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Economy

Viasat cuts hundreds of jobs — including many at Carlsbad headquarters

Technology company Viasat is making global job cuts — and that is having an impact on a large number of employees here in San Diego County. KPBS North County reporter Jacob Aere looks into what the latest tech sector layoffs mean for the region.

Viasat is cutting its global workforce by 10% following its $6.1 billion acquisition of Inmarsat.

That affects 800 employees worldwide, including approximately 160 jobs at the company’s Carlsbad headquarters.

“This is certainly a year where we've seen quite a few layoffs,” San Diego Tech Hub’s Lori Wallace said.

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People walk into the Viasat building in Carlsbad, Nov. 3, 2023.
Carolyne Corelis
/
KPBS
People walk into the Viasat building in Carlsbad on Nov. 3, 2023.

Wallace noted that another local tech company, Qualcomm, recently laid off more than 1,000 people in San Diego. She described those moves as "responsible decisions," and said the companies are "looking to the future, to what is going to be viable for the organization, what seems most efficient.”

But she and other leaders in the local tech industry agree there is still plenty of good news.

“There’s a pretty vibrant tech community, not only in San Diego, but in Carlsbad,” Tech San Diego Executive Director Kevin Carroll said.

The company will shed 415 workers by mid-July.

He’s not too concerned about the overall well-being of the tech industry in the county.

“The thing I think most people forget is that companies have been adding at a ferocious clip the past two to three years,” Carroll said.

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The outside of the Viasat building in Carlsbad is pictured, Nov. 3, 2023.
Carolyne Corelis
/
KPBS
The outside of the Viasat building in Carlsbad is pictured, Nov. 3, 2023.

Plus, Carroll said, the region has a diversified tech economy and lots of young talent.

“It may look like something it's not, which is a full retreat or some time of recession with tech jobs,” he said about the layoffs at multiple companies. “That is certainly not the case.”

In a statement about the job cuts, Viasat said any reduction in staffing was taken extremely seriously by the company's leadership.

“The decision was made as part of Viasat’s ongoing strategy to streamline operations and better serve its growing customer base,” the statement said.

Thursday’s announcement comes almost exactly a year after President Joe Biden visited Viasat’s Carlsbad headquarters, promoting his CHIPS and Science Act to boost semiconductor manufacturing.

People walk outside of the Viasat building in Carlsbad, Nov. 3, 2023.
Carolyne Corelis
/
KPBS
People walk outside of the Viasat building in Carlsbad, Nov. 3, 2023.

For people who lost their jobs, Carroll said there were a lot of small-to-midsize tech companies in the region that are hiring.

“It was 160 jobs, which sounds like a lot,” he said. “For those people who were laid off, my empathy goes out to them, but those jobs will be absorbed into the community pretty readily.”

The global layoff will cost Viasat roughly $45 million but is expected to save the company about $100 million annually, starting in fiscal year 2025.

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