I've heard it from CEOs and Gurus across the spectrum: talent is the biggest resource.
On numerous occasions, every time I've seen such news stories, I've pondered over this issue of retrenchment. And every time, the frame given is 'cost-cutting'.
So employees are costs. When such costs are cut, the company makes profit. Right? For whom? Shareholders? Most shareholders do nothing to increase a company's profits. Yes, of course they invest in shares. Definitely they aren't the ones to try and innovate. Innovation can only from talent/employees.
Unfortunately, I suppose, since employees are only viewed as costs for narrow and specific purposes, after spending a certain time in the cubicled corporations they evolve into nothing better than costs.