HP's big layoffs will only go so far

Summary:HP is reportedly pondering a big restructure that may eliminate around 25,000 jobs, but analysts say that cuts will only go so far.

HP is reportedly pondering a big restructure that may eliminate around 25,000 jobs, but analysts say that cuts will only go so far.

According to Bloomberg, HP is looking to cut 8 per cent of its workforce. Business Insider noted on Wednesday that HP's services unit may be a target.

In any case, HP is likely to restructure and cut jobs. Bloomberg noted that HP could either lay off workers or offer early retirement deals.

The problem?

HP's operating profit per employee trails rivals, according to a Morgan Stanley analysis.

For instance, IBM's operating profit per employee is US$49,000. Apple's is the same. EMC makes US$67,000 in operating profit per employee.

HP's tally: US$35,000.

The only way for HP to change that metric — assuming that the company can't suddenly boost growth — is to lay off workers.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty recently outlined the operating profit per employee picture for hardware vendors.

HP's move to consolidate business units was a step to improving the profit picture, but it only goes so far.

However, HP has a line to walk. The company can't merely cut workers. It has to take those savings and invest in more lucrative markets. Huberty said in a recent research note:

While we see opportunity for improvement, the road to restructuring HP will likely be a long one. The good news is that CEO Meg Whitman seems determined to improve profitability and management has already taken several steps (eg, merging the printing and PC businesses). We see the potential for HP to improve profit/employee to levels more in line with peers through restructuring but these savings need to be followed by investments in software and services top-line growth and mix improvements. Any pay-off from the latter will likely come in FY13 or FY14.

Via ZDNet US

Topics: Tech & Work, Hewlett-Packard


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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