CARY – SAS will be closing several international offices affecting some 250 employees and is hiring to fill positions “critical to our business” given the “possibility of a recession ahead of us,” according to an executive for the privately held software company. The moves are made as part of a plan to offer a limited number of shares in a public offering next year, according to a statement provided to WRAL TechWire.
The update on happenings at the company came in response to an inquiry about layoffs and office closings after WRAL TechWire received tips that cost-cutting measures were underway.
“The information you received is not entirely accurate,” said Shannon Heath, director of corporate communications. “The office closures you refer to have not yet happened. ”
SAS has offices in more than 130 countries, according to its website. It has a presence in nine U.S. cities outside of Cary. Founded and majority owned by billionaire Jim Goodnight, SAS has some 12,000 employees. Nearly 4,000 of those are located in Cary.
“The select regional offices will not close immediately,” Heath added. “We expect these transitions to take at least 12-18 months. Until the transitions begin, business will remain under normal operations. ”
Impacted workers will have opportunities at other positions and any of those “unable to transition” will receive “advance notice periods and outplacement services as they transition to other opportunities,” Heath said.
Where they work
The company’s workforce by geography, according to SAS:
- United States: 5,770
- World Headquarters (Cary, NC): 3,961
- Canada: 261
- Latin America: 502
- Northern Europe: 1,043
- South, West and East Europe: 1,867
- EMEA Emerging & Asia Pacific: 2,727
“Fewer than 250 employees are assigned in these affected offices. Some employees will be able to transition to our partner organizations. Others will transition to a local employer of record, allowing them to continue to support SAS and support our local partner network, and in most cases with the same team and management structure they’re used to, ” Heath said.
The closings are part of a move in some case to utilize what she called “global partners.”
“We continually assess our global operating model and location strategy to ensure our investments are well positioned,” she said. “This means better support and more innovative solutions no matter where our customers are located.
“We have identified certain small regional offices that can be more successful under an alternative operating model because of local customer needs and SAS support available from regional and global resources. One strategy to accomplish this goal is investing in global partners that share our focus, are aligned with our vision, and are committed to putting SAS customers at the center of everything they do. ”
Asked about layoffs, Heath said SAS continues to hire but noted “a small number of positions may no longer be relevant to the business.”
“We are not in a hiring freeze. We continue to hire for positions that are critical to our business,” Heath said. “In the current economic climate, with the possibility of a recession ahead of us, SAS is taking a very responsible approach to hiring. We’re experiencing some attrition by reducing external hiring to replace normal turnover, which is creating opportunities for growth and mobility for our employees. A small number of positions may no longer be relevant to the business. ”
IPO focus, remains profitable
Why the changes?
SAS is making these adjustments ahead of the possible stock listing, Heath said.
“We are still focused on becoming IPO-ready,” she explained. “This means we would be financially and operationally ready to enter the public markets. Once we achieve this, we will continue to evaluate market conditions (including macro trends and the stability of the stock market) to ensure any decision is in the best interests of our company. ”
SAS generates some $3 billion a year in revenues and has been profitable from the time of its launch in 1976 through 2021, according to its annual report.
While the 2022 annual report has yet to be published, Heath said it would again show a profit.
“SAS continues to record more than $3 billion in annual sales and SAS was again profitable in 2022 – a 46-year uninterrupted streak,” she said.
Tech marketplace challenges
Tech firms in the Triangle are not immune to economic pressures, including Red Hat announcing some 800 layoffs – 4% of its workforce – last week. As the economy is hit by rising interest rates, inflation and other issues such as declining demand, tech companies across the U.S. have laid off more than 135,000 workers, according to tech news site Crunchbase. IBM, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are among the big job cutters. Worldwide, 629 tech firms have cut 185,136 jobs, says layoff-tracking site Layoffs.fyi.