US-based telecommunications firm Verizon announced on Monday that more than 10,000 employees would be accepting a buyout offer and leave the company over the next six months. The planned buyouts are part of the company’s reorganization plan to streamline its workforce and capitalize on the new 5G network once it goes live. The affected employees are all choosing to exit voluntarily, according to a report from Reuters.
“This program coincides with Verizon’s recently announced realigned organization structure designed to optimize growth opportunities in the 5G era,” the company said in a press release.
Those taking the buyout are eligible for up to 60 weeks of their current salary, as well as additional benefits, according to the press release. The individual packages will depend on the how long the employee has been with the company. As of this writing, the firm employs more than 150,000 people, and the number of employees leaving makes up about seven percent of the current workforce. Some of the affected employees will depart as early as December of 2018, with the rest leaving no later than June of 2019, reports United Press International.
“These changes are well-planned and anticipated, and they will be seamless to our customers,” wrote Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s CEO. “This is a moment in time, given our financial and operational strength, to begin to better serve customers with more agility, speed and flexibility.”
Despite the news, Verizon’s stock stayed relatively stable and posted about a one percent gain on Monday. Other similar firms like AT&T and Sprint, however, closed in the red. At Monday’s close, Verizon was trading at $58.27 per share.
With the impending deployment of 5G, the job cuts may be a way for the company to make room for new employees who will focus on supporting the new network. Other companies have made similar moves in the past — for example, when NASA ended the Space Shuttle program, Lockheed Martin laid off several workers from the Michoud Assembly Facility who worked on the external tank, but the company also simultaneously hired employees to work on the company’s satellite manufacturing programs. Although Verizon is just the latest corporation to announce workforce reductions, others like GM have made similar moves as the result of shifting market trends.
While shifting market trends may account for part of the voluntary separations, cost savings is indeed another. Verizon is in the middle of a cost reduction plan that is expected to save the company about $10 billion over four years, reports CBS.