Few facts to know:
- Cisco is laying off 20% of the global workforce. Not US workforce.
- A lot of my friends are at Cisco. Their teams have around 90% people on H1Bs.. the case was similar for other teams. Any layoffs in Cisco will affect H1Bs disproportionately.
- During layoffs, the first people to go are the contractors (which Cisco and any other company has lots of).
- Typically Cisco lays off the product team that is not performing well (remember flip) or doesn't fit in their long term roadmap. The folks being laid off are given a fair chance to interview with other teams (and preferred over external candidates), just as other companies.
Let's get the facts on the actual jobs lost and demographics of the layoffs before making any blanket statements.
Regarding retraining the employees, well, that is a pipe dream. Cisco is primarily a hardware company, that is getting cannibalized by software. In the days of white box switching, SDN, NFV and IoT, the need for custom asic is much less than what it was. There are tons of startups that can put together a networking device with just off the shelf components and networking/netconf stacks from tons of other providers. If Cisco has to stay relevant, it needs to cut down dead weight. They are going through the same phase that IBM went through few years ago.