A real shot in the Arm: 3% of global workforce surplus to requirements

It's not you, it's just that our talents just no longer align

Chip designer Arm has celebrated its upcoming TechCon 2018 San Jose shindig by showing 180 unlucky employees the door.

After the layoffs were reported by its local paper, the Cambridge News, in England, the Softbank subsidiary confirmed to The Register that, yes, just over three per cent of the global workforce are surplus to requirements, and will be seeking new opportunities from this month.

The slinger of silicon blueprints went on to tell El Reg that it had added 2,000 employees over the last couple of years, and also a couple of additional companies in the last three months alone in the form of Glasgow-based IoT darling Stream Technologies and data management outfit Treasure Data. So it was probably about time for the axe to fall.

Or as the Cortex designers put it: "We have reached a natural point of ensuring our investments and talent align with our growth strategies and vision across the entire company worldwide."

Arm, whose designs can be found in the vast majority of the world's mobile and embedded devices, was snapped up by Japan-based Softbank for an eye-watering £24.3bn back in July 2016. At that point the mostly Cambridge-based workforce numbered around 3,000. By the end of June 2018, Arm reported a global headcount of 5,707, of which UK staff accounted for 2,418.

The last few quarters have been problematic for Arm as revenues slumped. Licensing of its technology dropped a hulking 43 per cent, down to $85m from $149m for the same period in 2017. However, royalties from its technology remained constant, registering a slight increase of 4 per cent to $261m.

As well as wheeling out the usual suspect of currency fluctuations as the culprit, Arm has pointed to contract delays arising from establishing Arm China. Of which Softbank offloaded just over half in June this year to a crowd of Chinese investors for the relatively bargain price of $775.2m.

Arm remained tight-lipped as to which of its tentacles would be receiving a visit from HR, telling The Reg: "Information regarding regions and positions impacted is confidential." ®

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