'It's not a surprise': Vancouver-based Hootsuite lays off dozens of employees
CTV News has learned Hootsuite, the Vancouver-based social media management company, has laid off more than 100 employees or roughly 10 per cent of its workforce.
In a statement, the company would not specify exactly how many people were let go but did say "Today Hootsuite communicated organizational changes in order to drive greater alignment with our growing company's strategic priorities that best serve our customers."
“It’s not a surprise – there have been rumours for a number of years that Hootsuite’s marketing and sales staff would be cut because they weren’t meeting goals and targets,” said UBC Sauder School of Business professor Bernie Maroney.
The tech industry analyst pointed out that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are facing decreasing ad revenues now that companies are zeroing in on which platforms give them the most return; baby boomers are spending the most time on Facebook, for example, and advertising geared toward that platform is being taken away from less-impactful outlets. Maroney says companies don’t feel they’re getting value out of Hootsuite and have pulled away from their servce.
“Hootsuite is now going to mature into the size and level of company that it should be,” he said. “They had grown really quickly, probably had too many people on staff. They’ve’ had a few series of layoffs now over the past few years and they’re probably going to operate more efficiently.”
Long-rumoured to be for sale or preparing for an initial public offer, Hootsuite wouldn't go into detail and refused an on-camera interview request.
It’s not clear which departments or offices were impacted by the layoffs.
"We remain committed to helping employees affected by today's announcement through these times of transition," said the company. "Our goal is to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect."
Hootsuite has been a darling of Vancouver's tech scene for years, with a swank headquarters known as "HQ2" that opened in 2014 in the heart of the city's startup nexus in Mount Pleasant.
The company manages multiple social media platforms and became one of the first services to allow pre-scheduled social media posts.
Hootsuite claims to be the "the most widely used social media management platform, trusted by more than 16 million people."
Launched in 2008 with 21 staff, the the tech startup has been called one of Canada's few tech "unicorns," companies valued at $1 billion or more. On its website the company boasts it has grown to more than a thousand employees across the globe in 12 cities including Bucharest, Hamburg, London, Mexico City, Milan, New York, Paris, Rome, Singapore, Sydney, and Toronto.
Maroney says while the company remains strong and viable, the laid-off staffers shouldn’t have a problem finding work in Vancouver’s thriving tech scene.
“Hootsuite has actually done a really good service to the entrepreneurial industry here, showing how it can be done,” he said.
“All of these [laid off] people will go on to work for other small startups or will start their own companies and that will actually help the local tech scene as well.”