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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Nov. 30, 2023

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Qualcomm lays off more workers in San Diego amid smartphone sales slump


Qualcomm shaved 79 jobs from its San Diego headquarters last month as the mobile chip firm seeks to control expenses amid a slowdown in smartphone sales.

The San Diego company filed Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) paperwork with the state of California and local employment officials giving advanced notice of the job cuts. The layoffs take effect in April.

The move comes on top of the 153 employees that Qualcomm let go in December. Even so, the company continues to be San Diego’s largest technology firm with more than 12,000 local employees.

The company declined to comment. But in its latest earnings conference call in February, Chief Executive Cristiano Amon said Qualcomm expected to reduce operating expenses by 5 percent amid the global economic slowdown and bloated inventories at smartphone markers.

“Given the current macroeconomic and demand environment, we’re implementing further spending reductions and streamlining operations without losing sight of the significant growth and diversification opportunities ahead,” said Amon. “This is consistent with our commitment to actively manage operating expenses as indicated during our last earnings call.”

This latest round of job cuts impacted positions across the board but most heavily concentrated in staff engineers, administration and legal, according to the WARN notice.

While not widespread, other big tech companies also have laid off workers in San Diego recently. Amazon trimmed 100 local jobs, and Google shed 72 positions in January.

TuSimple, a startup developing self-driving technology for semi-trucks, laid off 143 workers in December at its San Diego headquarters, and research and development facilities, according to a WARN Act filing.

In November, gene sequencing equipment giant Illumina said it was cutting its global workforce by 5 percent — including 207 jobs in San Diego — as sluggish demand from customers is expected to linger into 2023.

Qualcomm executives said smartphone softness is expected to linger at least through mid-year. Overall, the semiconductor sector has been hit hard by a pullback in consumer spending amid rising inflation and the shift from buying hardware to purchasing services after the pandemic.

As of Sept. 25, Qualcomm employed 51,000 full- and part-time workers in 150 locations worldwide. It added 6,000 employees during its most recent fiscal year, including through acquisitions.

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