IBM’s bets in the past have not really landed very well. The company was already “not flourishing,” to say the least, and coronavirus did it no favours either. Now, the company is laying off employees, in a very quiet fashion. That means that there is no official word on who is being fired, how many have been fired, and what they are being fired for. However, that does not mean we don’t know anything.
First and foremost, a report from Bloomberg said that the number could be in “thousands.” However, this might not be a typical layoff session. Experts suggests that the procedure is more about “changing the workforce” than “firing the workforce”, as the company continues to shift its focus to the cloud business. Thus, as it continues firing people whose skill set don’t match the portfolio and can’t be taught new skills, it’ll hire new people who measure up to the company’s new requirements. Thus, by the end of it all, the headcount in IBM might not have changed drastically.
Even though the company has not made any official announcements, the speculations stem from a statement that made its way to the public eye on Thursday. Company spokesman, Ed Barbini said, “IBM’s work in a highly competitive marketplace requires flexibility to constantly add high-value skills to our workforce. While we always consider the current environment, IBM’s workforce decisions are in the interest of the long-term health of our business.” This, along with expert opinions from the industry makeup for a strong case.
He also assured that IBM employees (or better yet, ex employees), will not be left hanging as he said, “Recognizing the unique and difficult situation this business decision may create for some of our employees, IBM is offering subsidized medical coverage to all affected U.S. employees through June 2021.”
Reports also suggest that most of the firings are focused in the North American region, with cuts affecting people in Pennsylvania, California, Missouri and New York.
A layoff.com thread illustrates the severity of the situation:
One person wrote: “Been with IBM for 4 years since they bought The Weather Company in 2016. Was working with TWC for one before IBM came in the picture. Everyone but one person on our team was RA’ed today. Brutal.”
Another commented: “Got the axe today as well. 15 years with the company, age in upper 30s, and excellent end of year assessments. All US employees across multiple squads and lines of business terminated. This was definitely one of the largest RAs [reduction in force] in history.”
IBM’s new CEO Arvind Krishna said just a little while back that the company has “enough financial stability.” This might be another indicator to the layoffs being more of a reorganisation than a financial issue. However, IBM isn’t exactly in the best shape it’s ever been so your guess is as good as ours.