IBM promises Trump-friendly domestic jobs, but is firing U.S. workers: report

As companies fall all over themselves to hype creation of U.S. jobs, IBM is catching flak for promising thousands of new ones while firing folks right and left, a new report said.

Company CEO Ginni Rometty said in a December USA Today op-ed that her firm would hire 25,000 people for U.S. positions in the next four years, 6,000 of them this year.

“She didn’t mention that International Business Machines Corp. was also firing workers and sending many of the jobs overseas,” said a Jan. 23 report from Bloomberg.

Big Blue wrapped up its third round of 2016 firings — or “resource actions” in IBM HR parlance — in late November, and job losses for the year likely totaled in the thousands, current and former employees told Bloomberg.

Many of the jobs were shipped to Asia and Eastern Europe, and the firings have continued into this year, employees said.

“This month, IBM started notifying more U.S. workers that they would be let go,” Bloomberg reported.

However, IBM said that over the next four years, its U.S. workforce will increase — if it can fill the 25,000 planned positions. Company spokesman Doug Shelton said IBM makes more than two-thirds of its services revenue in foreign lands.

A number of IBM workers were not pleased by Rometty’s language in the USA Today piece, and took to message boards and Facebook to gripe, according to Bloomberg.

“Some complained that the new recruiting drive wouldn’t offset jobs sent overseas in recent years. Others said Rometty had neglected to mention whether and how many people would be fired in the meantime. Some urged online communities to contact the Trump transition team and educate his aides about IBM’s history of layoffs and outsourcing.”

President Donald Trump, while awaiting his ascendance, pledged to impose a 35 percent tax on goods firms that move production overseas send back to the U.S. Some companies have since said they were putting on hold plans to move jobs out of the country.


Photo: IBM Quantum Computing Research Scientist Antonio Corcoles uses the IBM Quantum Experience on a tablet in the IBM Quantum Lab that shows an open dilution refrigerator. (Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)


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  • Johnathan

    This astonishingly raw and vivid ‘Open Letter to IBMs
    Board of Directors’ taken from an IBM Facebook consortium called “Watching
    IBM” provides compelling insight to what’s really going on inside IBM.
    The accompanying commentary is equally revealing.

    It may be found here:

    January 12, 2017 at 7:16am ·

    An Open Letter to IBMs Board of Directors

    Ours was the love affair of a lifetime, an attraction like no other…

    You caught me, mid-way through an accelerated career and promised me the moon.
    Starry eyed and awe inspired, I jumped on your ship and, with sleeves rolled
    high, set my sights on achieving great things with you. My love, loyalty and
    devotion to you filled me with pride; I was proud to be of a part of something
    (I thought) was bigger than myself.

    Like many relationships ours started with eagerness, constant devotion and an
    excitement that was difficult to put down at the end of a day. Time spent
    together was energizing and made me feel good about myself. I was honored to be
    on your arm and thought foolishly you felt the same about me.

    Bolstered daily by an endless barrage of internal emails and blogs on how
    “great” you were, over time I would come to regret falling for that
    inflated perception of collective worth, artifice as it was.

    As time passed, the excitement faded into a false sense of security. Although I
    didn’t know it at the time… you had a plan for me all along that included
    submission and fear.

    As budget cuts and corporate pressure slaughtered my teams whose jobs were
    continually outsourced to cheaper labor markets; I shifted with the rising
    tides from one internal job to another. Not once did you extend a hand to
    enhance my professional development or invest in me; instead you brutalized me
    with unjustified performance evaluations making me believe over time ‘I’ was at
    fault, that ‘I’ was a troubled narrative, despite client awards and accolades
    depicting the contrary.

    Relentlessly you continued to rape my self-esteem and erode my self-worth by
    not providing a raise in years… Instead, you made me believe, year after
    year, I was “lucky to have a job.”

    As I watched endless years of resource actions destroy the lives of loyal
    colleagues; my labor turned for you no longer out of the love and the pride I
    once held- but fear. Fear that year after year- quarter after quarter; I would
    be on the Resource Action list… For years, I choked on a silence which
    reinforced a cadre of executives who built their careers claiming the
    innovations of others…

    With surgical precision, you took meticulous care to ‘engineer’ a fear based
    work ethic supported by a corporate mantra of “what have you done for me

    I worked tirelessly, sacrificing my family and eventually allowed that
    engineered fear to erode the value I held for myself. The love I once had for
    you faded like an expansive sunset over a quiet horizon – that nobody saw…

    My respect for you long abated when I watched you withhold the last paycheck of
    a colleague who gave you 18 dedicated years of his life because he failed to
    complete his last petty assignment after being told his job was moving to
    India. I watched his world shatter… and you… you… stood over him waiving
    the means to feed his family or pay his mortgage with a flagrant and careless
    disregard that reverberated my soul….

    That day something in me changed, and the fear you methodically took years to
    hone within me, was replaced by an overwhelming sense of empathy, love,
    generosity and kindness… Not for you, but for something else I thought was
    still resident in the world….. A world divorced of you.

    That day I realized the road you once made me believe was paved in gold, is
    abounding with an immorality that fills me with derision for you. And so…

    I am writing to tell you our love affair is over. I have found the courage to
    shatter my own dreams and leave you…

    Your years of strategic malevolence and blatant abuse have driven me into the
    arms of a formidable competitor.

    While I come to that entity a little less of myself because of you… I still
    come to this entity with a better sense of myself that I would not have
    acquired if it wasn’t for you.

    For that… I am grateful,


    • Afro_American_Brit

      Thanks for posting this.

    • Mark

      Sad and truly disgusting that our domestic STEM talent has to go through this.

  • Rlee

    So what? It’s what happens in business. No one has a “right” to keep their job. Under performing departments have staff reductions all the time, in every company.

    • Afro_American_Brit

      Yeah, funny how the staff reductions don’t apply to management and that dumping US workers ends up increasing shareholder value – which just happens to be how top management is renumerated. Gee Whiz, sure takes a genius to figure out Greed is Good.

  • Greg

    Laughs, promises are easy to make, the reality is that these jobs will likely not be created, especially when Management is changed.
    President Trump is a lolly scramble for corporations, he will give much more away for next to nothing.

  • Mike Timber

    IBM is moving jobs to India (and become India Business Machine). If it thinks hiring cheap Indian labor is a sure thing, it needs a reality check. IBM is constantly in new workers training mode because its cheap Indian workers aren’t stupid. As soon they get IBM on their resume they look for jobs elsewhere with better pay. So, IBM gets Indian workers that work for $10000 a year, but 6 months of which were totally dedicated to training. After that anyone with brains will jump ships for better money. IBM gets what it pays for.

  • Kungaloosh

    paging @disqus_Gr8uDpg5XT:disqus and @AmericanITEngineer:disqus

    • AmericanITEngineer

      IBM is a well known outsourcer that has been screwing its own people for more than 15 years. The only thing that I can figure is that they must have great lobbyists and a very powerful legal team. The question never answered in this article is who will be doing the 25,000 new jobs that IBM creates? Most will probably go to work visa holders but we won’t really know because IBM no longer breaks out headcount by country in its financial statements. IBM can only regain traction when they reduce their dependence on work visas and show a commitment to their America based work force and customers.

    • Kungaloosh