A whopping 71,000 job cuts have been announced worldwide by more than a dozen multinationals, including HP and Nokia, so far this year as they attempt to save costs amid uncertain economic environment.

The cuts have been announced by companies from various sectors, during the first six months of 2012, and those from the technology services space are the worst hit.

Companies to have confirmed massive job cuts, running into thousands of employees each, include tech giant Hewlett-Packard (HP), mobile handset maker Nokia, consumer electronic giant Sony Corp, internet company Yahoo, food and beverage maker PepsiCo, financial services entity Royal Bank of Scotland and airline firm Lufthansa.

Camera maker Olympus, Swedish ball bearing giant SKF AB, drug manufacturer Novartis AG, the Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever, computer mouse maker Logitech International, LM Wind Power and mobile network operator Verizon Wireless have also announced substantial job cuts.

Together, these companies have announced job cuts totalling 71,000 in their operations across the world.

Incidentally, more than half of the job cuts have been announced in May alone.

Individually, the Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever last week said it plans to cut 500 jobs in Britain as part of a restructuring programme. In addition, it would also see some posts outsourced to India.

In the same week, Nokia said it plans to reduce its workforce by about 10,000 people worldwide by the end of 2013 as the struggling company fights strong competition. The measure is aimed at additional cost savings of €1.6 billion (about $2 billion) by the end of next year.

SKF also said it would slash around 400 jobs in Germany as part of cost cutting measures due to weakening business sentiment in India, China and European countries.

Announcing the job cuts earlier this month, Logitech International said it would eliminate approximately 450 positions, or 13 per cent of its worldwide workforce in a bid to save $80 million in annual operating costs.

Olympus Corp, which employs over 40,000 employees globally, this month, said it would axe 2,700 jobs worldwide, or seven per cent of its workforce, in the next two years. The move is part of the company’s effort to boost its profitability.

In May, HP said it would layoff about 27,000 employees globally over the next two years as part of restructuring move to stem up declining profits and revenues.

The tech firm said workforce reduction would generate an annual savings in the range of $3-3.5 billion by the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

German carrier Lufthansa, which reported a loss of €379 million ($479 million) in the first three months of 2012, had last month said it would cut 3,500 administrative jobs worldwide in the coming years as part of cost cutting measures.

In the same month, wind turbine blades manufacturer LM Wind Power announced plans to trim its workforce by 180 employees in the US.

There were also reports last month that mobile network operator Verizon Wireless plans to cut its workforce by around 180 people in the US.

The embattled smart phone manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) also said in May that it would layoff a large number of employees this year, without specifying any number.

Electronics behemoth Sony, which has been battling years of profit losses, in April, had said it will slash 10,000 jobs.

Besides, the company said it would slim down its TV line in an effort to right its ailing business.

Troubled internet company Yahoo, which has nearly 14,000 employee, in April announced it would lay off 2,000 employees as part of a savings plan. The move would save $375 million in a year for the company.

The company has been struggling to increase its share in the internet market amid tough competition from Google and Facebook.

In February, PepsiCo said would cut 8,700 jobs globally as part of a programme to save up to $1.5 billion by 2014 to offset high commodity costs and increased spending on advertising and marketing.

Early this year, Novartis announced plans to cut 1,960 jobs in the US in a bid to reduce the expenses.

(This article was published on June 17, 2012)
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