back to article First Dell, now IBM: 15,000 jobs face the axe at Big Blue, says union

IBM is set to spend another $1bn on job cuts this year to eliminate an estimated 15,000 jobs worldwide, according to trade union Alliance@IBM. The company has already spent the same amount of money last year on 'workforce rebalancing', its euphemism for redundancies. Big Blue's chief financial officer for finance and enterprise …

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Anonymous Coward

With all these IT redundancies running into the hundreds of thousands.....

Where will they all go?

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Anonymous Coward

True valid point. Staff are a cost center, in the good times we're safe (relatively), and in the bad we're screwed. In the case of HP the existing staffers (35,000) were let go or kicked out while at the same time cheaper graduates were being hired. Cisco, Intel and EMC also doing a "re-balancing", now Dell and IBM out with the axe.

We all know the corporates don't give a monkeys about the staff , only the quarterly figures and returning value to shareholders. My advice to anyone in tech is to have a plan B and fast.

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India

Of course!

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Already flooded market a few bucketfulls more won't hurt

I am getting the hell out of operational support for this reason. Market is flooded, and with all the axe swinging, it's only going to get worse.

I am lucky to have learned business and people skills in my time, so I am off to the dark side of IT project management.

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Anonymous Coward

recovery

like with crisis, somebody's got to pay for it, eh?

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Bronze badge

weird

I find it odd that the mainstream news continually tells us the financial crisis/recession/depression is over and things are improving yet we are continually being shown evidence to the contrary on the Reg where hundreds of thousands of people are being laid off in IT. Lay off 10000 IT people and you won't need as many HR staff, accounts staff, managers, coffee shop workers, caterers. Once their redundancy cash is gone they will stop employing plumbers and electricians and builders.

Have I missed something or is this still the downslope of a recession regardless of the upward bumps in house prices caused by people desperate to "kick start" the economy?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: weird

Certainly seems like it. I too call "bullshit" on the "recovery".

At my workplace:-

2010: No bonus

2011: No bonus, No pay rise.

2012: No bonus. No pay rise.

2013: No bonus. Pay cut.

2014: No bonus. Pay cut. Redundancies.

Getting worse, not better :-(

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Re: weird

Downslope of a recession? Or downslope of the foothills of the crash yet to come?

Since the 2008 problems sweet Fanny Adams has been done to dismantle the virtual fiat currencies, the myth of never-ending growth (cf. perpetual motion) and accompanying constant inflation (*) and the corruption that is pandemic within corporate and political power centres.

(*) This "growth" / inflation state is superfluous to all but bankers and does nothing whatsoever of value to anyone else, other than create the illusion of growing wealth, provided you ignore the similarly growing costs. All it does is create a state of flux which bankers can manipulate to cream off money for doing b*gg*r all that is actually of any use and for which there are perfectly good alternatives that don't require slimy middle-men profiteers.

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Re: weird

In another era it was called "trickle-down".

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Re: weird

Well, let's see. The "recovery" is mainly defined by two things: Falling unemployment and rising asset prices. One component of the falling unemployment rates is people exiting the workforce. When your unemployment insurance runs out, you have officially exited the work force and you contribute to the falling unemployment rate. Also, the decline in full time jobs in combination with the rise in part time jobs contributes to a rising total number of jobs even while aggregate employment falls. Repeat this for a few million people and it can be quite significant. This is why we see unemployment falling to multi-year lows, yet the total number of people not in the labor force continues to reach all-time highs. The other component is rising asset prices. Conveniently excluded from the "inflation" index, prices of stocks and real estate continue to be fueled by loose monetary policy. It's clear enough that stock prices have far outpaced earnings in the past two years. As for real estate, prices continue to rise while the number of mortgage applications continue to fall. The percentage of homes purchased in all-cash is reaching all-time highs, even surpassing the numbers in the 2005 housing bubble. This is pretty clearly signalling a speculative bubble and the greater fool theory. And of course, let's not forget the fact that governments have debt levels far higher than they ever were in the previous housing bubble, making them unable to tolerate interest rates even as high as the historically-low rates of 2005. Of course, they continue to pretend that their "tapering" or easing up on the gas pedal in any way means that they could ever think about pressing the brakes. We're on a bus that will blow up if it ever goes below 50MPH, but unfortunately there won't be any Keanu Reeves coming along to shuttle everyone off.

But doesn't it just sound nicer to point to unemployment rates and asset prices and say that we're "slowly but surely" recovering?

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Anonymous Coward

It's unfortunate

Sad to see more lost jobs. The fantasy economic recovery just keeps getting worse from what I see.

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Anonymous Coward

In the interest of balance I'd like to point out the company I work for, a direct (if much smaller) competitor of IBM, is growing revenues annually at around 20% with the hiring and payrises you expect in a company doing well.

I don't think the difficulties at large, dare I say dinosaurs indicates recession of failure of recovery

For all the IBMers that will lose their jobs, I'm hopeful you'll find a better deal and any one of the others companies that are part of the recovery

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"I'd like to point out the company I work for... is growing revenues annually at around 20% with the hiring and payrises you expect in a company doing well."

Confucius say: Your time will come, my son.

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Silver badge

Poor IBM...

When you let your bean counters run the company, you end up watching a slow death.

People are not all the same. Just because Joe sits in the cube next to me has the same job title, doesn't mean that he has the same skill sets and can do the same work that I can do. But to the bean counter, we are both FTEs with the same job description and therefore we should be replaceable.

That may be true of accountants or line workers, but not for people who have to think for a living.

To the bean counter... its cheaper to take the hit and make older workers redundant who are working in one field. than to retrain them on a new tech. Instead they hire a recent grad who knows the new tech.

Th reason this doesn't work is that the older guy has experience that can impact the decision making process and save the company from making a costly mistake. We can look at the Target breech and after the postmortem is completed, we should be able to see how the gaps in hiring and experience, manifested itself.

Of course HR and the Bean counters don't want you to see that. After all they want you to focus on all of the short term gains they made by getting rid of the more expensive staff.

In terms of the economy, its the same bean counters that make you redundant, also tell you that the economy is improving. They count a job pouring java in a coffee shop as the same as a java developer.

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Unhappy

Conga....join in the firing

Sadly, it's a bit like hanging out the washing....one does it so all others follow not to be the odd ones out of face heavier flack by delaying.

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Anonymous Coward

IBM is only interested in one thing: earnings per share. If that means selling off the entire company then that's what will happen, after which the company itself will be sold for the very little value that is left.

Here in the UK, people are leaving in droves. Personally I was waiting for this redundancy package as it was inevitable and now it's here, I'm off. As has been mentioned, the industry is far from dead and people are still buying servers, storage, networks etc. Less tin, yes, but more clever software and the human intelligence and skills that go along with it. IBM has a lot of these and is choosing to ditch the lot. Of course, it's going to be those who can easily find new jobs who take the redundancies. It always is.

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It's a massive challenge for the technology companies, just asserting its for this or that reason, looking for easy finger pointing to associate blame for missed opportunity is just naive.

We have to understand that all the former hardware behemoths are suffering from the innovators dilemma. As much as HP, IBM, Dell, Oracle et al. have been broadening their products and services, changing their business models, with differing degrees of success these types of actions are inevitable. After all, are you willing to wait for your next big project, while they train up consultants, architects, designers, support for 6-months as they are using existing employees?

Unless y'all are prepared to pay the price for traditional hardware and software, and stop migrating to the "cloud", these things are inevitable and you are part of the problem. Thats not blame, it's fact, after all your business is also focused on EPS or expense/revenue ratio too.

IBM made a significant shift to being a software and services company almost 20-years ago, none of this should be unexpected. Shifting workloads, skills, people is hard enough much less in an economy where there are massive geographic shifts as whole continents stabilize, and others shift in terms of how they consume and use technology, as well as their skills and employment practices.

Even simple things like the continued shift to home working has potential huge impact on employment trends, locations and skills.

If IBM, HP, Dell, Oracle where cities, governments etc. you might be right to hold them to a different standard. But I don't see anyone voting Governments out because they are paying too little tax?

It's not simply about focusing on earnings per share. While there is an argument that for the whole western industrial economy that the CEO, Executive pay has got out of proportion, it's important to remember that at least IBM, HP, Oracle are still public companies. Unless you've been paying very close intention, their EPS and share price have more than likely a direct impact on you, even if you work for a competitor. They are both direct and indirect investment funds for pension funds, Government/Health/Insurance investments etc. If they all take a dive, you can be hurt anyway, even if you don't work at those companies.

So lets stop pretending you are surprised this is happening. Understand that everyone in the "industry" from customers to design, R&D and the Execs are responsible for finding a ways to find new opportunities and help and support good employees both those where we are working, and also for those that have been, and are being let go. It's also going to come over time to facebook, google et al eventually they won't be able to buy and innovate their way into markets forever in just the same way the more traditional companies can now.

And yes, I'm an Executive at Dell.

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Anonymous Coward

>responsible for finding a ways to find new opportunities and help and support good employees both those where we are working, and also for those that have been, and are being let go

The problem with that is there is no focus on good/bad employees. Good employees have knowledge and skills outside their immediate area of expertise, and can adapt quite easily. When a batch of redundancies come around, HR set a number, X who need to go, and the first X who raise their hands get a nice pay-off and go and find another job. Those that are left are often those who either can't or don't want to adapt, although there are also plenty of other reasons why people don't want to leave, of course, such as family, location etc. This is far less relevant in an era of home working than it was in the past however.

In the meantime, those who do stay have to pick up the pieces: doing more work which they aren't trained or skilled for and will not be skilled or trained for, knowing that they will not be rewarded for doing so, so they will inevitably do a half-arsed job. Customers get worse service and the overall impression of the company, not just the part which has been trimmed, takes a nose-dive and customers will go elsewhere.

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PAW

It's what needs to be done

The Old IBM had a no layoff policy and the resulting top heaviness contributed mightily to the company's near extinction in the early 1990s. In 1986 IBM had 407,000 employees worldwide. By 1994, Gerstner had reduced this to 215,000.

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