Microsoft global job cuts to have minimal impact in Ireland

Tech firm grew its Irish workforce from 1,200 to 1,800 this year

Microsoft job cuts are likely to have minimal impact in Ireland, where the company grew its workforce by 50 per cent this year.

The tech company is overhauling its sales and marketing organisation in a move expected to cut up to 4,000 jobs, the majority outside the United States.

A company spokesman in the US confirmed “roles will be eliminated” but declined to put a precise number on the cuts.

However, it is not believed Ireland will see any major effect – Microsoft announced 600 new jobs in February, growing overall employment to 1,800 as a sign of its “continued commitment” here.


Employees are also due to move into a new campus in Leopardstown, Dublin, before the end of the calendar year, a €134 million investment.

In a statement, Microsoft Ireland said the company was “implementing changes to better serve our customers and partners. Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis. This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others.”

It declined to comment specifically on its Irish operation.

Head count

Microsoft’s global head count is 121,500, a number that has gradually increased in the past few years.

The precise number of global jobs to be shed remains uncertain, partly because in some countries, especially in Europe, labour laws require negotiations.

But the global total is likely to be in the range of 3,000 to 4,000, a Microsoft source said. Workers were notified on Thursday if their current job was affected. Some of the workers will get other jobs within Microsoft.

“This is being done mainly to evolve the skill sets we need,” said Frank Shaw, a spokesman for the company.

The job cuts come after Microsoft last week described a sweeping realignment of its sales and marketing arm, which employs about 50,000 people worldwide.

At the time, there were reports that “thousands” of jobs might be eliminated. In an internal email last week, Judson Althoff, a Microsoft executive vice-president, described the reorganisation and its rationale. He wrote that there was “an enormous $4.5 trillion market opportunity” for Microsoft in the coming years.

The sales and marketing changes, Mr Althoff wrote, were intended to “enable us to align the right resources for the right customer at the right time”.

Key areas of opportunity, he said, included expanding its cloud offerings in data analysis and artificial intelligence, and helping companies in every industry to become digital businesses, using Microsoft tools.

The one major workforce cutback at Microsoft came in 2014, when 18,000 jobs were eliminated. That move came shortly after Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer as chief executive. – (Additional reporting New York Times)

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times