When a company is not doing so well financially there are a number of tactics it can take to get itself back on the right track. Some of those things include filing for bankruptcy, getting rid of a few key underperforming products, or laying off a ton of its employees. Company layoffs are one of the hardest things a company can do. Having to tell hundreds, sometimes thousands of people that they no longer have a consistent paycheck can really take a tole on you.
Over the years there have been a handful of horror stories about large companies needing to layoff dozens of thousands of employees at once due to one reason or another. Some of these companies are well-known and respected companies that you would never believe would fall on hard times due to their ever-growing success. Here are the 10 biggest corporate layoffs in history.
IBM – 60,000 employees
In July 1993, IBM laid off 60,000 employees. In the early 90’s, IBM’s core mainframe business began to disseminate after the personal computer and client server began to emerge. In order to allow the company to focus on providing integrated solutions for its customers, CEO Louis Gerstner put aside $8.9 billion, which resulted in the cutting of 60,000 positions.
Citigroup – 50,000 employees
In November 2008, Citigroup laid off 50,000 employees. At the time, Citigroup was planning divestments, and this move alone led to over half of the employees being cut. Former CEO Vikram Pandit claimed, “there is nothing easy about these decisions and the impact on our people. We do this because we must and not because we want to.”
Sears Roebuck & Co – 50,000 empoyees
In January 1993, Sears Roebuck & Co. had to make 50,000 employee cuts. In order to compete with the lower cost models of Toys-R-Us and Walmart and reverse the decline of its retail business, Sears that it was eliminating its big-book catalogues. The discontinuation of the catalogues and closing of 113 stores resulted in 50,000 jobs lost.
General Motors – 47,000 employees
In February 2007, General Motors cut 47,000 workers. As the company prepared to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy and seeked federal aid, they closed five factories as a result of global recession and Japanese manufacturer competition. In addition, they announced plans to phase back its Hummer brand and scale back on Pontiac.
AT&T – 40,000 employees
In January 1996, AT&T cut 40,000 employees. Unlike most companies laying off, 13% of the company’s layoffs were a result of profitable and growing company divisions. These cuts came during a part of the plan to split the company into three separate companies that would focus on telecommunications equipment, communications services, and computers.
Ford Motor Co. – 35,000 employees
In January 2002, Ford Motor Co. laid off 35,000 employees. As Ford struggled to cut costs and increase profits, the company decided to phase out the Ford Escort, Mercury Villager minivan, Mercury Cougar compact car, and the Lincoln Continental. These phases resulted in 35,000 employees being cut.
Kmart Corp. – 35,000 employees
In January 2003, Kmart cut 35,000 employees. Amongst decreased sales and increased competition, in 2003, Kmart announced the closure of 326 stores. During this time, the company was undergoing Chapter 11 of bankruptcy and in 2002, had to cut 22,000 jobs after closing down 283 stores.
Circuit City – 34,000 employees
In 2009, Circuit City had to lay off all 34,000 employees as they ceased operations. Once the nations #2 electronics retailer, the credit crunch and poor holiday sales in 2008 forced the company to completely shut down, as the were no longer allowed to borrow. As it closed all 567 stores, the company was in bankruptcy and was forced to lay off all 34,000 workers.
Boeing – 31,000 employees
In September 2001, Boeing cut 31,000 jobs. After the overall slowdown of the economy and the 9/11 attacks, air travel was in danger and resulted in cuts. These events were hit Boeing’s commercial division and resulted in over 31,000 employees job cuts.
Bank of America – 30,000 employees
In September 2011, the Bank of America cut 30,000 employees as a plan to save $5 billion. The company set out a plan to save $5 billion after bad mortgages and saggy stock prices. But that’s not all, the company planned by the end of 2015 to have an additional 13,000 employees cut. This is all apart of the bank’s plan to split the company into two, one for single clients and the other for major businesses.