Okta Lays Off 5 Percent Of Staff
‘We entered fiscal 2023 with a growth plan based on the demand we experienced in the prior year. This led us to overhire for the macroeconomic reality we’re in today,’ Okta co-founder and CEO Todd McKinnon said in an email to employees Thursday.
Okta told employees Thursday that it has eliminated 300 jobs, representing 5 percent of its global workforce.
Co-founder and CEO Todd McKinnon disclosed the layoffs in an email to staff, which was posted on Okta‘s site.
The identity management and security company becomes the latest in a long series of tech companies to institute layoffs amid signs of a weakening economy. And like a number of other vendors, Okta disclosed that the cutbacks were a response in part to previous overhiring.
“We entered fiscal 2023 with a growth plan based on the demand we experienced in the prior year. This led us to overhire for the macroeconomic reality we’re in today,” McKinnon said in the email to staff.
“In addition, in the first half of FY23, we faced our own execution challenges,” he wrote. “I wish I had responded sooner, but we’re doing the best we can today to adjust to this reality.”
Employees are being provided with resources including a minimum of 13 weeks of pay, which combines a notice period and severance, according to the message.
“A workforce reduction like this is the last thing I wanted to do, and I am truly sorry,” McKinnon said.
Many cybersecurity vendors had become accustomed to rapid growth in recent years, partially in response to a string of high-profile cyberattacks including the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline and the software supply chain compromise of SolarWinds. As a result, many vendors had adopted a strategy of “burning money to capture growing market share” while the good times lasted, said Stel Valavanis, founder and CEO of Chicago-based onShore Security, in a previous interview.
Now, however, some security vendors are clearly recognizing they need to step back and “make sure they’re spending money on the things that are truly growing,” Valavanis said.
Recent layoffs in the cybersecurity industry have included Sophos, which reportedly laid off 450 staff members, and JumpCloud, which cut 100 positions.
In the message to employees, McKinnon said that Okta aims to “operate our business in a way that enables us to execute through any market condition” going forward.
“That means reducing spend, improving our profitability, and investing in the key areas of innovation and growth that will build on our market leadership over the long term. A workforce reduction is just one of several actions we’re taking to create a stronger path to profitable growth,” he said.
Ultimately, Okta has “a huge opportunity ahead of us,” McKinnon said.