back to article As many as 100,000 IBM staff axed in recent years as Big Blue battles to reinvent itself from IT's 'old fuddy duddy'

An ongoing age-discrimination lawsuit against IBM by one of its former star cloud salesmen has this week blown the lid off Big Blue's inner struggle to reinvent itself as a hip'n'cool place for millennials. Buried in court paperwork filed by lawyers acting on behalf of ex-IBMer Jonathan Langley, is, among other explosive …

  1. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    And then one day...

    Hey Joe, Acme, Inc. has an urgent need to get their CICS problems handled, ASAP!

    Joe: CICS? WTF is CICS?

  2. CujoDeSoque

    "As a result, around 50 per cent of its new hires have been hired in the past five years, and now half of its total workforce are millennials, according to Big Blue’s CEO Ginni Rometty."

    That's fairly confusing. If I were hired five years ago, I somehow don't think I'd be a new hire. They must have outsourced the quotes and it lost a bit in the translation.

    But the real elephant in the room is where they are hiring and where they are firing. So they fired 100K people making an average of 80K and hire the same number making 20k in Malaysia, India, Costa Rica etc.

    I'm sure that should the verdict go against IBM they will keep keep appealing or come to a confidential settlement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The US justice system is fundamentally flawed. Letting any company walk away if they pay enough dough while forcing the plaintiff to mum is equal to granting those big companies a free ticket to persevere on their flawed business practices.

      1. jason_derp

        Doesn't sound flawed at all. Sounds like it's working exactly as intended. Unfortunately.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Doesn't sound flawed at all. Sounds like it's working exactly as intended. Unfortunately.

          But it isn't justice.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Maybe the author had "new hires" on their mind as they kept using it. I suspect it should have read more like:

      "As a result, around 50 per cent of its new hiresworkforce have been hired in the past five years, and now half of its total workforce are millennials, according to Big Blue’s CEO Ginni Rometty."

    3. gnarlymarley Bronze badge

      "As a result, around 50 per cent of its new hires have been hired in the past five years, and now half of its total workforce are millennials, according to Big Blue’s CEO Ginni Rometty."

      That's fairly confusing. If I were hired five years ago, I somehow don't think I'd be a new hire. They must have outsourced the quotes and it lost a bit in the translation.

      But the real elephant in the room is where they are hiring and where they are firing. So they fired 100K people making an average of 80K and hire the same number making 20k in Malaysia, India, Costa Rica etc.

      I'm sure that should the verdict go against IBM they will keep keep appealing or come to a confidential settlement.

      Most companies that I have been employed with do not do layoffs at the same time they are hiring. These companies realized that if they hire, they have to train, so why not offer the job internally first as it would be less training. From my experience, I would gather that it does not bode well for IBM.

      1. Blank Reg

        If there isn't one already then I see a class action lawsuit in their future. And settling that could run in to the billions if even half of the 100k that they let go sign up.

        And negative PR would be hard to spin.

      2. fredesmite Bronze badge

        re-training is seldom done

        That is the OLD way of human asset management.

        Why waste months of salary on a 15 year old employee making a $130K, when they can quickly be replaced with a stiff making 1/2 of that in a cesspool shittHole country and get immediate return on investment ?

        EMPLOYEES ARE A BURDON . THEY COST MONEY . YOU ARE NOTHING MORE THAN A LUMP OF COAL WAITING TO BE BURNED OUT AND SHOVED OUT FOR THE NEXT BATCH

    4. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re "half of its total workforce are millennials"

      Millennial means under 40 years old, 50% is about right if employment range is 16 - 65.

      Must stop using millennial to mean whipper-snapper.

  3. vaporland

    no wonder IBM is dying

    they erased without a backup.

    1. vaporland

      when I was a System/370 operator in the 70s / 80s...

      ...all the computer operators did drugs or drank on 2nd and 3rd shift.

      It's amazing how crystal meth enhanced one's ability to operate a laser printer the size of a car.

      The IBM 3800 Laser Printer could empty an entire box of 4000 pages in four minutes or less, and I could keep up!

      If there were still computer operator jobs available today millennials would be all over them. Of course, there's no switchboard or elevator operator jobs either... Sad!

      1. MalIlluminated

        Re: when I was a System/370 operator in the 70s / 80s...

        In my experience, this kept up through the mid-noughties at least. Before I worked in technology, I was in a physical profession, providing "relocation services" under corporate contract for their people. Moving furniture. Say what you will, I never had to worry about the job I had just concluded again past the end of the day. I'd still be doing it if the money was there and my body would take it. Technology was a lot more fun when it was a hobby.

        Anyway, the company had contracts with Sun Microsystems, Yahoo, Google, etc, and packing up the belongings of their employees, I got to see a side of them that I doubt their colleagues ever did. Meth use in particular was a persistent theme. Especially at Sun Micro around the time that Oracle devoured them. I can empathize with the decision to get high, under the circumstances. Sun was an awesome company, and from what I heard, the best place to work in the Valley at the time. Being made redundant and watching everything you'd built get chewed up and masticated into paste by Big Red must've hurt.

      2. niksgarage

        Re: when I was a System/370 operator in the 70s / 80s...

        I think in Hursley we had four 3800s running and that was a full-time job for one CE just to keep them running. There were some great problems .. like when the fuser wasn't quite hot enough, and all of the letters would form individually, but didn't stay stuck to the paper. There'd be a pile of tiny letters by the Burst-Trim-Stacker feature on the end.

    2. AK565

      Re: no wonder IBM is dying

      Erasure.

      Exactly. They fire their doohickey expert and when the doohickey breaks down they have no idea what to do. So they scrap the doohickey and replace it with a thingamabob that costs twice as much to buy and run. This is followed by a claim that buying the dookickey was a mistake to begin with. Ridiculous? That's my point.

  4. I'm Dugly

    You can count on IBM

    To lie its arse off

  5. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    Scumbags...

    The title of this post says it all.

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Id I were in the age group they're now hiring, I'd have to think twice before even applying. They probably won't keep these new hires around after they reach a certain point in salary. Yet, the old guys in charge will hang around forever and collect their mega-dollar bonuses. Definitely a rigged system for a company that seems to be dying slowly.

    1. James Anderson Silver badge

      ER it's dying rather quickly. The all out "cloud strategy" or "let's copy Amazon" has failed. Watson has failed. The only divisions making real money are zSeries and mainframe software.

      On the other hand for a mediocre techy getting a job at a company that hands out redundancy money is not such a bad move.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The redundancy money is not worth concerning yourself with as it is so low. You would have to survive for more than twenty years to be get a decent return. If you survive more than ten years you are either excellent at your job or a manager.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What redundancy?

        Latest word is that max you'll get in the US of A is 4 weeks, irrespective of years of service, and then only if you sign a cast iron guarantee you won't take IBM to court on any grounds whatsoever! Oh yes, and you'll train your replacement, too

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Re: What redundancy?

          How can you train a replacement if you are redundant?

        2. Blank Reg

          Re: What redundancy?

          That's mainly a US problem, in the rest of the civilized world you can't treat employees so poorly. Here in Canada you can expect anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks per year of service for anyone that's been there for more than a few years. If you're older or management then it will be towards to top end and possibly higher.

        3. ROC

          Re: What redundancy?

          I was lucky getting laid off in 2007 after 6.5 years with IBM. At that time, the policy was a week's pay for each 6 months, so that was 13 weeks' pay, plus unused vacation (a fair amount of my 4 weeks per year as it was in May before I had used much). From what I read about ensuing layoffs, it was less with each round.

          I also had to "train" my replacements during my last month in order to get the payout, but that was a joke as I was trying to teach some Brazilian WebLogic guys how to support the Oracle Application Server (OAS) instances that I installed from scratch. Between their heavy accents and the constant buzz of Skype phones they used, and my impaired hearing, that was a joke.

          The main (US-based) customer I supported got so fed up with "communication problems", that they insisted the support be brought back to the US, so the guy I mentored in NYC took over. That was about 2 years after I left, and I was getting settled back in with my employer prior to the IBM to support OAS. That outfit, being a UK-based company (I worked for US subsidiary), was much more kindly disposed to all the people it also was laying off over the years, to the extent that when my probable "turn" came a few years ago, I was able to volunteer the year I turned 65, so I got a big layoff package based on 18 years of service (before + after IBM) to go with the start of Social Security, and 8 months of medical insurance (kind of complicated the switch to Medicare the next year, but worked out OK, and I still get a med reimbursement allowance throughout retirement). No way I would have done so well at Big Blue.

          However, it's no wonder the UK company's stock is pretty stagnant...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They've been at this for a while

    I contracted for IBM beginning in '09 and finishing up in late '12 and it was not hard to find complaints on internal discussion forums about the difficulty in making a move from one of the groups that was being phased out to another up-and-coming group. People were contacting managers about posted positions that they were qualified for and... crickets. It appears that the purging of the more experienced IBMers started more like ten years ago.

    1. Jaybus

      Re: They've been at this for a while

      Certainly nothing new, and I say the practice is far older than that. Certainly my experience with it dates back to the early 1990's when the savings and loan (US version of a building society) that I worked for as a young software engineer was caught up in the savings and loan scandal and "fixed" by being acquired by a large US bank. The older experienced guys with substantially larger salaries than mine were immediately sacked. They didn't sack me or the other younger guys until just after the data conversion was completed.

      Millennials: The career lesson to take out of this is to never, ever have any loyalty to the company you work for and always move on to the highest bidder at the earliest opportunity.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: They've been at this for a while

        Not even the highest bidder in pay terms, but the one most likely to teach you new, usable skills. That has been so for a long time.

        1. Reg Reader 1

          Re: They've been at this for a while

          That's a balancing act. New skills are great but can largely be learned on your own time if you're interested. A bigger pay, for equivalent time, can set you up for earlier retirement, but it is a balancing act and as stated by someone else don't be too loyal as that will not be reciprocated.

          1. Benson's Cycle

            Re: They've been at this for a while

            I don't actually agree with that. If you have a demanding job, the attention you can give to learning as you get older with more responsibilities becomes less. But also, theoretical learning is nothing compared to learning on a job where product has to be shipped. I have done both.

            1. Reg Reader 1

              Re: They've been at this for a while

              I agree that learning new skills is good and doing it on the job can be very effective. Like I said it's a balancing act and probably depends on where you are in your career. As with most things there is a lot of grey area so taking the better paying job may not be best option over the long run. One does need to evaluate each opportunity. Sometimes one might start at a lower paying job than they could have gotten because if it can lead to a better future position. However, as many companies appear to be moving away from giving employees careers that needs to be carefully evaluated.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The company hires 50,000 employees each year, and spends nearly a half-billion dollars on training our team."

    That'll be nearly half a billion spent on replacing the expertise that was shoved out of the door. Brilliant idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That'll be nearly half a billion spent on *failing to replace* the expertise that was shoved out of the door.

      FTFY.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        @AC, But they now have 50,000 employees with half a billion dollars worth of expertise in selling you,... er,... stuff you'd probably rather get elsewhere.

        Now IBM have bowed out of the laptop, PC and server market, and only do cloud, mainframe, and that Watson thingy, I can't see us ever spending money with them. We aren't a small organisation, 6000+ seats, but for cloud we have Azure/O365 and S3, we have Hyperconverged servers, and no need for AI.

        Being ex-IBM I'd always hoped I'd get to wear the boot on the other foot and grill a salesguy,.... but it won't happen.

    2. CujoDeSoque

      So they have to be counting the people they're replacing with cheaper labor as training.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "That'll be nearly half a billion spent on recruitment costs replacing what was shoved out of the door."

      FTFY

      The "training" consists of time lost by people staring at Notes, Domino and OpenOffice and realizing that doing things is no longer important. If this is unclear, talking to IBM managers about planning and project management where everything is talked about in months and years rather than days and weeks should complete your training.

  9. trevorde

    Last chance saloon

    If you've been rejected by Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Salesforce, Apple, Adobe, Oracle, Intel, LinkedIn, SAP, Uber, Boeing, HP, and so on, there's always IBM.

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Last chance saloon

      Or Rover Group...

      By the time Brexits over we'll only be producing electric wheelchairs

      "Vauxhall - a British Company (owned by the French)"

      Is there still an IBM presence in the UK, because if there is couldn't our government put the boot in over this?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Last chance saloon

        Down vote not cause you're wrong but don't shoehorn Brexit in. It's not like it's hard to find articles on it.

      2. Gwaptiva

        Trust the Brits

        to produce electric wheel chairs, that they'll then have to push around by hand...

        1. Sven Coenye
          Coat

          Re: Trust the Brits

          The C5 is going back in production?

      3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Last chance saloon

        @Jemma the advert states 'Vauxhall a British brand since 1903'. It doesn't claim it's a British company, and the provenance of a 'brand' is iffy at best.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Last chance saloon

      And if IBM turns you down, well ... surely there's SOMETHING between there and DXC?

      1. fredesmite Bronze badge

        Re: Last chance saloon

        wipro , HCL ,.. and other hordes of Injun cesspools .

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Immoral Bastards Mafia

    1. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

      I've Been Moved (offshore)

      1. fredesmite Bronze badge

        India Business Machines.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    "Top emerging talent"

    The reason IBM likes 'em young has nothing to do with "talent" so much as salary. It's cheaper to hire and fire young people. Somebody out of college is probably eager to suffer IBM's bullshit for a few years to pad their resume and then they'll move on. Rinse and repeat. Who needs people with experience or knowledge any way when they cost so much?

    Gotta feel sorry for new hires though. Their 1st day arriving at IBM, their beaming shining faces, the expectation of using cool technologies. And then their new manager informs them them they've been assigned to team maintaining Lotus Notes.

    1. MrBanana

      Re: "Top emerging talent"

      They won't be maintaining Lotus Notes. Like the older employees, many applications have also been shuffled off, out of IBM. A whole bunch of Lotus, Rational, and other products are now maintained by HCL.

      IBM are on the downward slope of the rollercoaster, and continuing to pick up speed. But there is no upward trajectory in their future, not even a water splash, just a solid buffer at the end.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: "Top emerging talent"

        I didn't know that but I'm unsurprised to learn that HCL is an outsourcing company based in India.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The reality is more like IBM gets rids of expensive older employees and replaces them with cheaper kids on crappier salaries and less benefits.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its exactly that...

      Its nothing to do with lack of modern skills, nothing to do with not having the groovy image, its everything to do with those employees having the nerve to have had a career and accrued a decent pay packet despite recent years of zero raises.

      And its not just IBM either... HPE, DXC and others are playing this game.

      However even if this is the selection basis, its still ageism and still going to land them (all) in court.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laid off last year, age 60+,with 22+ years of service

    IBM ageist - hell yeah!

  14. naive

    Lets hope they make an example out of this

    Replace the word "age" by something like "non aryan" or "non white" and a pretty grim picture emerges.

    Age discrimination should for the law, be treated equivalent to racial discrimination.

    It is an issue all over the world that in companies old guys on higher management positions decide that other guys have to be booted based on their age.

    Since IBM is a well known company, it would be great if they either have to pay a very substantial fine, or the management involved faces jail time for this.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Lets hope they make an example out of this

      Age discrimination is against the law, but everyone knows that it is either consciously or subconciously (Even decent law-abiding recent grads put into management like to surround themselves with other young recent grads, just as we all tend to stick to our tribes.) a big issue in tech.

      And age discrimination is very hard to prove, because management can argue that employee X's skills really did get stale, or that they aren't as responsive/flexible as younger empoyee Y who doesn't have the family responsibilities and perhaps actually does have a higher level of enthusiasm and energy than X does after 20 or 30 years in the workforce.

  15. horse of a different color

    I’d much rather work with a greybeard than a hipster.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Hell yes. The problem (IME) is that hipsters don't have the phrase "I don't know" in their vocabulary, and so more often than not blunder through things not really knowing what they are doing. Greybeards on the other hand are perfectly willing (again IME) to admit what they don't know and get someone who does know to do it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not only that, but greybeards (of which I am one) will learn from the person who *does* know how to do it, so next time the question is asked.....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          As a tier 2 who goes to my grey beards for assistance with odd issues I can attest to the importance of having experienced and knowledge people on the payroll. I try very hard not to bother them as they are not replaced as they retire so there is a decreasing pool of the very knowledgeable to go to.

  16. imanidiot Silver badge

    The red flag

    As an engineer I WANT a company dealing with either old or existing tech to have a good flock of greybeards around. They're the actual encyclopedia of the company. They're the ones that have stored all the lessons in a way that can never be recorded. Even I as a 30-something year old have already gathered knowledge that I don't even know I have. There's so much that you learn along the way that never shows up in a "lessons learned" list (if your company even lets you have the time to make those). A company existing mainly of overenthusiastic 20 year olds? They better be selling something truly revolutionary or extremely cheap (with the understanding support from them will be effectively 0) for me to want to deal with them.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: The red flag

      We've seen what overenthusiastic 20-year-olds come up with... Uber (hey, taxi!), Busr (I jest), Bikr (I jest), Scootr (I jest)... But I'm not really jesting. It's stuff the 'old greybeards' have seen before, used before, had before. It's not a grand invention. It's a rehash.

      Yeah, yeah, downvote me. Blah blah. Yours, a greybeard.

    2. batfink Bronze badge

      Re: The red flag

      We're partly the encyclopedia of the company because, for all the usual reasons, we've never actually got around to writing the important stuff down anywhere...

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: The red flag

        The thing is, can you actually, when promted "cold", write all those important things down? The devil is in the details and it's quite often difficult to remember those small things that seem insignificant that matter. On top of that it's often not single things or singular experiences that make the greybeard valuable. It's the whole stack of all the things they know that lets them make connections between all the disparate facts, events and errors thats leads to that lightbulb moment. That is not something that can be replaced by a wiki page.

        1. MrBanana
          Thumb Up

          Re: The red flag

          Spot on. I started learning computers by building logic gates and making shift registers. From that to machine code, to assembler, wrote a compiler (badly), explored a bunch of high level languages, worked on 8-bit up to 128-bit hardware, and used more operating systems than you can shake a stick at. Of course, all ancient knowledge now, but at some point you'll be staring at some dump file from the very latest piece of software, on a shiny new platform, and think "hang on, I've seen this before..." and it wouldn't have been on stackoverflow.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One rule for us and another for them

    Many executives must as been at IBM for more than 5 years - how many of them were "let go"?

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: One rule for us and another for them

      Eventually their jobs will be outsourced too. Or rather, their companies will cease to exist and the new Far Eastern ones will not employ them. But they will be sitting on a fat cushion.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: One rule for us and another for them

        Yes, the problem with execs getting pushed out is that they generally get at least a few hundred thousand dollars in severance, plus an ongoing benefits package. If you are a CEO, those packages go up to millions, unless you are caught embezzling or sleeping with interns. Especially recently, for line employees, it seems that IBM has been giving them a month or three of severance pay and a similar term of post-employment health coverage--at least in the U.S.

  18. SVV Silver badge

    now half of its total workforce are millennials

    They've looked back at when they were most successful and concluded that success can best be achieved by hiring people with beards.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, I've noticed this. They also seem to be replacing expensive western employees with cheaper younger staff from India. If this is not possible then they seem to chose staff from eastern european counties. Sadly the service and products seem to reflect this.

    I wonder how long this elephant can dance to the new cloud music? It's Been Moved into Indian Botched Madness.

  20. fredesmite Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    IBM -- India Business Machines

    The poor suckers at Red Hat will soon find this out.

    1. Jaybus

      Re: IBM -- India Business Machines

      Except of course for the Red Hat senior management who threw their former employees to the lions in exchange for a big fat $34 billion pay day. I would imagine they are quite pleased with themselves.

  21. fredesmite Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    No one over 40 is ever seen at a IBM site

    IBM has laid off between 50,000 and 100,000 employees – a little under a third of its global workforce – while aggressively hiring as well. As a result, around 50 per cent of its staff have been hired in the past five years, and now half of its total workforce are millennials, according to Big Blue’s CEO Ginni Rometty.

    1. David Murphy

      Re: No one over 40 is ever seen at a IBM site

      Got to remember that Big Blue’s CEO Ginni Rometty got the job since she was previously the Cutter-in-Chief

  22. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    Big Blue wearing Red Hat

    Hey Fido Dido, don't be a fuddy duddy when you can become a faddy daddy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big Blue wearing Red Hat

      Give it a few years and the board will rebrand Red-Hat as something like New-Hat. This will be due to a new business strategy saying the original red hat is now too old-hat.

      Of course what they will will not advertise is the replacement of old-hat developers with younger new-hat ones from India. Customers will start to call it crap-hat.

  23. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

    As an ex employee, the saddest thing is..

    Laid off in 07 for Indian jobs

    Laid off as a contractor in 2015 (fool me twice) for ... guess

    Nothing against India, I went there to train but they're on less than £4k a YEAR each with no expertise and have to follow scripts..

    But the saddest thing? Apart from the mistreatment issues..

    LOTUS NOTES HAS OUTLASTED ME

    LOTUS NOTES HAS OUTLASTED SO MANY

    FUCK LOTUS NOTES

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: As an ex employee, the saddest thing is..

      FUCK LOTUS NOTES

      Thanks but no thanks, an STD is not on my list of things to acquire.

  24. oldtaku
    Pirate

    'Excited about IBM'

    'so there's clear excitement about IBM's strategy and direction for the future'

    There is nobody excited about IBM's strategy or its future. Maybe a handful of execs. But if you're going to IBM it's because a jerb is a jerb.

  25. Sleep deprived
    Happy

    Don't tell my girlfriend I work at IBM

    She thinks I'm a disruption engineer at Uber.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Don't tell my girlfriend I work at IBM

      Won't work - she would know that if you work for Uber you don't have time to have a girlfriend.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a bit of info from Stacktrace...

    I know that Stacktrace is not exactly scientific, but according to their stats, the average software developer is about 28.5 years old. Half of all developers leave the field before age 40. (!!!!!) Just three percent of developers are aged 50-60, and just 0.8% of developers are over age 60.

    I am in a small company(now, from HP ten years ago where I was ageism laid off) where a few of us in the over-55 age range know a LOT of the underlying system and the subject matter. Younger guys have come and gone, and never learned the underlying business logic. Thus, they were relegated to UI and other areas where business logic was unnecessary. We are in a place where our knowledge (over the new and shiny) is valued.

    Here is another thing about the millennials and new grads... in their lives beginning from college, they have NEVER had to learn a new computer language, and very few new technologies in order to stay relevant. Conservatively speaking, I have worked in OVER 30 computer and scripting languages. I have had to in order to keep relevant and employed. The later generations have a HUGE shock coming when everything they have ever known shifts... as it did from basic/fortran/cobol to C to C++ to java, with all of the different operating systems and scripting languages. Once out of college, nobody teaches you these new things and it is up to the individual to stay relevant. Most young devlopers have only EVER worked in Java (some C++ or a visual language), and have worked mainly in either MS or Linux. Now, I am generalizing here, but you get my point. Since Java came on the scene in the middle 90's, the field has been dominated by Java/javascript and all of their supporting frameworks, and these folks have NEVER had to retool or remake themselves... ever!

    The most important thing is to not take a position that pigeon-holes you in a dying technology. Find a shop open to new technology, and keep learning.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ageism is rampant - try being 58 and sending out resumes/CV to any company, except for fast food and Walmart greeter positions.

  28. spold Bronze badge

    ....the tip of an iceberg

    It ignores all the people that have been eased out using various cunning plans.....

    - Being encouraged to retire early

    - Being encouraged to retire early or quit by moving them into a shit job

    - Being encouraged to retire early or quit by making life unacceptable such as having to fly to another location every week

    - Forcing roles back into an office they don't have any reason to commute to (so much for flexible working) while making it difficult to reserve a desk

    - Forcing people into a limited number of locations meaning you can uproot your family or fuck off (targets older workers who have put down roots)

    - Setting quotas for annual review ratings

    - Telling resourcing people in Costa Rica not to staff you onto projects

    - Setting the expectation you might be axed soon and the package is shit so go find a new job now and quit

    - Finding ways not to pay any bonuses

    - Generally ignoring you and hoping you bugger off

    ... the list goes on, anyway these don't end up in the layoff numbers.

  29. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The longer you stay, the sooner you'll go

    Another day at the IBM employment death camp.

    Use'em, abuse'em, and train your replacement.

  30. I.Geller Bronze badge

    IBM makes a terrible mistake continuing to build models for its Watson AI! Instead it must use one common dictionary, like Oxford or Merriam. You see - AI has the rigid rules. One of these rules - no models, no hand-made Watson dictionary!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Unique

    While being caught may be unusual, ageism is hardly unique in corporations. The sad part is, most of the young new hires really are not that good (this isn't new and novel, it has always been this way). The main attractions are low(er) cost, and malleability, not really raw ability. New employees from Uni don't know any better so you can mold them into nice toy soldier cannon fodder to do the development the way you want it done with infinite reservoirs of free overtime, regardless of any future utility of skills learned. There are more to hire out there to replace the ones used up especially since top talent isn't being recruited.

    IBM used to hire really good people at relatively low pay, because they could. The ability of these people was frequently mismanaged, and now IBM can't hire them like that anymore... the IBM name cachet is still there, but only to punch the ticket and move on. The joke now at IBM is that it isn't worth learning a new hire's name until he/she has been working for the company for at least 3 years, because like in line combat units, lifespan is short so don't get to know them well till survival is demonstrated.

    1. I.Geller Bronze badge

      Re: Not Unique

      The problem rather into IBM hired only the best craftsmen, programmers and never thinkers.

  32. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Flame

    Get them while they're naive

    'nuff said.

    1. I.Geller Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Get them while they're naive

      I did

      1. I.Geller Bronze badge

        Re: Get them while they're naive

        For example IBM began Watson as a chain of models, where each Watson model is distinct from others because it uses its unique hand-made dictionary, right after I got my patent on the structuring.

        1. A computer system implemented method of creating and using structured data from a textual input, the method comprising: providing a table for structured data; receiving at least one textual input; dividing at least a portion of the textual input into one or more paragraphs; for each of the paragraphs, creating a profile by extracting one or more predicative phrases from the paragraph; for each of the predicative phrases, extracting a noun from the predicative phrase; for each extracted noun, receiving a textual definition from the dictionary corresponding to the noun of the predicative phrase; dividing the textual definition for each noun into one or more definition paragraphs, and creating a profile for each definition paragraph by extracting one or more predicative phrases of the definition paragraph; comparing the profile of each definition paragraph to the profile of the paragraph containing the respective noun based upon an algorithm for compatibility; and adding the predicative phrase containing the noun into the table for structured data if the algorithm for compatibility is satisfied.

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Re: Get them while they're naive

          And that concludes the case for why software patents should not be legal.

          1. I.Geller Bronze badge

            Re: Get them while they're naive

            For the first time in all Humanities discovered and patented real fact: AI-parsing. I've made all the Humanities accurate.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The scramble across many companies to pander to millennials just doesn’t make sense. It’s pretty obvious by now that it would be best to hang onto Gen X workers then hire from the generation after the millennials. Whether it’s commercial productivity or culture or anything, millennials have nothing to offer.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I took the separation package ...

    I had to confirm in legal terms that I would never again work for IBM, either directly, or for a subcontractor, as a permanent or contract resource for any IBM location in the world. I also had to confirm in legal terms that I would never disclose the terms of my departure from IBM, except to legal council or my named financial advisor.

    I decided to take the money, sign the forms and put IBM firmly in my rear view mirror.

  35. Electronics'R'Us
    Holmes

    IBM New Jersey operations?

    I have never worked for IBM (I am more of a hardware type although I have done a lot of code), but I remember getting laid off from a company in New Jersey (around 2000). State law was that if a person over 40 (I think) was let go for any reason the company was assumed to have engaged in age discrimination.

    (Yes, I was over 40 at the time).

    I was given 3 months pay and my health insurance (for myself and my son) paid for 6 months to agree to not sue them for age discrimination.

    Would be interesting to see how many people were culled from the NJ operations and at what age.

  36. Daedalus Silver badge

    Comfort and Joy

    Who remembers fictional veteran "Dickie" Bird working in Glasgow local radio and being ordered around by bright young things who think that tomorrow belongs to them? (yes, that's a "Cabaret" reference). And indeed, a non-fictional veteran radio host told me of similar experiences before he quit to go freelance. That was in the 80's.

    Plus ca change...

  37. spold Bronze badge

    Artificial Intelligence

    It used to be a joke that you could calculate an IBMers salary by measuring the length of their title.

    Now the HR "AI" system just multiplies length of title x age x years of service and the highest scores are on the next axe list...

    1. I.Geller Bronze badge

      Re: Artificial Intelligence

      IBM uses Watson "models", where each model has its own dictionary and a set of synonyms. IBM HR "AI" system compares patterns, which are obtained using these dictionaries.

  38. IGnatius T Foobar !

    India Business Machines?

    Weren't they some sort of 20th century typewriter company or something?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worse in Australia

    In 2009, IBM had 15,000 employees and contractors in Australia and New Zealand. Ten years later that number is 5,000. The only reason IBM's contraction globally isn't as bad as that in A/NZ is that so many jobs have shifted to India. The latter now has more IBM employees than the US.

  40. Cynicalmark
    FAIL

    Naked IBM

    Nothing to see here - move along........

    Yep, old Blue spouting yeller as usual ...... been doing it for decades the old fsckucked up dinosaur

  41. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Linux

    IBM Infrastructure

    I imagine a giant moving walkway operating at a glacial pace. In go the young.....out go the middle aged carrying a cardboard box containing their personals...........

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Breaching UK Discrimination Legislation ..

    100% -Ongoing manipulation of “RA” scoring and selection processes to target older (& consequently more expensive) employees for redundancy. Irrespective of ongoing skills development, re-invention & contribution levels.

    A very sad reflection on a once great company, now with a bullying based culture that started under SJP, with many layers of management targeting client execution and coal face based employees for multiple rounds of RA’d consequently to be avoided as an employer at all costs.

    Routinely using legal & fiscal levers to keep the lid on legally dubious and immoral activity - avoid.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Breaching UK Discrimination Legislation ..

      I'd be interested to know the period of history when the description "great" applied to IBM. "Dominant" perhaps, but most of their dominance related to a huge motivated sales force, and some of the "packaging" that Microsoft were later crucified for. IBM's 60's vintage machines were horrible to operate and program. They had the "we don't use standards, we are the standard" attitude. Even into the 80's and 90's they were constantly missing the boat and carried on mostly because of big-iron business. Companies like that become bloated and complacent, and eventually either sink completely or do massive layoffs. Hence today.

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