Oracle's layoffs are everyone else's gain
The database giant is shedding nearly 2,000 jobs — but so what? Google, Yahoo, and other Silicon Valley outfits could hire that many people in a day.
SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0) - Oracle today announced it would cut 2,000 jobs as it completes the acquisition of Siebel, an applications-software company. The layoffs, deeper than expected, will come from the ranks of both current Oracle employees as well as the Siebel employees joining the company.
The cuts are undoubtedly wrenching for those involved. But on the bright side, in Silicon Valley there hasn't been a better time in years to take the severance package and run—straight to another employer.
Jobs a plenty
Unlike the downturn that followed the bubble's bursting, when Oracle and other tech bellwethers all cut jobs at the same time, Oracle (Research) is laying off employees into a newly vibrant Bay Area job market.
Indeed, Google (Research) alone has more than a thousand openings, says spokesman David Krane. Yahoo (Research) has 547 listings on its jobs site. And Salesforce.com (Research), the Web-software company founded by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, has 167 openings -- for which it is specifically recruiting those pink-slipped by Oracle. Last fall, Salesforce.com set up a special e-mail address, "email@example.com" for former Siebel employees looking for work at the company. And recently, it actually sent trucks equipped with billboards advertising jobs to circle Siebel's parking lot.
Ingres, a spinout from CA (Research) that makes database software, is looking to double its current head count of 100 by the end of the summer. "We already have quite a bit of ex-Oracle talent," says Ingres spokesman Jim Finn.
And these companies are just the tip of the hiring iceberg. A recent survey by the Bay Area Business Council shows how isolated Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is among his peers with his plans for cuts. Last month, only 5 percent of CEOs surveyed by the council said they planned layoffs, while 42 percent said they planned to hire more people — the highest level in four years.
Oracle has gone on an acquisition binge in recent years, buying PeopleSoft, Retek, ProfitLogic, and Siebel, among others, in a bid to boost its line of business software to better compete with SAP (Research) and others, so the company's need to eliminate so many positions is hardly a surprise. .
After the PeopleSoft merger, Oracle cut 5,000 jobs early last year, a move for which Ellison apologized. "We never like to be in a position where we have more employees than we have jobs," he said.
But even those cuts didn't put a damper on the Valley's rebound: The Bay Area added 22,000 jobs in 2005, according to the Association of Bay Area Governments.
Business 2.0 first noted tech's big comeback last fall.