how Lightreading talks about headcount toll, but it silently restructured....its own site. I don't see the JOBS web-page anymore :-)
    sir-wish-pro-wide-her 12/4/2012 | 11:15:51 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games no need to be sad, just start lightreading_china, lightreading_india and, perhaps lightreading_eastern_europe_including russia, and there will be no need to close the jobs chapter. That may indeed become booming web-page(s) to have. And if does, just remember to send me the check for my idea :-).
    Lite Rock 12/4/2012 | 11:15:49 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games It's all about the revenue stream and a "jobs" section these days don't cut it.

    You can buy some nifty research reports...


    "our remit" gimme a break.

    Do some real breaking research and news, like Sprint about to do layoffs and outsourcing their programming to India.
    DoTheMath 12/4/2012 | 11:15:49 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games God, this business has become so painful. I don't see light at the end of the tunnel. Given how *bloated* the large service providers, and the large incumbent vendors *still* are, I am pessimistic about the 2-3 year outlook. May be time to move on for a lot of us, even the ones employed in this damn business.
    BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 11:15:48 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games I find it hard to belive that Overall employment figures suggest that things are stagnant, if nothing else. According to the US Government provided figures:"The number of folks who lost their jobs or finished temporary assignments was about 4,936,000 last month". I thought the correct figure is close to 10 million people, who are unemployed. According to the various published reports and Lou Dobb's report on CNN, the jobs that are likely to develop will pay between $25K-$35K per annum, Furthermore there woould be fewer jobs in the nxt years. By the year 2010, the US population is going to jump by at least by 30 million people. This is spectacular growth in the recorded history of the US demographics. This population growth is primarily contributed by immigrants from China, India, and Latin American. This simply that the growth in jobs would not be able to keep up with the population growth. The layoffs announced in this report would continue with more vigour afer the year 2003. The remainder of the start=ups will start closing as soon as they have raked is gone.In many start-ups the management has fired most of the employees on order to preserve cash so that they can continue to pay themselves,

    It may take as long as ten years for the telecom industry to recover. Actually there is nothing to recover from.
    gea 12/4/2012 | 11:15:47 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games BobbyMax:

    All your base are belong to us.
    echo2 12/4/2012 | 11:15:44 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games gea:

    None of your BobbyMax are belong to us.
    Passenger 12/4/2012 | 11:15:44 PM
    re: Headcount: Numbers Games Bobby Max,

    Is there anything you don't know? Was there no way to blame the US Government for this weeks telecom news? You are slipping Bobby Max.
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