J&J restructuring claims up to 8,000 jobs

As 2009 winds down, the pace of pharma job cuts is picking up. Today, it's Johnson & Johnson announcing a sweeping restructuring plan, one that will slash up to 7 percent of its global workforce, or 8,000 jobs. In the process, the company aims to save $1.7 billion in annual expenses by 2011, with $800 million to $900 million in savings for 2010.

Woe betide middle management at J&J: Eliminating layers of management will account for a sizable hunk of the workforce cuts. This management streamlining follows a business-unit reshuffle in August, which also was designed to consolidate management, but vertically rather than horizontally as with this latest plan.

This is the second round of job cuts at J&J this year, too. Some 900 jobs were slashed from its drugs business in early 2009. And that followed the company's 2007 restructuring, which eliminated 3 percent to 4 percent of its workforce. Nevertheless, J&J is promising that this latest restructuring plan will position it for future growth, rather than future job cuts: "The associated savings will provide additional resources to invest in new growth platforms," the company said in a statement.

Of course, J&J is far from alone in laying off staff this year. Eli Lilly announced some 5,500 cuts just a couple weeks ago. And job cuts are tagging along behind 2009's megamergers, at Roche and Genentech, Pfizer and Wyeth, Merck and Schering-Plough. Pfizer said it would slash the combined workforce by some 19,500. Merck plans to cut its payroll by 16,000 once its merger is complete. And Roche has cut jobs via buyouts and layoffs, at Genentech and Roche facilities both; no word, however, on just how many of the combined company's jobs have gone the way of the dodo.

- get the J&J release
- see the Dow Jones coverage
- read the article from Bloomberg