3Com cuts workforce by 10 percent

3Com Corp. Tuesday said it would cut 500 jobs from its workforce of 5,900 as part of its plan to reach profitability by the end of fiscal year 2002.

The company says the 10 percent staff cut is "across the board," touching all areas of 3Com's operations. The company said it doesn't expect the job cuts to affect customer services, such as support, or its ability to deliver products.

To improve efficiency, 3Com also announced it would transfer areas such as corporate marketing, human resources and some areas of finance to its three operating units - Business Networks, Business Connectivity and CommWorks - which handle enterprise network equipment, business and consumer access equipment, and carrier products, respectively.

With the job cut, 3Com begins the new year similar to last. The firm announced in January 2001 its overall plan to reduce its headcount, then followed up by cutting 10 percent, and then 30 percent of its part-time and full-time staff between March and May 2001. 3Com ended the calendar year where it wanted to be in terms of headcount, coming in slightly under its goal of 6,000 employees, according to the company.

3Com CEO Bruce Claflin, in a conference call with investors last month, indicated that job cuts would come in 2002.

"I would expect … we would end in the fourth quarter (of fiscal 2002) with lower employment than we have today," he said, when questioned about the company's staffing plans for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in May. To that, Claflin added that the company has also begun a limited hiring program for some technical areas and sales. "There will be both hiring and attrition" going forward, he said.

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