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Facing tough competition from Huawei and Nokia, Ericsson announced that they will be laying off approximately 3,000 employees in Sweden.  On the other hand, they are announcing their intention to hire 1,000 engineers for R&D.

So they are positioning this as more a realignment of the workforce than a retrenchment.  Moving production jobs to less expensive areas of the world, while focusing on high value-added jobs in Sweden.

Ericsson today has approximately 16,000 employees in Sweden. The proposed reduction affects approximately 3,000 positions, of which approximately 1,000 positions in production, approximately 800 in R&D and approximately 1,200 in other operations.

The 1,000 R&D hires are to come primarily from universities over the next three years.

Jan Frykhammar, President and CEO, Ericsson says: “Ericsson is going through a large transformation. We continue to have a strong focus on R&D, and since many years, most Ericsson employees work in software development and services, rather than hardware production. The measures are necessary to secure Ericsson’s long term competitiveness as well as technology and services leadership.”

Ulf Ewaldsson, Chief Strategy and Chief Technology Officer, says: “We have a clear goal that our R&D in Sweden should be world leading, not least in next generation systems. In the short term we have to reduce the number of positions in R&D, primarily within administrative roles. At the same time our intention is to bring in new competence in new technologies. Therefore, we intend to recruit approximately 1,000 engineers in Sweden, primarily from universities, over the coming three years.”

Having gone through this myself, I can never find a positive spin to put on highly skilled telecommunication professionals losing their jobs.

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