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Hootsuite laying off hundreds of workers in latest blow to B.C. tech sector

Expert says more job cuts coming to B.C. tech sector through to end of the year
Hootsuite headquarters in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood | Chung Chow, BIV

Hootsuite Inc. is cutting 30 per cent of its global workforce amid a global slowdown in the sector affecting giants and startups.

The Vancouver-based social media management company revealed the news to its employees Tuesday.

“Today is a hard day for Hootsuite,” CEO Tom Keiser said in a statement to BIV.

“These people are our colleagues and our friends. They are some of the best in their fields and we will do whatever we can to help them land well elsewhere. We want to be very clear this decision is not a reflection on them or their work. It is indicative of a change to our business that realigns our strategies with the positions we need to be successful.”

Hootsuite declined an interview request from BIV and said it would not be providing any further statements at this time.

The company employs about 500 workers in B.C. and more than 1,200 across the globe, meaning more than 350 workers will be out of work. It’s not clear how many workers in Vancouver are directly affected by the layoffs.

Keiser said Hootsuite now needs to “refocus our strategies to drive efficiency, growth and financial sustainability.”

The layoffs come the week after Vancouver-based tech company Unbounce Marketing Solutions Inc laid off nearly 50 workers — 20 per cent of its workforce; and e-commerce company Article (TradeMango Solutions Inc.), best known for selling furniture, laid off more than 200 workers — 17 per cent of its staff.

“More and more companies will cut staff in the months ahead,” said Ilya Brotzky, CEO of the VanHack Technologies Inc. recruitment firm.

“I anticipate the correction to last until the new year.”

He said the rate at which recently laid-off workers get hired at another company will depend on their role.

“Many companies are still hiring tech talent, for example,” Brotzky told BIV. “But other roles like talent acquisition or customer service might be a bit slower to find new opportunities.”

Hootsuite’s layoffs come almost exactly two years after California-based Keiser took over the top job from co-founder Ryan Holmes, who took on the role of executive chairman.

Holmes eventually stepped down from the executive chairmanship last fall.

Hootsuite added to its C-suite last year by hiring Boston-based Tiziana Figliolia as its CFO following a 19-month vacancy in the post.

The company also hired American Maggie Lower last summer to serve as chief marketing officer. She is based in Chicago.

With chief technology officer Ryan Donovan in Seattle, chief revenue officer Melissa Murray Bailey in New York, chief legal officer Craig Segal in Toronto and chief product officer Natalia Williams in Atlanta, the highest-ranking member of Hootsuite’s C-suite who is based where the company is headquartered is chief people officer Tara Ataya.

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