Around seven years ago Intel began a painful process of mass layoffs. During the process, which started in 2015 and ran until 2016, 13,000 employees were dismissed. Brian Krzanich was CEO at the time, and as well as being instrumental to this layoff strategy, he rubber-stamped a controversial no re-hire policy. That policy has quietly been rescinded, reports The Oregonian.
The source indicates that Intel is in a personnel pickle and that the no re-hire policy has been unhelpful. The chipmaker currently needs thousands of staff across the US, with ambitious expansion plans still in motion – which will boost the demand for qualified and experienced staff even further.
Intel can't be sure that its rescinding of the no re-hire policy will be a great success, but in what is characterized as a national labor shortage, any potential help will be gratefully received. The no re-hire policy wasn't just frowned upon by those dismissed under Krzanich. Those who stayed behind will have been irked that when vacancies did arise, they couldn't be filled by trusted, experienced, old friends and former colleagues.
Now we are in mid-2022, with CEO Gelsinger now firmly in place, a leader with an established history of hiring his old workmates to some very senior positions. So it isn't surprising that the 2015/2016 no re-hire rule has been tossed aside.
In case you are wondering why the rule was drawn up in the first place, Krzanich is quoted as explaining "We're trying to build a different company. You don't orchestrate change by doing things the same way." On the surface that might sound logical, but people are very adaptable, and in 2022 Intel is finding it hard to hire qualified and experienced staff. Moreover, while Krzanich seemed to be somewhat PC-negative in his outlook, Gelsinger could be characterized as a PC, engineering and chipmaking evangelist.
In a statement received by The Oregonian, an Intel spokesperson is quoted as saying that "A number of years have passed since the 2015/2016 restructuring and those impacted may have new and additional skills that are valuable to Intel’s current business strategies." The spokesperson went on to make clear that most of the folk affected by the mass layoffs instigated seven years ago will be eligible to apply for current vacancies.
Of course, Intel can't progress and fill all the roles it needs to using old hands alone. Thus it has also announced new training programs. With these programs, it hopes to create a training and career path for high school and community college students who are interested in working in the chip industry.
This all comes as interesting news as chip rival Nvidia is said to be slowing its hiring activity due to rising inflation and the specter of a recession on the horizon. Whatever happens, it looks like Intel and Nvidia have different expectations for the coming months and years, or at the very least one is planning for the long term rather than the short term. It will be interesting to see where both companies are in a few years, and which strategy proves to be the smarter move for the chip-making giants.