Salesforce to hire 3,300 staffers as it eyes generative AI opportunity

After laying off 8,000 staffers in January, Salesforce is now planning to hire at least 3,300 employees. The plan includes rehiring some of the former employees.  

Salesforce is looking at a large recruitment drive as it plans to invest in new areas such as generative AI and push some of its popular products, such as the Data Cloud, CEO Marc Benioff, and chief operating officer Brian Millham told Bloomberg in an interview.

The company already has made several product enhancements, especially integrating new generative AI features into its Data Cloud.

This week at its annual Dreamforce conference, the company said it has rebuilt its Data Cloud to support generative AI and will begin rolling out the omnipresent chatbot to some customers by year-end.  

In August, Salesforce released a new no-code, interface-based AI and generative AI model training tool, dubbed Einstein Studio, as part of its Data Cloud offering.

Earlier in June, Salesforce showcased a new offering, dubbed AI Cloud, which combines its previously announced Slack GPT, Tableau GPT, Apex GPT, MuleSoft GPT, Flow GPT, Service GPT, Marketing GPT, and Commerce GPT along with the new Einstein Trust layer and a prompt engineering tool for training large language models (LLMs).

The new hires, according to Millham, will be divided between sales, engineering, and the team handling the development of its Data Cloud.

The top executives said that some of the new positions are more likely to be filled by what the company terms as “boomerang” hires. These are essentially employees who worked at Salesforce earlier before moving to other companies. 

Salesforce sees boomerang hires as a new success metric, the top executives said, adding that there still might be strategic layoffs in the future.

Strategic layoffs, such as trading non-technical staff for more engineering and technical talent, could become common for most large technology companies. This week, Google-parent Alphabet laid off hundreds of HR employees citing less demand for such staff within the company for the next few quarters.

The plan to hire 3,300 new employees by Salesforce is expected to restore nearly 40% of the staff laid off during the 10% workforce reduction in January.

Salesforce, which had nearly 80,000 global employees as of February 2022, currently employs about 70,000 staffers after eliminating at least 8,000 roles in January citing reduced customer spending due to macroeconomic uncertainty.

Just two months before the downsizing, the company decided to reduce at least 950 roles despite it experiencing a relatively successful year financially, with the company’s second-quarter revenue rising 22% year on year, driven by the rapid adoption of its cloud-based CRM and other sales management tools.

Hiring, Technology Industry