Thread regarding Pearson PLC layoffs

How many people work at Pearson?

How many people work at the company? How about the headquarters at London?

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Post ID: @OP+13cBG11T

18 replies (most recent on top)

Corporate Pearson turned in flat revenues but realized a slight operating profit increase through downsizing in FY 2019, but it was far less than their outlook and stocks have tumbled as a result.

Pearson HED has completely tanked. Sales volume has plunged some 80% over the last decade. Digital revenues fell 12% in 2019, which if anything puts the notion of growth-through-digital in question. Market share losses were primarily to blame.

Overall, the corporate stock price has fallen some 40% over the last four years; and 14% in the last year alone.

This is the reason behind the departures of the current CFO and the future departure of CEO Fallon.

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Post ID: @cwil+13cBG11T

So you’re telling me they were still as profitable as mentioned—but reduced spending? Ok, I thought I had that correct even through the fog you emitted.

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Post ID: @cfql+13cBG11T

Pearson profit reports are nothing to crow about these days, because they are gained by downsizing and not through increase sales and market share.

This is the problem if you are a Pearson or one of their larger competitors. There is always a board of directors or private equity firm expecting positive results at the end of the year. They don't care how that profit is realized, it is simply the expectation. If you are the CEO of one of these firms and you are not realizing profit via sales, you have to provide it through downsizing. That is the only option.

This is the primary difference between a Pearson and its smaller competitors. The small and mid-sized companies are largely self-owned, and therefore much more capable of long-term planning. If a tough year is had, that can be absorbed much more easily under those circumstances.

Pearson leadership is not afforded that luxury. They are on the constant treadmill of chasing short-term results, and that usually leads to less-than-optimal decision making. Yes, Pearson reports a profit each year, but it does so on the backs of 100's or 1000's of common-folk workers who find themselves "right-sized" every year.

It isn't fair to the worker bees and it certainly isn't pretty. One must be careful when crowing over such results, as they may be next on the chopping block.

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Post ID: @cgoc+13cBG11T

So to re-centre this discussion, does anyone know the answer to the original question: How many people are currently employed at Pearson?

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Post ID: @clfj+13cBG11T

(Competitive rep now posting as someone else to seek approval that he hasn’t received)

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Post ID: @bymg+13cBG11T

Wow competitive rep, if this other poster is representative of your competition, it's no wonder you are doing so well! Numbskullery at it's finest!

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Post ID: @buds+13cBG11T

@8yxa+13cBG11T I am going to bow out out of this silly little tiff, simply because it is near impossible to maintain a real discussion with someone who cannot recognize the truth.

I am not a "Boomer" - but we are anon here so call me what you will, if it makes you feel better.

As for the nature of my company and our offerings, you mischaracterize things completely. We sell digital, we sell print, we sell hybrid. We are quite happy to work with the customer on delivery specifics. And we retain a healthy portion of enrollment on new unit sales, simply because we price things correctly. But that's tactical, you guys don't care about that.

I can't tell you how many 500, 1000, 1500 unit adoptions Pearson does not compete in - simply because they refuse to let go of the digital idea. It always comes down to us vs. McGraw, who is also willing to "play ball" with the customer for the moment (until Cengage takes them over). Sure, there is a drop-off on sales after the first couple of semesters, but even at that point that's still 3-500 units we didn't have the last year. Better us than you, we're happy to take the dollars.

Do I wish that each adoption were 100% digital and/or enjoyed 100% sell-through? Of course I do. But that's not the reality yet and I suppose that is the point - we are operating from a place of reality.

As for Pearson's performance, please do not repeat the quarterly investor call spin as fact. The company reported one of its worst performance updates in company history. Your print business has tanked and the tech offerings are not good enough to pick up the slack. Your CFO had to announce his departure in wake of this news, and of course your CEO threw in the towel long ago. JF admitted on the call that the end of this downward spiral was no where yet in sight and a financial commentor, speaking of Pearson's performance in 2020, offered: “Things don’t look likely to get any better here this year based on the company’s outlook comments. Cost cutting helped to mitigate the impact on profit in 2019 and the company may find it difficult to repeat that trick this year."

Finally, I will offer this: we speak here on an aged and active discussion board devoted to Pearson's ongoing personnel downsize . . . my company is not even mentioned on these boards. We are expanding, in fact, not contracting.

Pearson is too big to fail, it will always be around in some form. But it would be good if better & more realistic leadership took over.

  1. S. I believe I have offered my POV without insulting or seeking to demean you personally in any way. It would be nice (and better serve your cause) if you were able to do the same.
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Post ID: @9edq+13cBG11T

Making money? Person profited approx $750,000,000 last year. That is well ahead of any other publisher, yours included.

Look at market share—Pearson has lost next to none—and the revenue decline is due to a decrease in overall cost per student.

Sorry chief, you brought a knife to a gun fight. You can not deny facts. Do we all like the digital initiative since it is costing us bonus money and jobs? Absolutely not!!! But is it in the name of self preservation? YES.

You’re argument is in the same vain as climate deniers. Does it stink to have to reduce carbon emissions and would we all like to just ignore it? Yes, absolutely! But is it sustainable? No. And THAT is the point both you and your company is missing.

There is NO denying that packaged or unpackaged print has a MUCH longer life span and generates MUCH more revenue on the aftermarket. Arguing that point just makes you look even less educated on the industry.

Enjoy your upcoming retirement, Boomer. Your clients will certainly miss you servicing their 500 unit adoption which you profited from $50k over 4 years total.

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Post ID: @8yxa+13cBG11T

@8epy+13cBG11T . . . Okay, let's talk about "intelligence."

You sound very, very much like the typical out-of-touch Pearsonite. Pearson has been claiming - insisting, in fact - that the higher education world is "going digital" AND that it is this "transition to digital" that is behind the difficult sales & revenue situation Pearson is experiencing.

Pearson has been saying this for more than ten years, in fact.

If the reality was ANYWHERE close to the Pearson vision, there would be no reason to force faculty and students to adopt digital programs like Revel. There would be no reason to artificially hold back on delivering print product, even as desk copies. If this big "transition to digital" were actually happening, Pearson investor calls would be delivering much better news and you would not be losing coworkers by the 100's several times per year.

"Digital" is an increasing part of the content conversation, to be sure, but the reality is far from the wholesale "transition" Pearson has been preparing for like a doomsday bunker builder.

Here is the reality, dear counterpart: CONTENT remains king. Some customers prefer to receive that content electronically, others prefer print, while still others like the idea of a hybrid delivery. Will there ever be a day where the world "goes digital"? Perhaps, but it's certainly not happening within the next few years, just as it hasn't happened over the last ten or fifteen. A prime example I shared further below in this conversation, where a vast majority of CC students were willing to pay TRIPLE the eBook price to get print.

That is the reality.

Now, one of our companies is operating within that reality and making money hand-over-fist, the other of our companies is ignoring that reality in favor of a fantasy all-digital world, and they are rapidly downsizing.

There is your truth.

Do not spew some ill-considered and unrealistic corporate vision and then question MY intelligence, friend. I have the intelligence enough NOT to work for Pearson, enough said. I've another 10-15 years ahead of me in my career, I care very much about the industry and its health, AND I am lucky enough to still be making annual bonuses in the $30-50k range each year.

What does your reality look like?

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Post ID: @8owp+13cBG11T

(competing rep, again) ... Obviously, cannot reveal my employer but all of us non-major players are more-or-less in the same spot.

The Big Three have boards and private equity ownership to report to and it has become a game of chasing short-term results at the expense of any semblance of true strategy. The problem with these schemes like "no more print" or "Unlimited" is that they are set up entirely to benefit the PubCo in question and do little to address the true needs and desires of faculty & students. These initiatives are largely met with scorn out here in the field. A department chair had just sat through a Cengage presentation of Unlimited in his department meeting. When I asked what the faculty reaction to the program was (this was back during their initial promotional push), his response was: "it seemed pretty clear how that plan was going to benefit their company, we were left wondering how it was going to benefit us."

I came from that world (worked for two of the big three in my 25+ year career so far), and I'm glad to be out of it.

Yes, life is quite good in the world of "smaller publishing" for lack of a better term. The large firms have dropped the ball and there are any number of small to medium companies, both established and start-ups, out there to pick up the slack. Being smaller also allows one to pivot and adjust strategy far more quickly than the Titanic companies can, obviously.

In my particular case, my company is blessed with smart and sensitive leadership. We do experience a ton of change in our world, too, but generally speaking it is more positive, expansive change than the reverse. That won't last forever. People move on, situations shift. But for now, things are pretty darn wonderful, comparatively speaking, and it seems as if this will remain the case for at least the next handful of years. After that, we'll see what happens, right? That's all you can really do as a mid-level peon.

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Post ID: @7lwj+13cBG11T

What company do you work for competing rep? It sounds great!

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Post ID: @6lcs+13cBG11T

"Competing Rep" here ... oh, where to start? Yes, my company produces and sells homework software. But it's software that is actually easy to use, reasonably priced, and OPTIONAL. We sell lots of that product, but we are not afraid to work with faculty to deliver what they want. If they're stuck in print-only land? We'll sell them print. AND we will do it at a very student-friendly price (hint: about a third of what Pearson was charging, when they sold print).

Key difference, there - between us. We are willing to work WITH faculty and students, rather than against them. The only large PubCo still doing that is McGraw, and that is bound to change once Cengage gets ahold of them.

Pearson? They discovered that the world is not changing quite as quickly as was hoped, so they are trying to FORCE the issue by denying faculty & students print completely. All that does is produces resentment - it drives them right into my lap.

Cengage? They try to create a false choice between a $3-400 textbook or a "discounted" everything program for a laughable $120 per semester. Hm. That's $120 for an eBook that would normally cost thirty or forty bucks. Again, it forces faculty to make an easy choice: "we'll adopt elsewhere, thanks!"

The other big factor seems to be the actual quality of the software in question. Relying on what I hear from faculty & students - REVEL suuuuuuucks - people LOATHE it and the support is almost zero. There ARE pockets of fans out there but they are few & far between, honestly.

Oh - my Pearson-hating department chair? Mid-30's.

No, we are not selling to ancients, dearheart - we are selling to faculty and students of all ages, those who see through the false choice presented by Pearson/Cengage and who adopt for quality of authorship, along with functionality (when it comes to software).

One last illustration for you: my company recently won the largest of its kind Intro course in the state. Faculty wanted to offer students choice, so we had the bookstore stock a deeply-discounted eBook + Paperback bundle alongside a standalone eBook option for about a third of the price. Five semesters into the adoption's life, we've found that approximately 3% of students elect the bargain-basement eBook option. Instead, they elect to pay triple just to have the print.

IA? We're right there too, alongside you. We simply charge a fraction of what you do for the IA option. When it comes to IA, again, it's us vs. McGraw these days, Pearson is rarely in the conversation.

I would take your posts more seriously if your employer were not laying off employees by the 1000's. In contrast, we are in expansion mode - and have been for the last decade. The truth is, the difference between our employers (at least for now) is that mine is operating grounded in reality, while Pearson is operating in a fantasy-land of their own styling. If the world were truly "going digital" as quickly as Pearson suggests, there would be no need to force the issue by denying print. THAT is Pearson trying to bend reality to its own will and, honestly, the world just doesn't work that way. Never has, probably never will.

It's been nice talking with you.

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Post ID: @6fet+13cBG11T

Competing rep: We fully understand smaller, more discipline focused traditional print publishers are "k–ling" it out there with the 78 year old prof who's not interested in digital. Please, oversell the bookstore with print to see the $50k order only to see zero sales for the next 3 years, and your pile become used rentals for $75 a semester —AND you'll have to service them for the next 3 years. Pearson played that game, and we've played it well, that time is over, what you're really doing is selling newspaper advertising in the age of Google. You just don't know it yet because you're calling on professors and chairs who don't understand where their students are or will be with actual learning. There's money to be made in print, for now, looking at the short run.

And don't worry, we are on campus, often speaking to folks who aren't involved in book decisions.

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Post ID: @5iga+13cBG11T

Competing rep...I’m no fan of Pearson, but your company (and you) is/are out of touch, completely.
Enjoy the wins today — for tomorrow your company is in the same boat at Pearson if you peddle print. This is a fact.
Enjoy riding the wave, as Pearson did for as long as possible.

You know why they like print? They like your USED print (that you get $0 from) along with you servicing the account.

The faster all publishers adopt a digital only or nothing mentality the better. Destroy the resellers and control inventory.

Everything else is just playing a game of slow death.

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Post ID: @5ini+13cBG11T

I am a competing rep with a mid-sized publisher (NOT one of the big three, thank god). Calling on my faculty peeps this week, one Chair indicated that his department is deep into the process of dropping all Pearson adoptions. Apparently there are only two or three adoptions left, and those are targeted for change away from the company by Fall 2020. The reasons? Forced digital (Revel-which faculty & students alike despise), no access to print product, and complete lack of response from local Pearson reps or the area Manager. This comes from one of the two largest-enrollment Community Colleges in the state, and these statements are mirrored in 2 and 4 year institutions all over this area. Pearson just does not compete here much anymore, especially by trying to force people away from print. It's almost like they are trying to go out of business.

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Post ID: @5jdw+13cBG11T

I heard a few months ago that from about 40,000 employees worldwide, around 16,000 were laid off, leaving around 24,000. Not sure how accurate that was, or if the numbers have changed a lot since then.

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Post ID: @1egi+13cBG11T

Too many. Combined with terrible sales. Which why you can count on another restructure where the sales force is gutted and upper management remains the same. (Again...)

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Post ID: @1gdl+13cBG11T

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