It seems that rocky economic forecasts for the year ahead are prompting waves of widespread layoffs in many businesses of late. The likes of Twitter, Yahoo and even ecommerce giant Amazon have revealed vast cuts to staff within the past few months.
And whilst such cuts are sadly a largely necessary mainstay of corporate life, the ethics of those businesses having to make hard decisions have never been more scrutinized by customers and the general public.
One such firm receiving flack for its questionable decision-making is tech behemoth Salesforce, San Francisco’s single largest employer, which this week confirmed that it was slashing personnel by an eye-watering 8,000 headcount.
However it was not this move that brought widespread scrutiny to the company. Instead, it was the decision to pay Actor Matthew McConaughey the princely sum of $10million per year to serve as what Salesforce calls its ‘creative adviser and TV consultant’. This begs the question, were the jobs of 8,000 hard-working employees in the balance, despite such lavish pay-outs to celebrity endorses?
According to reports by the Wall Street Journal, McConaughey, who is allegedly a close friend of Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Beinhoff, has so-far earned an estimated $160million for his contributions to Salesforce.
“Crazy to think a year ago I was writing about Salesforce launching a wellness retreat for employees. Times sure have changed (& the retreat is no more) but they’re still paying Matthew McConaughey $10m a year as an advisor,” wrote Journalist Katie Bindly, when reporting on the case.
CEO Marc Beinhoff weighs in on ethics of cuts
Responding to the furore, Benioff has publicly denied that he had any role in acquiring McConaughey’s talents, noting that the move to slash ten per cent of the workforce was due to ‘restructuring efforts’.
“It’s an unfortunate part that you have to say goodbye to folks who, in many cases, are your friends and you have relationships with. But, ultimately, the success of the business has to be paramount,” Benioff noted in a recent interview.
Salesforce still ranked as a 'top ten employer' by Glassdoor
The news didn’t prevent Salesforce from being featured in Glassdoor’s list of top 50 best companies to work for in the UK earlier this year, where the company ranked at number nine, only being beaten by the likes of Bain & Company, ServiceNow, Boston Consultancy Group, Equinix, Ocado Technology, Mastercard and Google.