IBM has embarked on a major redundancy campaign, and is this week cutting staff all over the world. IBM’s Australian staff affected by the change have started receiving their notices. Some staff at Big Blue locally believe that as many as 20 per cent of the Australian contingent have been affected, although we have not been able to confirm that. However, tech press reports earlier this week speculated on cuts of that level.
UPDATE: The cuts are part of a huge global program of redundancies. To the US, Canada, UK and Australia you can now add France where it has just been revealed the company plans to cut 350 jobs. In February the German operation saw 30 per cent of marketing staff fired, according to company insiders.
Staff have been using social channels, like the Watching IBM Facebook page, to express their concerns.
IBM last reduced its global headcount in September last year. The company, renowned for reinventing itself, is shifting to a greater focus on cognitive computing.
The changes are reportedly being made as part of IBM’s “Accelerate Transformation” program, although there is some speculation that CEO Ginni Rometty is also scrambling to meet the commitments she made to shareholders when she took the job in 2012.
Rometty herself received her largest bonus ever last year, after the company stock surged 21 per cent.
The cuts follow similar moves in other parts of the world in recent days. IBM insiders suggest that jobs are being offshored to India — however that does not gel with huge job cuts at IBM India last year. Nor is there any evidence of a wholesale shift of roles to India on the internal IBM job ticketing system, Which-50 has been told, despite the program being sold internally as a relocation exercise.
Instead, it appears that whole classes of jobs are being cancelled. For instance, IBM locally is believed to be firing all of its bid managers — at least according to comments on the Watching IBM Facebook page.
One anonymous poster on Facebook noted, “I was told yesterday that I am on the Australian ‘RA list’. My manager is trying to get me off the list but is being told that they will need to pick someone else to take my place. Apparently notices are being delivered until 7th March for this round. I was told my role would be lost due to co-location (let’s really call this off-shoring) and moved to India. But there is no tickets to hire in India. This is pathetic. Everyone’s being whipped for non performance because of poor management.”
Another wrote, “In IBM Australia has just handed redundancy notice to all Bid Managers. So as of 1 June All Bid Managers will no longer exist. No exceptions. This was done under the ‘Accelerate Transformation’ Program and I am almost certain that this will be a global change not just in Australia.”
We have reached out to IBM for comment.