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Intel confirms IT layoffs after blogger describes process for cutting jobs

Chip maker plans to reduce tech staff by up to 10% to help boost efficiency

September 22, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Intel Corp. is cutting its IT staff by as much as 10% as part of an ongoing effort to make its operations more efficient, a company spokesman said on Friday.

"We're in a very competitive environment and need to stay agile and stay efficient," Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said. The chip maker isn't disclosing how many IT employees will be let go as part of the layoffs, but Mulloy said jobs will be cut worldwide.

Mulloy confirmed the workforce reduction plan after being asked about an anonymous blog posting that described in detail -- at times poignantly -- the process involved in cutting IT workers based on an assessment of their skills.

The results of that process "are ugly," wrote the blog's author, who uses the name Intel IT Guy and calls his blog the "Intel Perspective Blog." He noted that the layoffs are officially being called a "redeployment" inside the company.

"This is primarily [a] 'skills-based' redeployment, which means we are going through a skills assessment process for each employee, scoring them, comparing scores and then determining which skills we can most afford to lose from our individual groups," the blogger wrote. "It's unpleasant, painful work, and just not going well -- at least not for my team."

The blogger added that he thinks the skills assessment is "meant to ensure that we're legally defensible and identifying people objectively. And to the best of our ability, I think it has been objective. But the results are ugly. No matter how we slice it, we will have to redeploy good people to hit our numbers. We're past the point of trimming the fat -- we're now into the muscle of the organization."

He added that based on the scores being given to individual workers, "it looks like a lot of technical women on my team would be impacted." That could affect workforce diversity, the blogger wrote -- but the alternative would be to lay off certain employees even though they scored higher on the skills assessment.

"The bottom line when I look at the skills assessment scores for my team is that there are no good answers," he wrote. He suggested a need for other approaches, such as the so-called voluntary separation packages that Intel sometimes has offered to employees. Otherwise, the blogger wrote, there are "motivated people who really want to stay, who work hard, but will nonetheless get redeployed."

Mulloy declined to discuss the specifics of the blogger's comments. But he said that redeployment at Intel is a specific process in which workers can choose to remain employed for up to two months while they look for other jobs inside the company. If they can't find new positions, they're given severance packages based on their years of service, he said.

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