IBM said to be binning off more staff as 'workforce rebalance' continues

Next logical step after rounds of voluntary layoffs

IBM is back in the layoff headlines after reportedly slashing jobs in its marketing and communications divisions. 

The news was initially reported today by CNBC, and doesn't include any mention of numbers. The layoffs were reportedly announced in a brief meeting with affected staffers today, a person with knowledge of the matter told CNBC.

IBM has made no secret of its plans to cut staff of late, as we noted in an exclusive story last month. Big Blue told us it was looking for employees to take a voluntary severance, primarily in its enterprise ops and support, Q2C, finance and operations divisions, the latter of which includes communications and marketing. 

IBM said last month that the voluntary layoffs stemmed from plans to rebalance its workforce and would involve "a very low single digit percentage of IBM's global workforce." The company said it expected to end 2024 with "roughly" the same level of employment as it had at the beginning of the year. 

"This rebalancing is driven by increases in productivity and our continued push to align our workforce with the skills most in demand among our clients, especially areas such as AI and hybrid cloud," we were told in February. 

IBM has also made no secret of plans to replace employees with AI. In an interview last year, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said he thought around 30 percent of IBM's back office staff, equating to roughly 7,800 people, could be replaced with the technology. Krishna said IBM would likely slow hiring in affected areas over the next five years, though what those areas are wasn't made clear. 

Since then, Krishna has also said that IBM was upskilling all its employees on AI, and rather than laying them off to be replaced with AI he saw those skills as a way to gain an economic advantage. 

"If you are more productive, that means you have a natural economic advantage against your competition, which means you're going to get more work," Krishna said late last year. "I fundamentally believe we'll get more jobs" 

When asked for comment, IBM only restated what it told us last month about staffing levels throughout 2024 and workforce realignment without confirming the news.

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