RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Roughly three weeks after Cisco announced $1 billion in cost cuts, many employees are expressing growing angst and uncertainty about what’s coming next.

The tech giant has remained mostly quiet, declining to go into specifics of the restructuring plan, including voluntary early retirements (ER) or layoffs.

The company operates one of its largest corporate campuses in RTP with several thousand employees. It remains unclear how this workforce will be affected.

That, in turn, has spurred online forums to go into overdrive. Cisco workers are flocking to websites like to fill in the blanks. On message boards, many are predicting massive layoffs starting around October 7.

Under the subhead “One Week Death March,” an anonymous contributor wrote this week: “everyone (sic) manager I talk to is in this mode. They know that ER acceptance will be very low, leaving them with the painful task of layoffs. They are just waiting for the post-Labor Day official number.”

Another contributor wrote sarcastically “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be in your favor. Seems no one can articulate what exactly gets you on the Oct 7th list.”

Others expressed frustration that Cisco found the funds to acquire BabbleLabs, a deep learning startup, on Aug.26 — just two weeks after announcing its planned cutbacks.

“Really? When they are doing ERs and likely layoffs???? Sigh,” wrote one on Aug. 26.

“All the talented WebEx engineers left years ago. We need to acquire companies to implement new product features,” wrote another. “Cisco internally focuses on stock buybacks & dividends, while everything else is accomplished through acquisitions.”

Weeks after announcing $1B in cost cuts, Cisco finds funds to acquire BabbleLabs

However, others appeared to be more understanding.

As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, many saw Cisco’s actions as part of a larger global downturn. To be fair, it is not alone among tech firms making cuts. Last week, NetApp’s CEO George Kurian said it would  be laying off several hundred workers – some 5.5% of its global workforce – as part of a “strategic alignment.”

“Cisco (sic) like every other big tech company took federal money to keep employees until the end of September. October will have industry wide layoffs. It will be substantial and widespread,” said one contributor.

Under the “Everyone needs to look for a new position ASAP,” the person wrote: “Anyone that thinks they are safe is not thinking straight. Doesn’t matter what your age is, grade level, position, BU, race, gender … whatever … you are not safe. Get out before the market is inundated in a month.”

Added another: “Reality is that Cisco is no better or worse than all of the other large tech company’s out there, there are pockets of good sprinkled in with a whole lot of not so good.”

On Monday morning, Cisco was unavailable for comment.

Earlier this month on Aug. 12, CEO Chuck Robbins – now in that job for five years — confirmed in an earnings call that the company is planning cut $1 billion in expenses this quarter after forecasting a revenue drop.

A Cisco spokesperson confirmed the restructuring plan in an email to WRAL TechWire at the time.

“Over the coming weeks and months, Cisco will increase our investments in key business areas that will drive customer satisfaction and partner profitability going forward and reduce investments in others. We will be restructuring parts of our business as a result,” she said.

“Our employees are our priority and we are committed to providing our full support to those transitioning to new roles or teams within Cisco or leaving the company. Where possible, we will offer employees options that enable them to make decisions that best suit their career goals and personal circumstances.”

Layoffs coming: Cisco plans $1B in cost cuts after forecasting revenue drop