Six months after the ax fell on hundreds of workers at Target Corp. headquarters, the company’s technology operations finally felt the effect of its downsizing, with 235 people in the Twin Cities told they were out of a job Tuesday.
The retailer’s information technology units were spared in earlier rounds of layoffs as the senior executives in charge of them were in flux.
In addition to the new job cuts, Target said Tuesday it will close about 35 open positions at its corporate offices in Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park. Target laid off 40 people at its IT center in India, where it employs about 2,600 people.
At first glance, the new round of cuts appeared at odds with the emphasis that Target has placed on catching up to the digital skills of other companies, particularly Amazon.com Inc. Indeed, the company’s website on Tuesday listed 102 job openings in information technology, with most of them being for engineers. Those jobs were posted earlier this summer.
But Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said those openings are different from the jobs that were eliminated, which were mostly in areas such as business analysis and project management.
Adam Hoffarber, managing director for Twin Cities recruiting firm SkyWater Search Partners, said the laid-off workers appear to have been more involved in operations and infrastructure, mid-level management jobs that can be more easily shifted to other groups within the company.
“The actual engineers doing the coding — they really need those kind of people,” he said.
As with the previous waves of Target layoffs, Hoffarber expects those who lost their jobs on Tuesday to be able to land new ones fairly quickly. Another factor in their favor is that IT is one of the hottest job sectors in the region right now.
“There are way more openings than there are people to fill them,” he said.
For weeks, Target executives signaled to IT workers that layoffs were coming. The department had been fairly untouched by previous rounds of cuts to allow time for Mike McNamara, the chief information officer who started in June, to have time to assess the department.
Chief Executive Brian Cornell said in an interview with the Star Tribune last month that the number would not be “huge” compared with the layoffs earlier this year. He also said the worst of the layoffs are behind the company, but did not say when they would be over.
One area still on the chopping block is some of Target’s corporate workforce involved in its pharmacy business. The company has acknowledged that some layoffs will likely result once a pending deal to sell its pharmacies to CVS Health is completed.
The layoffs — amounting to 2,735 jobs this year, or about one-fifth of its corporate staff — have been a painful part of Cornell’s plan to find cost savings and reduce layers of bureaucracy that slowed decisions and innovation.
With this latest round of job cuts, Target now has a little under 11,000 people in its corporate offices in the Twin Cities.
As it trims staff, the company also decided to consolidate its physical space. Last month, Target told employees of its west campus along the western edge of Minneapolis near Interstate 394 that it will sell that building and relocate them to its newer Brooklyn Park campus next year.