Qualtrics is cutting around 780 jobs across every team and office, the company has announced — though it’s not saying how many of those jobs are in Utah, where the software firm got its start.
According to an email sent to employees Wednesday by CEO Zig Serafin, the layoffs are part of a larger restructuring, and “several hundred” jobs will also be changed or relocated over the next year.
“These are big changes. There’s no way around it,” Serafin wrote. “They will directly impact many amazing and talented teammates and friends who we deeply care about, and these changes will impact all of us.”
The cuts account for roughly 15% of the 5,500-person workforce of the customer experience software company. Serafin said the company — whose main offices are in Provo and Seattle — grew too quickly, and such rapid hiring “created complexity that does not support continued growth at our scale.”
“Simply put, the organizational structures, work processes and the way we made decisions previously don’t work for the company we’ve become, or the company we aspire to be,” he wrote.
A Qualtrics spokesperson declined to say how many of the affected jobs are based in Utah. Affected employees who have taken to LinkedIn to announce their firings included communications professionals, midlevel managers, HR professionals and software engineers in various offices, including in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Seattle and Utah.
Before that sale, the company predicted that its “rapid growth” might “increase the risk that we will not continue to grow at or near historical rates,” according to SEC filings from February.
“If we fail to effectively manage our growth, our business and results of operations could be harmed,” one filing says.
Affected employees will be eligible for at least 10 weeks of severance “based on tenure and level,” according to the memo, as well as continued health insurance, performance bonuses, cash settled vesting and unpaid wellness and experience bonuses.
In 2019, Qualtrics entered into a 10-year contract with the state of Utah, worth up to $32.7 million in tax breaks. The full amount is based on Qualtrics adding a projected 2,245 new jobs over the duration of the contract, according to the state incentives database. So far, Qualtrics has qualified for between zero and 25% of its credit.
It’s the second such deal Qualtrics has had with the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (GOEO); its first ended in 2019 and was worth $10.7 million. Qualtrics claimed 75 to 100% of those credits over seven years.
Wednesday’s sizable layoff could impact Qualtrics’ eligibility in the next tax year. Jim Grover, director of grants and incentives for GOEO, told The Tribune in August that the tax credit is performance-based, meaning the state can verify from tax filings whether a company has actually grown, and by how much.
Companies that can’t prove a “net increase” in jobs don’t get a rebate for that year, Grover said, and a smaller net increase than projected will result in a smaller rebate.
Qualtrics’ founder and executive chairman, Ryan Smith, has become a high-profile figure in Utah’s sports scene since he became majority owner of the NBA’s Utah Jazz in 2020. Smith and fellow billionaire David Blitzer bought Real Salt Lake, Utah’s Major League Soccer franchise, in 2022. Smith is involved in Salt Lake City’s pursuit of a National Hockey League franchise, and is a member of of the coalition Big League Utah, which aims to bring Major League Baseball to the state.
Forbes, in its 2023 ranking of the world’s billionaires, reported Smith’s wealth at $1.6 billion.
Shannon Sollitt is a Report for America corps member covering business accountability and sustainability for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.