Vendor layoffs have sadly been a major theme of 2023.
But in a silver-lining scenario, partners have in some cases benefited by picking up jettisoned staff and filling the newly created skills gaps at their slimmed-down manufacturer allies.
Tech giants including Microsoft, Amazon and Google have cut 240,000 staff this year, TechCrunch estimates. Imminent layoffs at VMware – which reportedly could include more than a third of its 1,000 Irish staff – serve as a reminder that the cull is not yet over.
At the very least, the influx of staff onto the market this has created has eased the upward pressure on salaries in the channel and made it easier to hold onto talent (with Softcat CEO Graham Charlton recently flagging the giant reseller’s “really strong” retention rates in its fiscal 2023).
On the other hand, vendor staff are notoriously more handsomely remunerated than their counterparts in partner land. Are they really within reach? And can they really cut the mustard at a partner?
IT Channel Oxygen collared top executives at eight partners to ask them if and how they have benefited…
Sarah Shields, Alliances Director, Computacenter
We are Dell’s biggest partner in Europe, so that means we’ve had a great opportunity to hire some of their talent. But there have been layoffs across the board. Good people have those relationships in place already, and it’s almost been a seamless transition for them.
Have partners benefited? It’s two-fold. Yes, you’ve got access to talent. The majority of resellers haven’t had the job cuts that the big vendors have, so that’s a really good opportunity for everyone.
But when you look at the staff that are being laid off, it’s also an opportunity for partners to step forward and fill the gaps that that talent has left. There’s a lot of pre-sales and some front-line sales [that have been impacted]. That’s a great way partners can really show their value and support the vendors – it’s their time to shine.
Simon Bennett, Managing Director Advanced Solutions (UKI), TD Synnex
I have a controversial view on it…
Have we taken advantage? No, because we’d end up hiring people who would actually remove opportunity from people in our company. I’m not saying we definitely wouldn’t hire based on some of these layoffs, but it’s a little bit against our culture of investing in people and giving people the right opportunities.
IBM used to have a scheme called Champions for Growth, and we did take people from that scheme. If it’s programmatic and it makes sense, then we would definitely consider that. But if it’s ‘Simon’s on the market and he needs a job’, that’s the bit we would shy away from.
I would like to see the vendors create those programmes, as there’s an element of responsibility there: these people were hired and suddenly they find themselves without a job. There will be a lot of talented people with a lot of experience, for sure, that the channel could do something there with.
See next page for opinions of Insight’s Adrian Gregory, CAE’s Justin Harling and Ancoris’ Andre Azevedo