The Layoff: How SAP Is Destroying Itself
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The Layoff: How SAP Is Destroying Itself

Announced earlier this year, SAP’s restructuring program is expected to be laying off some 4,400 employees. It is under a lot of heat from rival companies, users, and (former) employees alike.

Especially on “The Layoff”, a website where employees can discuss recent firings in their company, users are getting increasingly irritated with SAP. Others are trying to find a pattern to the layoffs, as they are scared that they will be next. What they found is frightening, especially considering that this comes in the wake of the ongoing lawsuit Dominion Group vs. SAP.

Patterns: Age

Primarily elder workers with higher salaries get the axe, as it is a quick and easy way to cut costs. However, other users on “The Layoff” report that while they received no news of someone getting the axe, younger talent is recruited under similar job descriptions as their own. This could mean that SAP is preparing for the layoff of elder staff members while ensuring that their jobs still get done, however poorly.

Loyal employees getting the axe means that some of the most respected and experienced talent of SAP has to go, for example Thomas Jung. His departure was met with a lot of sympathy for Thomas Jung himself and a lot of confusion and outrage as well. Maybe this lead SAP to offer him another position in the company’s SAP Cloud Business group as part of its Technology and Architecture team, as he indicated on his LinkedIn profile.

This is not to say that younger employees are off the hook, as other users on “The Layoff” also reported that some of the fired staff members had only very recently joined the company. This is also not to say that SAP discriminates against elder workers, as they could face an age discrimination lawsuit if they did.

Patterns: Countries

Major layoffs have affected U.S. and Asian workers, as their work laws and unions are rather lax compared to European countries. Entire teams are sometimes being laid off at once, primarily developers working with Hana, Abap, Mobile, and Successfactors.

In Germany on the other hand, elder employees have the option of opting for a voluntary retirement program. However, this program is mutually voluntary, meaning that management can veto the decision of workers. German developers who want to benefit from the golden parachutes that SAP is handing out are out of luck, as primarily sales and marketing staff makes the cut.

Patterns: Disciplines

In the rest of the world, the situation is the other way around: Hana and Abap developers are getting the axe en masse. This is leading some people to believe that SAP wants to further strengthen its development teams in Germany, while the rest of the world has to work with what’s left.

Some also believe that SAP will lose its engineering and innovation power. One anonymous user on “The Layoff” writes, “But sadly, SAP is running away from its engineering culture. Not a great time to be in SAP if you have the aspirations to ideate and build new products.” Employees working with SuccessFactors are not better off, especially if stationed in the USA. Mobile developers should be cautious as well.

Another user on “The Layoff” puts it even more frankly, “I was delusional to believe I was joining a technology company.”

Other people have also been saying for some time now that SAP is straying further from its traditional values. Further proof to this seems to be the departure of Bernd Leukert, Bjoern Goerke, and Robert Enslin. What is more, SAP is reportedly hiring again while it is still laying off workers. This treatment is cold-blooded and in no way what SAP’s employees deserve.


Ultimately, there is no definitive answer to who will get laid off next. At the end of the day, SAP’s management is the one to decide, and factors like performance and loyalty only seem to play a minor part in it. It’s disturbing to see how far SAP CEO Bill McDermott is willing to go to meet his revenue goals and push his agenda.

The points listed are all just patterns observed by reading through the comments on “The Layoff”, analyzing articles and press releases on the topic and rough estimates. This is not to say that anyone falling into one of these categories will for sure get the axe; as well as it is not to say that those that don’t are off the hook.

Please also note that the claims made on the website “The Layoff” are unsubstantiated, but a lot of what we cited here has been confirmed by anonymous sources on the inside of SAP.

If you have any further information or want answers to some of your questions from fellow SAP employees, please follow the link below to the website “The Layoff”.

The Layoff

About the author

Simone Sailer, E-3 Magazine

Simone Sailer is Managing Editor of


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  • Besides laying off employees with fat salaries, another criteria used was to get rid of employees who had a history of complaints filed against them by their colleagues to HR. This includes sr architects and directors regardless of their talent, who would question technical decisions made by higher level VPs and CTOs and had guts to disagree.

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