HP is to axe up to 30,000 jobs or eight percent of its entire workforce, according to reports, in another round of bad employment news for the tech industry.

The move is being viewed as one of the world’s largest redundancy programmes in recent years.

Huge job cuts

HP is reportedly going to confirm the news of the job cuts when it updates shareholders next Wednesday. The Silicon Valley giant is known to employ 324,600 people worldwide, but it is not yet clear where the bulk of the job losses will occur. HP told TechWeekEurope it is “not commenting on this speculation.”

The news of the cuts comes as HP is being viewed by some industry observers as being too slow to adapt to the growing popularity of the tablet form factor and the growing influence of the cloud. HP also plans to merge its PC and printer groups.

HP CEO Meg Whitman has been faced with a number of difficult decisions of late, after she inherited a company that was rocking following the departure of former CEO Leo Apotheker.

Apotheker had been brought into HP in order to steady the ship after HP’s previous CEO, Mark Hurd, was forced to resign in the face of sexual harassment issues in August 2010.

However, Apotheker’s brief tenure at HP witnessed a number of controversial decisions including the possible spin off of HP’s PC business in favour of a focus on software, the acquisition of Autonomy and its ill-fated WebOS and TouchPad tablet foray.

Other job losses

This will not be the first time HP has taken the axe to a significant chunk of its workforce, although nothing close to 30,000.

In June 2011, the company was threatened with strike action over its decision to outsource jobs to India. Prior to that in 2010 it also was threatened with strike action over the axing 1,000 workers at the HP Enterprise Services division. HP had also previously axed 3,400 staff when it acquired outsourcing specialist Electronic Data Systems (EDS) back in 2008.

But HP is not alone in cutting jobs at the moment. This week Dell confirmed it was planning redundancies within its UK workforce. IBM has also announced it would “rebalance” its workforce by axing up to 1,200 positions, again prompting union ire.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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