Computer networking and telecom giant Cisco Systems Inc. has started firing 488 employees based in California in a second round of demoralizing layoffs over the past 12 months stemming from its shift to software developer from hardware maker.

Based in San Jose, California, Cisco said 397 of these employees are coming from its corporate headquarters at San Jose while a further 91 work at Milpitas. It filed the notice of termination with California’s Employment Development Department on July 30.

The firings, which began July 31, are “permanent in nature,” said Saidah Grayson Dill, Cisco director of legal services in a notice filed to comply with state and federal WARN Act requirements.

Cisco, however, claims it will re-employ some of the fired employees.

Most of those now being laid off come from the company’s engineering units. In San Jose, the most common jobs being axed are engineering technical leaders, software engineers and program managers.

Cisco said it will fire nearly 500 workers in South Bay in November 2018. Previous to this, Cisco had fired 700 local employees in 2017 and 940 in 2016.

The continuing wave of layoffs can be blamed on Cisco’s shift to software. Cisco expects to fire thousands of employees holding jobs related to its hardware business.

“Over the last few years, we have been transforming Cisco and driving innovation to deliver even greater value to our customers and partners,” according to a Cisco statement about the firings.

“It’s important that we make decisions to continually ensure that our investments and resources are aligned with strategic growth areas of the business and customer demands.”

Employee firings have become a hallmark of the tenure of CEO Chuck Robbins, who took over the top job in 2015.

“We’re four years in and I’m really proud of what our teams have accomplished,” said Robbins in an earnings call Wednesday.

Cisco employs more than 14,000 people in the Peninsula and South Bay, ranking it behind only Apple and Google’s parent company Alphabet in the region, in total employee numbers in 2018. Cisco employs more than 74,000 people worldwide.

Cisco Systems
The company's legacy as a provider of networking equipment such as routers and switches gives it an immense advantage over pure-play rivals. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage