Cisco says it will create 3000 jobs, expand into new businesses

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By Surojit Chatterjee | June 5, 2010 11:35 AM EST

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ.CSCO), the world's largest network equipment maker, said on Friday it plans to create 3000 jobs in this quarter and the next to enlarge the workforce in its sales and new markets divisions.

Speaking at a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. investor conference in New York on Friday, Cisco CEO John Chambers said the company's "ability to attract talent is at an all-time high" and reiterated his commitment towards bolstering the company's sales and emerging markets workforce. Cisco has a significant business presence in China and India.

The company's job creation announcement came as a surprise because, hurt by the economic slump, Cisco had cut 2000 jobs, curbed hiring, and closed down offices over the past year. At the end of fiscal 2009, Cisco had 65,550 employees.

While Chambers has been in charge, Cisco has grown from $1.2 billion in annual revenues to around $40 billion. Chambers said that a rapid expansion of Internet traffic would drive demand for advanced switches and routers. He is widely praised for growing the San Jose, California-based company into one of the country's top technology firms through aggressive sales strategies and a series of acquisitions in new areas such as consumer products and video technology.

The recession has caused companies to scrimp on their IT spending. That cut Cisco's sales by nine per cent in the last fiscal year. Nevertheless, Chambers said his long-term goal of achieving 12-17 percent annual revenue growth rate is "within grasp."

"What you see us doing is planting the seeds again and again that will allow growth to comfortably be ... 12 to 17 percent," Chambers said. He added that the company will expand into 30 new businesses, including portable video, high-end video conferencing, and smart power grids for cities.

Cisco's announcement came amid reports that the US unemployment rate in May has fallen from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent.

Despite Chambers' bullish comments, shares of Nasdaq-listed Cisco, which competes with IBM and Hewlett-Packard, closed 3.23 percent down at $22.95 on Friday, a day when several tech stocks sagged.

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