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Bob Evans
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Global CIO: IBM Layoffs Mostly Outside U.S., Despite Media Indignation

Undercutting media hand-wringing over IBM "abandoning the U.S. workforce," IBM says the cuts took place primarily in Europe and Asia.

"The Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 Web site, which tracks layoffs at IBM, reports that some 2,544 IBM employees have been let go this week, with more to follow," writes Pacskowski. "And unsurprisingly, the group says off-shoring is, once again, to blame.

"Evidently, RA'd employees are being asked to train their overseas replacements before they're cut. 'IBM is shifting work offshore,' Alliance@IBM national director Lee Conrad told me. 'The company appears to be abandoning the US workforce'," concludes Paczkowski.

That's quite a theory, even from someone as hyper-partisan as Conrad. But "unsurprisingly," as Paczkowski would say, Conrad's unfounded claim and Paczkowski's unfair reporting are at odds with reality because IBM reported in its earnings call yesterday that most of those recent layoffs took place outside the U.S.

So if it is true as Conrad and Paczkowski claim that IBM is "abandoning the U.S. workforce," then how would they describe the even worse fate that's befalling IBM's non-U.S. workforce, where the brunt of the cutbacks occurred?

Here are three separate but related comments on the layoffs made by IBM CFO and senior vice-president Mark Loughridge during yesterday's earnings call per the transcript on

"We are continuing to execute initiatives to increase efficiency and drive productivity, leveraging scale and our global footprint. This strategy has worked well over the last five years and will continue to produce over the next five. . . .

"This quarter our workforce rebalancing charges were about $560 million. The majority of the spending was in Europe and Asia and we expect payback by the end of the year with most of the benefit in the second half. . . .

"First of all, one you had mentioned if you look at the workforce rebalancing work we did that was predominately in Europe and Asia. So it has a slightly longer payback."

In a world more nearly perfect than this one, there would be no layoffs. But we don't live in that world, and here in this one economies rise and fall and expand and contract and responsible companies do the same. For some ax-grinding labor group to claim—and for a supposedly high-brow website to parrot the claim—that IBM is "abandoning the U.S. workforce" is both laughable and pathetic.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at

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