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IBM Added 70,000 People To Its Ranks In 2015, And Lost That Many, Too ( 194

walterbyrd writes: IBM is very particular in hiring for the hot new skills where IBM is expanding like machine learning, big data, mobile, and security. However, even with adding 70,000 people to their payroll in 2015, IBM actually ended the year with a slightly lower headcount than when it started, according to a SEC filing. IBM is always very careful when talking about its global headcount, which has been going through major shifts for years. It won't say how many people it lays off each year, or how old they are or in what areas they work. It only talks only about "resource actions" or "workforce rebalancing" in terms of the total amount of money it spends on them. It spent $587 million on such things in 2015 (and nearly $1.5 billion in 2014), it said.
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IBM Added 70,000 People To Its Ranks In 2015, And Lost That Many, Too

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  • A: They are hiring outside skills and labor to screw you, personally

    B: IBM is identifying the best skill and labor, at the lowest cost, to lower price of product they manufacture (benefitting consumers)

    Seems like only a politician can answer the question "correctlty"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zeio ( 325157 )

      I know some folks who currently work at and worked at IBM. It is not "B". It is taking people who put a lot of time in and are very good at their job and not even giving them the opportunity to lose some salary to keep their jobs. I heard a story from one friend who was at IBM where they were excited to be working with a new team to support them in India but then suddenly being laid off with the Indian team taking over their jobs. So its a train-and-dump scheme a lot of the time.

      What IBM isn't realizing is

      • In 1985 IBM had 230,000 employees mostly in the USA. Now its 71,000 - and who knows where.

        According to wikipedia [], they had 379,592 employees in 2014. That's a bit more than 71,000.

      • 1985 was the golden age of the IBM PC - they've shrunk and re-imagined themselves as a mainframe company again since then. Also, the days of micro-printing the letters IBM with single atoms, and similar groundbreaking research, are long behind them.

    • Lufthansa sold most of their subsiduary Lufthansa Systems to IBM effective April 1 2015, I am not sure how many heads were involved but would guess at around 1000 although it could even be twice that. I see from the TFA that the current size of the company is just under 380 000 employees, what is "natural attrition" in a company of that size?
      Whatever - I don't see this figure as being that significant, not in the ways which are being floated here by people who have far less of a clue as to the workings of

  • by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @12:04AM (#51601773)
    Or in other words, "we don't pay retirement packages and we don't believe in careers at IBM". Remember folks capitalism has no bounds, no emotions, no respect. The perfection of corporate slavery is complete.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      This is not capitalism. Capitalists would realize that experienced people are very valuable and worth a high price. What IBM does is short-term greed, which long-term kills the company. These people are just bandits. Actual capitalists take a long-term view.

      • "This is not capitalism."

        Yes, it is.

        "Capitalists would realize that experienced people are very valuable and worth a high price."

        No. Those wouldn't be capitalists; those would be entrepreneurs or businessmen, but not capitalists.

        Capitalists are about, who would say, capital. So who will offer me the bests profits *today* is what matters. I'll wait till tomorrow to see who offers me the best profits tomorrow. Think about it and you'll see that's the best strategy to maximize profits, both in the short an

        • So why do they complain that no one is going into technology? Aren't they reaping what they sow? I mean, if I'm a high school student and I see technology employees being crapped on, I won't go into technology. Maybe if I was a high school student that happened to be born and raised in silicon valley I would, but otherwise no way.
          • "So why do they complain that no one is going into technology?"

            Do you know what marketing is?

            In common talking "marketing" is misread as "advertising". While marketing includes publicity, marketing goes much more and above advertising. Marketing is analyzing my product portfolio strengths and debilities versus competitors, analyzing where my product portfolio really is against perceived needs, what's my target audience, properly publitising my product portfolio to my targe audience *and* massaging my audi

    • Who's the smartass that moderated this funny? It's very on point and I take it as him being quite serious. It resonates with me and I'm not even fucking 40 yet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2016 @08:55AM (#51602669)

      Basically what they did was can the old farts and replace them with younger folks and H1-bs.

      I was one of the younger folk back in '94. We were told the older folks "didn't have the skills" and "didn't want to learn new skills" so they had to go.

      Then over night, I woke up and found out that I "didn't have the skills" and was replaced by folks who did "have the skills" - doing exactly the same work.

      Technical skills are age and wage dependent in this profession. At 20, C++ is a great skills. At 50, C++ is out of date.

      • At 20, C++ is a great skills [sic]. At 50, C++ is out of date.

        This falls under YMMV. I suppose there's a chance you might be right since I'm only 48 now, but I've been working at a C++ shop and was hired two years ago. It's one of the best jobs I've ever had.

        We've also been trying to hire for a while now. I interview so many candidates that can't write a C++ 101-level implementation of an assignment operator that does a deep copy. Many claim "expert" C++ knowledge on their resumes too.

        • That sounds tragic. I believe if you are an expert at C++ you can at the very least write a templated version with enable_if and other niceties. Now if you are a god, you can do more :-). Speaking of trying to hire...

    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @10:02AM (#51602777)

      "Workforce rebalancing" means sending jobs to India and Brazil.

      It's not "outsourcing" because they're going to IBM India and IBM Brazil.

    • .... and then they complain they can't attract people to technology fields.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2016 @12:17AM (#51601807)

    The talent left this company a long time ago.
    - The research folks on Watson all left after the Jeopardy publicity stunt. they're all at greener pastures. The CTO for Watson left fairly quickly.
    - The people sold off to Lenovo have mostly left - though Lenovo was a bit better than IBM
    - The people working on Cloud are basically what was left over after the SoftLayer folks left, and the remnants of old System X & P. Musical chairs. The Softlayer CEO and exec staff also left.
    - The Blade Network people and the entire Systems Networking business left to Google, AWS, and other greener pastures
    - The DB2 people have mostly left to new startups.
    - Just about every key architect for CPUs has moved to ARM competitors

    Did I mention that their pay and bonus sucks? One mans loss it another mans gain... Just about every company outside of the HW business has benefited from influx of talent running away from this company.

    BTW - That new company called HPE... it's basically the same as above with another name....

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't know where you are getting your info from, but I've been in DB2 for the last 19 (nearly) years. Most of the top people from 19 years ago ... are still there. There have been some retirements, and some loss at the mid-to-low tiers, but most of the people I knew as the smartest from 19 years ago are there, but far more senior now. And I'm still there, don't know why.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, I recently had the displeasure to meet with an IBM technical team. I did suggest regular meetings to my contact at the customer, since we were working on similar things for the customer. I have now learned better: The IBM team was exceptionally arrogant, completely incompetent, socially inept and generally unhelpful. My contact and I agreed to not continue these meetings.

      The IBM people are now 3 years over schedule and have not even gotten basic things right. This must really be a culture of "nobody w

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        I feel quite sad about IBM. I was a junior admin when we bought a System/36, then the Senior Admin when we upgraded to an AS400.

        The gear was expensive, sure, but it was good quality, the sales staff, the CSRs and PSRs knew what they were talking about, they were passionate to find a solution for you, they were friendly and reachable (not arrogant, just *competent* in the best sense of that word), and you generally got a free extended lunch or an invite to the customers' xmas drinks every year. I mean, we ev

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      Hmm... I actually know, as in know personally, a handful of people who have worked at IBM and, out of that handful of people, I communicate with three of them on a weekly basis. Sometimes we are in touch more often than that.

      Full disclosure: I had financial interest in IBM, quite a bit of interest - you could say, until early 2013. I own zero shares in IBM today.

      Let me see if I can give you a different perspective?

      I'm too lazy to go look right at the moment but the last time I looked, the shares were about

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @12:30AM (#51601837)

    Let's not be coy...we all know what this Corporate DoubleSpeak means.

    "resource actions" = "firing people"

    "workforce rebalancing" = "firing people"

    "rightsizing" = "firing people"

    "personnel adjustment" = "firing people"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not so much H1B's but more a case of offshoring to lesser skilled individuals. Every time my team lost a local with the job offshored, the offshore team would say they need 3-4 people to do the same work and often got the hiring approved to do so. At it's peak, my team had 24 people, locally we are now down to 3 while the offshore team numbers 82 (and growing.)

      Many teams in the U.S and elsewhere spend more time working on escalations resulting from offshore workers than productive, value added work or spend

  • by Anonymous Coward

    - 70,000 US workers
    + 69,500 Foreign workers

    This can work across age groups as well.

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @01:23AM (#51601961)
    My understanding is IBM is rapidly shrinking it's American workforce and replacing those folks with H1-Bs from India. They are not only losing years of knowledge, they are replacing it with people who barely speak english. What sucks for them is that not only do customers realize they're getting shafted, but the quarterly income, which management uses to base their rediculous end of year bonus, both suck ass.
    • Wealth is all relative; the disparity between what you have and others don't. The fact American corporations remain in America at all has to do with tax incentives and bribing the establishment. If they could, they would never hire a single American if they could get away with with it. Ultimately, it's the board members, executives, and upper management that need to be retained locally. It's the worker bees that can be farmed off to India.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @01:38AM (#51601997) Homepage Journal

    The politicians tell us is that giving perks to big companies will create jobs.

    This is a lie.

    Jobs are created when people *start* companies, or when small companies grow. Big companies generally have all the workforce they need, and don't hire more people just because they get more money.

    Indeed - it's the big companies who look to cut costs by shaving quality or outsourcing or moving to Ireland. You don't generally see the small, lean, hungry startups looking to outsource from India or move to Ireland.

    I cringe when I see the federal government giving [ice cream maker] Ben and Jerry's a grant of $200,000 to increase their competitiveness, because that money spent on sales training could fund 4 small startups, employing 5-7 people each.

    Next time you hear a politician, check to see if their speech doesn't end with "and this means more jobs" or similar. It's their way of selling their influence and making it palatable to the voters.

    • by Sibko ( 1036168 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @04:30AM (#51602337)

      Jobs are only created when entire new industries open up.

      Let's simplify things down a bit to make this easier to grasp:
      In order to compete in an established market, you need to produce a better/cheaper product than your competitors.
      Every 'cost' in the entire chain of production fundamentally boils down to human labor
      Reducing human labor reduces costs
      Reducing costs improves efficiency
      Improving efficiency allows better competition in the marketplace

      There are no new jobs being created; only jobs being lost as we create new practices, techniques, and technology to reduce the amount of human labor needed for production of goods. Walmart replaced all the local grocers because walmart was more efficient than they were. Walmart "created" jobs only insomuch that nobody bothered comparing walmarts' "job creation" to their "job destruction" from undercutting local competition.

      Yesterday we needed a team of 1000 to create a widget. Today we need a team of 100. Tomorrow it'll be a team of 10.

      Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to say this is a bad thing. It just is.

      So remember, the next time a politician or CEO talks about how many jobs he's creating; what he really means is that he's moving a bunch of jobs into a certain location from another, and almost certainly the end result will be a decline in total jobs in the world, not an increase.

      • While I agree with you in terms of job creation in terms of product industries, there are a lot of ways jobs are created.

        There can be new demand of an existing product/service. Maybe you build a new subdivision and that needs people to build it. Or people/government decide they just want more of something.

        There can be regulations. If the government mandated every 10000 lines of software must have 1 support developer.

        There's plenty of way to create jobs. In the end, the government could if it chooses just ma

    • Where do you see that Ben and Jerry's got a 200k grant from the government? All the info I can find are the grants ($1.8 million / year) that Ben & Jerry's gives to people & organizations, to promote environmental sustainability, better food in communities, social justice and so on.

      Are you sure they got a small cringe inducing grant from the govt? Or is it possible you heard one of those random outrage inducing statistics from somebody who completely made it up because they are well known as
    • Jobs are created when people *start* companies, or when small companies grow.

      The compensation package for a small company is far inferior compared to a regular employee at a larger company.

      Second, the resources available to small companies are far fewer and impart less desirable experience (not much room for large-scale anything).

  • or eliminated?

  • by javabandit ( 464204 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @02:08AM (#51602063)

    I used to work at IBM (as a senior-level manager) and I can say truthfully that the only way IBM is going to make it is if it completely lets go almost all of its business units and rebuilds from the ground up. Every single LOB they have is archaic. I remember when I was first hired at IBM. They showed every new employee a propaganda video which was like a 10 minute montage of IBM's innovation since it started. That video ended with the final innovation -- landing on the moon. That's right. The last real innovation IBM truly contributed to was LANDING ON THE MOON. Fifty years ago.

    In the last 20 years, all IBM has done is try to innovate through acquisitions. Buy a company. Put together a five year business plan to milk the acquiree's customers. "Blue wash" their products. Push new IBM bloatware to those customers. Get rid of 95% of the acquiree's employees through attrition... and replace them with IBM employees from other liquidated business units. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    They have a requirement for all business units to ensure that a certain percentage of the workforce was offshore. Also, since their HR review process uses comparison against your peers... people get fired or put on performance plans every quarter. I remember going into ridiculous meetings where my boss would tell me that I didn't have enough of my peopl eranked as low performers... I needed to come up with some names. Didn't matter if my entire team met their personal goals. I had to rate a certain percentage a "3" or my boss would do it for me. Wonderful. IBM used to have a policy of matching 401k contributions with each paycheck. Well, they changed that to a one-time match in December. The kicker there was that if you got laid off/fired before December... then you lost all of your match. Nice, eh? It just so happened that the big layoffs came before the 401k match date. Lots of wonderful cost savings for IBM.

    Meanwhile... during periods where several consecutive quarters of revenue misses happened... and tens of thousands of people were fired... Ginni Rometty and her peers received millions of dollars in bonuses. Nice, eh?

    I could go on and on. But IBM is simply a crap company. My advice to anybody would be to stay away from there. If your company gets acquired by IBM... stick around for three years. Collect your paycheck, come in late every day, go as slow as possible in your daily work, don't fret while IBM ruins your product by demanding you include 20 year-old technology into your shiny product. Then leave after you are fully vested. Leave immediately and don't look back.

    If you are a new college graduate and you get hired by IBM, stick around for no more than two years. You will get a much better job elsewhere. But do not stay.

    IBM is a dying company. It has been shitting the bed pan for the last five years and it is only going to get worse. Steer clear.

    • by Britz ( 170620 )

      If you turn over your employees every 1-2 years, there is nothing there that knows what they do anyways.

      Just last year they completely failed a huge project with DHL. Just Google DHL and IBM. The current official estimated loss for DHL is at 345 million Euro.

    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @10:20AM (#51602805)

      I disagree about the innovation. They're making great strides in "global resourcing", learning systems like Watson and still have amazing private physics research. As a physicist, it might be one of the better non-military places to work.

      Otherwise, you're spot-on. I worked there longer than I should have. I know almost nobody working there anymore. They were all fired... I mean layed off. Their jobs went to Brazil.

      The corporate bloat always made me wonder why anyone would chose to do business with them.... but having worked for similar giant companies, it seems they expect a similar management style in their vendors. Having a second-line manager to complain to when your sales rep's backup failed you and their boss can't help, seems to be some kind of expectatoin. You won't get that in a mom-and-pop shop.

      The company varies by division. 2 years and leave is reasonable for most areas, but if you're in physics, or you're in big data and learning systems, or managing global resourcing projects, you might not find a more interesting place to work.

    • If IBM were a person, it would be "pretty fly for a white guy". It tries to look cool, but it constantly fails to shed its stodgy history.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2016 @02:12AM (#51602073)

    IBM is hiring Romania, Malaysia, Costa Rica, and India. Many new there in 2015.
    IBM is not hiring in the US or avoiding doing so at all costs. There are slots that are open, but they are going off shore.
    Its fun when Romania is ending their day and US is starting. Complete break down as they walk out the door. "What about...? Oh never mind, maybe tomorrow...."
    Malaysia skips what they aren't able or don't feel like doing.
    Costa Rica, jury's still out though pretty inexperienced.
    India's a mixed bag. Some areas they make the US look like bad amateurs. Other areas, not so much. Really difficult issues come back to the US to solve.

  • by ebusinessmedia1 ( 561777 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @02:30AM (#51602115)
    Why doesn't IBM clarify this? How many who "left" were over 40 years old - pushed out because of age? IBM is toast!
  • by justcauseisjustthat ( 1150803 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @03:04AM (#51602201)
    I've heard from a number of older friends in Silicon Valley that once they pass 40 yrs old, they don't get callbacks for jobs.
    (Now, yes, some have outdated skills, but when someone in there 30s with those same skills is getting jobs, something is broke.)

    It appears companies are getting rid of higher paid worker and replacing with cheaper, younger works (sometimes overseas), to bring this into the light, all diversity reports from companies should include age of employees broken down.
    • If a 25 year old can do my job and for less $$, why shouldn't the company replace me? We do the same when we buy consumer products..
      • I think people kind of thought that we had a certain way of life in our country, and growing up we were taught to respect our nation because people fought and died to protect the way of life we have. The end game to all this is obviously the destruction of our way of life, so people are kind of wondering if we were all being fed a line about respecting our nation and all. So when people have a good job that fits with the way of life that we grew up being told to respect, and then we lose that job, everyon
    • It's true. Got laid off last year from an IT company, not IBM but similar. At age 45, I still look 30s but I still have had huge trouble getting interviews and when they do talk to me, I don't get call backs.

      My salary needs are not extreme. But my 15+ years of experience is not as useful to these people as somebody fresh out of school who will work long hours for lower pay.

      I can't blame them too much. When I go to the store, I normally look at whether there is a store brand item that will do the same t

  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Sunday February 28, 2016 @03:09AM (#51602213)
    As a consumer, boycott companies such as IBM, Sony and Disney. Period.
    • by eWarz ( 610883 )
      To be fair, IBM appears to be a minority in the market. I personally have never seen IBM in big (or small) business. Most of the smaller businesses use Dell, and most of the larger ones use Cisco. Maybe there is some industry that I've never worked in that swears by IBM, but in Healthcare, retail (ERP), or startups, I've never seen an IBM system outside of some ancient rogue server. Sure they are making money somehow...
      • by rl117 ( 110595 ) <> on Sunday February 28, 2016 @06:38AM (#51602487) Homepage

        Both of the two big companies I worked for were all IBM.

        The first was a manufacturing site. Every stage of production, process monitoring, lab qc, raw materials ordering and handling, etc. was all run from a single IBM AS/400 system. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that were still the case 17 years later. It worked. This company was also part of a big conglomerate, and the entire set of businesses were all running on big IBM kit. The only change I saw was that they had started to migrate to Compaq and Dell for user-facing systems, which were mainly used for 3720 terminal emulation (replacing the real terminals on token ring) and other tools.

        The second was a big pharma company. They were all IBM from servers to desktops and laptops. I liked the ThinkPad. I thought having to make a support call to India (from the UK) for every little (and large) support issue was a bit of a joke though.

  • Another thread that makes me ask why I bother to stand for the national anthem. Why respect a country that won't lift a finger to protect a way of life that people died to fight for?
  • It's no secret IBM has been offshoring as many workers as they possibly can. Before I was laid off from an unrelated company, I used to work with a huge team within IBM who worked to support my client. They were the client's entire IT department.

    Well, the client didn't like IBM's costs. Any conference call would have 30-40 IBMers from all over the place sitting in and billing for the time, even if most of them had nothing to contribute, and they loved these calls. And they didn't like leasing mainframe

    • >>And then where will IBM outsource next? China? Russia?

      They've already done that. As an IBMer, I'm a little surprised you didn't know that. I led projects between 2009-2014 that had entire teams from our labs in Beijing working on them. IBM has Software and Research labs there. In fact, I visited there twice for meetings with the team. IBM also has sales offices in Russia and a Science and Technology Center there.

  • The projects that IBM was hired to do and provide their software products and service expertise have been a colossal failure. I have no idea why they are keep getting called back for more software purchases and service requests but I think that there is some stuff going on with previous leadership being ex-IBM employees and back-room deals going on. The hands-on implementers that they provide are not very good and their escalation people can't resolve issue that are happening with their own software produ

  • It's hard to parse the terminology, spin, etc. but Cringely's words [] were "IBMâ(TM)s reorg-from-Hell launches next week: IBMâ(TM)s big layoff-cum-reorganization called Project Chrome kicks-off next week when 26 percent of IBM employees will get calls from their managers followed by thick envelopes on their doorsteps. By the end of February all 26 percent will be gone." As I read it, he was talking worldwide. And as I read the current news, it doesn't sound as if that happened. Or did it?

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein