Stop us if you've heard this one before: IBM sheds more workers – this time, tech sales

'Very big cut' hits teams in US


IBM is once again laying off folks – this time swinging its axing mostly through sales teams in the US.

This latest round of headcount slashing – coldly categorized internally as a "resource action" – started on Thursday, according to multiple sources. This reduction is taking place throughout North America, with some offices in Europe affected as well.

One well-placed person familiar with the upheaval told The Reg technical sales and software technical sales staff – particularly in Sales and Distribution units – are among the hardest hit by the cuts. The source noted the decision of who to axe is "all about costs," with some of the departing IBMers being senior, and presumably expensive, staff with stellar sales records and performance evaluations.

"Today's the day, and it's a very big cut, at least in tech sales. Buckle up," one of our tipsters told us. Staff who have stuck with Big Blue for decades, and several people within IBM Systems and Power teams, are also among those shown the door today.

A spokesperson for IBM was not available for comment.

"I got the call from my manager this morning," an unlucky worker wrote on the Watching IBM Facebook page. "After 29 years and 9 months, I've been RA'd. 90 days notice, and 30 days pay. What a disgrace. I'm 50 years old and have always been a top performer. Still in shock."

Elsewhere, IBM staff have been whispering about the "resource action," suggesting entire sales units have been cut in some cases. "They just laid off and wiped out an entire department at the Lincoln NE location," reported one anonymous staffer. "No notice: I just came in to work, and was laid off with 20-plus other employees."

This comes as IBM UK teams this week braced for yet more redundancies – and as the IT goliath cracks down on remote workers.

These layoffs are all part of an ongoing 2017 campaign of job purges at Big Blue. Despite promises to add jobs in the US, CEO Ginny Rometty has already swung the axe at workers both in America and abroad on several occasions this year.

Rometty has said that IBM is shifting its focus from traditional servers and enterprise markets toward new areas with better growth prospects, and thus will need to hire fresh workers with hip and trendy skills. Employees, however, are not buying it.

As with previous staffing overhauls, those within the rank and file suggest these layoffs are not about job skills, but are rather a not-so-subtle push by IBM to rid itself of older workers.

"They want more than skills, they want an injection of 'hip' and they are trying to create a new IBM," said a worker describing themselves as "lucky for now."

"Worry, especially if you're approaching 15 to 20 years in."

Anyone leaving IBM is not allowed back for another five years, all while the IT titan continues to open positions and recruit younger blood. Axed workers are given 90 days of notice – mainly to find a new role within Big Blue although this rarely happens, apparently – and up to a month of severance pay. ®

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