Seeing Tough Times Ahead, Symantec Plans Layoffs

Anticipating a slowdown in IT spending, Symantec expects to begin laying off employees next month.

Symantec isn't saying exactly how many jobs it will cut, but on Wednesday Chief Financial Officer James Beer said that the company is looking to trim about 4.5 percent of the cost of its workforce. Separately, Symantec is also outsourcing some of the work done by its IT and finance departments, he said during a conference call with financial analysts.

Symantec has not yet determined how many cuts it will make to its workforce of 17,800 employees, but the layoffs will affect staff in all regions, said Cris Paden, a company spokesman. "We'll be notifying employees next month," he said.

On Nov. 1, Hewlett-Packard's EDS division will start taking over some of the company's IT operations, and IT and finance employees will be moved off the company payroll over the next 12 months, Paden said. Those reductions have been planned for months, and are separate from the cuts announced Wednesday.

Symantec's stock [SYMC] dropped nearly 18 percent Thursday on the company's sober economic outlook and its reduced earnings expectations.

Starting in the last weeks of September, Symantec saw some "hesitation from some of our customers when it came to finalizing commitments," Beer said in an interview.

"We did see some pulling back," he added. "It was an effect that we saw in different parts of our customer base around the world."

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