Qualtrics to reduce staff as Silicon Slopes layoffs continue

The tech company appears to be the first in Utah to let go of employees in 2023, after a series of Silicon Slopes layoffs at the end of 2022.

(Rachel Rydalch | The Salt Lake Tribune) Qualtrics headquarters and location in Provo on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. Utah-based Qualtrics plans to lay off 270 staffers, according to a Jan. 11 Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Utah-based Qualtrics has plans to lay off nearly 5% of its global workforce as it restructures and realigns to meet 2023 goals, according to a letter its CEO sent employees on Wednesday.

The company, which makes customer-experience software, will cut approximately 270 jobs, based both inside and out of the U.S., according to the letter, released through a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

“Being able to adapt to dynamic markets and changing customer needs will be more critical than ever in this coming year,” CEO Zig Serafin wrote. “How we focus through this is critical to achieving our goals.”

Laid-off U.S. workers will receive a minimum 10 weeks of pay, along with health insurance and other benefits. Eligible employees will receive a bonus payout and stock vests. Workers outside the U.S. will receive “a similar level of support aligned with their local employment laws,” Serafin wrote.

With this move, the company expects to pay $5.8 million — mostly in severance and other payouts as a result of the layoffs, according to the SEC filing.

It’s unclear how the layoffs could impact Utah, and more details about how Qualtrics’ goals are shifting in 2023 were not available. A company spokesperson declined to release more information beyond the SEC filing.

Serafin’s letter indicated the company would create new jobs, restructure others and eliminate “roles that do not map to priority areas.”

“I’m deeply grateful to each person who has contributed to building Qualtrics,” Serafin said in the letter. “While this is an incredibly difficult moment, these are steps we need to take to support how we build the company going forward and to deliver results against our goals.”

The layoff announcement comes after a series of other Utah-based tech companies laid off staff before the end of last year, as investments dried up alongside increasing interest rates and a shift in consumer’s reliance on tech after the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022, at least 15 Utah companies — 11 in the final three months of the year — laid off staff, according to the tech layoff tracker layoffs.fyi. Qualtrics is the first Utah-based company to join the list this year.

Gov. Spencer Cox predicted during a Dec. 15 news conference that more Utah companies would reduce staff into the new year.

“There was so much money that was being thrown around, and these valuations in tech were astronomically high for companies whose products were not making money yet, right?,” he said, “... That was always going to be a problem as soon as capital got more expensive, which is what happened when interest rates went up.”

[Read more: ‘2023 is going to be rough’: What layoffs mean for Utah’s tech industry]

Clint Betts, the CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit Silicon Slopes, predicted in December that “2023 is going to be rough” for Utah’s tech companies as they adjust to slower growth, but hoped local job fairs and networking events that connected laid-off workers with employers in other sectors could help.

Tech companies aren’t the only ones struggling. Goldman Sachs, one of the largest investment banks in the world, also began layoffs this week, and posts on LinkedIn seemed to indicate that some positions in Utah were among those eliminated.

It marks one of the bank’s largest layoffs since the 2008 financial crisis, The New York Times reported.