New Zealand operations slightly affected by global vendor layoffs

Unisys and Borland are cutting back globally while local operations hire staff

Following its loss of nearly US$28 million (NZ$44 million) for its first quarter, Unisys has announced 3,600 layoffs worldwide. Up to 150 Australian staff will be made redundant over the next three years. However, the situation in New Zealand is not so bad, says Brett Hogdson, managing director of Unisys New Zealand.

“Because Unisys New Zealand is a relatively small business, it has been fairly lean and focused over time, so the impact [of the announcement] for us here is minimal. Yes, there will be a few redundancies, but very minor in the context of the overall scheme.”

Hodgson will not disclose exactly how many staff will be laid off. Unisys New Zealand has around 550 staff in total.

“We have actually hired 30 new recruits in the last two months,” he says. “What this is about is making sure that what we are doing is aligned with what the market is requesting of us. In some cases we are shedding certain skills that we no longer require.”

The new recruits are business analysts, test analysts, .Net and J2EE developers. Staff will be reduced in areas where “Unisys can provide the same thing for possibly a lower cost, or take advantage of time zones”, Hodgson says.

“Instead of working 24 hours here we can work smart by doing 12 hours here and seven somewhere else,” he says.

The redundancy process in Asia-Pacific will be finished in September 2008, says Hodgson.

“But we are probably in a net gain position rather than net loss of headcounts,” he says.

Borland Software has also announced a restructuring plan and will lay off 300 employees, roughly 20% of its full-time workforce. The majority of the staff reductions will come from changes to the company’s international operations, say Borland officials. But the cut-back plans will not affect Borland New Zealand.

Chris Gray, sales director for Borland Australia and New Zealand, says: “We will obviously reorganise the business along the same lines as the global strategy, but that reorganisation is not expected to result in any job cuts.”

“In fact, we have expanded our business this year, taking on staff [in Australia] to support the growing enterprise side of our business. And it’s very likely that we will take on more staff around the recent acquisition of Segue Software [provider of software quality and testing solutions].”

Borland New Zealand has three staff, and Borland Australia has around 20.

“We probably will hire at least one more in New Zealand,” he says.

The global staff reductions will be in areas where Borland is moving to the model of selling through partners and channels — a model which is already deployed in Australia and New Zealand, says Gray.

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