Cost reduction plan brings cuts up to 16% of global workforce by the end of 2018

US agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto has added 1000 to the number of staff it intends to lay off by the end of fiscal year 2018. The company had already revealed plans to cut 2,600 jobs over the next two years, and the new plan brings the total up to 16% of the company’s global workforce.

The move is part of an effort to reduce annual costs by $500 million amid declining biotech seed and herbicide sales. Brett Wong, an agricultural sector analyst for Piper Jaffray in Boston, US, suggests that more layoffs can be expected. ‘Unfortunately, this probably isn’t the end – labour is the easiest thing to cut,’ he tells Chemistry World.

Wong says a major problem is the low grain prices currently challenging farms’ profitability. ‘Farmers are looking to be as cost-conscious as they can. That entails cutting discretionary items, or cutting back on things that they normally wouldn’t,’ he explains.

It is not just Monsanto that is feeling the squeeze. Other sectors that are under pressure because of low commodity prices – like mining, materials and energy – are also facing similar challenges and looking to tighten their belts, Wong states.