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After mass layoffs, Salesforce changes course with hiring blitz

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff answers questions from the press at Dreamforce Wednesday. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

On the final day of Dreamforce—Salesforce’s three-day conference-slash-corporate festival—CEO Marc Benioff had some good news for the company and the tech industry more broadly, which has been hard-struck this year by layoffs and a stark turndown in hiring.

Salesforce will add 3,300 people to its employee count, Benioff told Bloomberg Thursday afternoon. Recruiting will largely focus on its sales, engineering and data cloud teams.

Many of the employees, Benioff said, are “boomerangs”—past employees who left to work elsewhere and are returning to the company. Rehiring past employees will apparently be a new metric for success at the firm.

Already the largest private employer in San Francisco, the customer relationship management (CRM) software giant currently employed about 12,000 San Francisco-based workers at the start of 2023, according to the San Francisco Business Times. In early January, the company cut about 10% of its positions globally—about 7,000 of its worldwide positions.

This expansion, just months after the brutal layoff round, seems to signal a shift in industry tides. One tech worker on the anonymous job forum Blind, perhaps in jest, called it the start of a “gold rush.” That said, expectations may still be cooled down a bit: Google and Airtable laid off hundreds of workers apiece this week.

The planned growth in Salesforce’s data cloud division appears to be connected to the AI-ification of Salesforce at large; at the conference, the company launched a beefed-up data cloud product with more artificial intelligence and automation features.

A Salesforce spokesperson declined to comment on the Bloomberg report.