IBM Layoffs Continue as Transformation Rages On

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-06-02 Print this article Print
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"Our hiring will be aligned to where we see demand—by skill area, and by geography," he said. "As we look at the resource actions, about 90 percent of the spending is outside the U.S."

Indeed, Lee Conrad, who manages the Watching IBM group on Facebook, told eWEEK more and more IBM jobs are moving offshore.

"The lights are turning off in IBM United States," he said.

"IBM is quickly becoming 'India Business Machines,'" wrote one former IBMer who posted on the Watching IBM page.

Yet, some see the expansion of IBM's global operations as the cost of doing business in the modern age.

"Like many other U.S.-based tech vendors, IBM has taken advantage of lower wages in overseas markets, including China, Korea and Taiwan," King said. "But the company also does over half of its business in overseas markets, so hiring workers to support those efforts doesn't qualify as 'moving jobs' to my way of thinking."

That does nothing to quell the disappointment of the many who have been let go.

Requesting anonymity, posters to the Watching IBM page challenged IBM's claim of 25,000 open jobs.

"I keep seeing the articles written that IBM is saying that they have 20,000 open positions and employees claim that there are only 8,000 listed (I can verify this: there are less than 8,300 jobs listed on the internal site)," said one poster.

That poster and others who were let go from one position at IBM said they tried to apply for some of the listed openings, only to be told the positions had been canceled.

"I was always 'coached' not to consider an RA'd employee for any opening I had," wrote a Watching IBM poster who said he was a manager at IBM for 10 years. "They would not be approved for transfer no matter how strong a candidate or their skills."

Meanwhile, another issue bothering recently laid off former IBMers is the limitations on severance packages. According to Watching IBM, IBM’s previous severance policy was capped at six months of pay and benefits; it is now just one month.

"Got the call from my manager on the May 19th," wrote a poster to the web page. "Same deal as everyone else (90 days and 1 month severance)," said the 17-year former IBM employee who claimed to have a solid record of achievement with the company.

"I cannot express adequately my extreme disappointment in how far 'down' this company has gone—the corporate greed and outright depriving good people who gave years to IBM of deserved benefits and a decent severance package is simply unfathomable," the same individual said.

Moreover, following the first quarter earnings, Schroeter said IBM not only has to transform its business, but also has to transform the way it works.

"As we transform our workforce, we’re changing how we’re working—more agile, more collaboratively—and this requires a different work environment," he said.

So in the first quarter IBM took a real estate charge of more than $300 million, "as we change the way we work—moving to agile with less space required," Schroeter added.

In that regard, IBM last month said it would be closing its Somers, N.Y., campus, which housed about 2,000 systems and software division employees, and moving those workers to an IBM facility in North Castle, N.Y.


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