Ask the CEOs: Are You Hiring?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What are America's corporate leaders saying about the issues of the day? TheStreet's reporters, during the course of their weekly coverage, will pose a thematic question to the business executives they interview.

This week's question: Are you hiring?

Gary Smith, Ciena CEO

Ciena ( CIEN) CEO Gary Smith: "We are hiring, albeit modestly." Ciena sells optical networking gear to phone companies looking to boost traffic capacity. The Linthicum, Maryland-based company is in the final stages of integrating a large acquisition of Nortel's infrastructure business, which doesn't exactly put Ciena in expansion mode.

The combination of Ciena's business with Nortel's unit has led to some "rationalization" of staff sizes, Smith said. "But synergies isn't necessarily a euphemism for firing," he said, explaining the give-and-take in adjusting the business. Smith says Ciena is hiring in areas where it hopes to find growth amid a sputtering economic recovery.

"People are still cautious and mindful of the uncertainties," says Smith, referring to the outlook of his customers. "The sentiment is generally better than it was a year ago, when I'd say people were more cautious," he says.

"We will end up the year with more employees than we had when we started the year," Smith said. And those hires will be "all over the globe, not just in North America."

Andy Miller, Polycom president and CEO

Polycom ( PLCM) CEO Andy Miller: "We will continue to hire, but not as aggressively as we did in 2010." Polycom, based in Pleasanton, Calif., provides videoconferencing systems for global 1000 firms and competes chiefly with Cisco ( CSCO) in the telepresence space. Polycom employs about 3,400 people and hired 537 workers last year. "Last year we were turbo-charged. This year, we're still looking at opportunities ahead of us, all of which require operational expertise and people."

E.W. Scripps ( SSP) CEO Rich Boehne: "We've been hiring. Especially in newsrooms. The one thing we have not done is cut deeply into newsrooms. We really believe our business is about great and interesting and compelling content. Being great storytellers. So, we continue to put money into content and beef up on that side of the business." The Cincinnati-based media concern's shares trade at a trailing 12 months' price-to-earnings ratio of 4.60.

Informatica ( INFA) CEO Sohaib Abbasi: "We have hired every quarter, even during the recession," says the chief executive of the data integration software provider, which say revenue jump by 30% in 2010. The Redwood City, California company benefited not only from the cyclical economic recovery, but also from secular growth in the social networking and could computing sectors.

Radware ( RDWR) CEO Roy Zisapel: "Definitely. Last year we grew our workforce by almost 20%. We plan to continue to do so this year. Constantly over the last 10 years, we have grown our headcount both domestically and internationally." Shares of the Tel Aviv, Israel-based network security maker have been boosted this year by merger talk as well as worry over the WikiLeaks scandal.

J.C. Penney's CEO Myron Ullman

J.C. Penney ( JCP) CEO Myron (Mike) Ullman III: "We do hire regularly. Every new initiative for the stores, we would be hiring for that. Every new Sephora probably ends up with 20% new staff members that are extensively trained to serve customers in the Sephora setting and technology. We also do a lot of holiday hiring. Our core commitment is to have people who are well trained and not have a lot of turnover. We are proud that our turnover is less than our key competitors. So while we are hiring, we hope to be hiring less on the basis that people stay with us and they learn to take care of our customers and our products. Our turnover has come down dramatically over the last five years. .... We are opening new stores, we are remodeling stores, opening new concepts, so clearly our workforce will grow this year."

Trend Micro CEO Eva Chen: "Trend Micro is probably an exception. Even at the lowest time, 2008 and 2009, we continued to acquire and also to hire."

The security software maker's CEO explained that the sector's need for experts with knowledge of the latest threats drove the company's hiring strategy during the downturn, a trend that is continuing.

"Last quarter, we added about 50 people; that's about 5% of our workforce," she said, adding that Trend Micro is bringing in experts in data center security.

Have a question you'd like to see TheStreet ask the CEOs? Send it totips@thestreet.com. Follow TheStreet on Twitter.

This article was written by staff members of TheStreet.

More from Opinion

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

How Technology Will Unleash the Legal Marijuana Industry's Growth Potential

How Technology Will Unleash the Legal Marijuana Industry's Growth Potential

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Amazon's Assault on Grocery Stores Will Have a Profound Impact on Many

Amazon's Assault on Grocery Stores Will Have a Profound Impact on Many

It's Dumb to Think There Aren't Already Monopolies in Big Tech

It's Dumb to Think There Aren't Already Monopolies in Big Tech