IBM Cuts More Than 250 U.S. Jobs

Layoffs include senior project managers in Big Blue’s IT outsourcing unit.
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IBM laid off more than 250 workers at facilities across the United States Monday, in an unannounced job cut that mostly targeted workers in its outsourcing and IT services unit, according to company sources and documents obtained by InformationWeek.

A total of 183 workers were laid off in IBM's Global Technology Services (GTS) application hosting unit, 59 were cut in GTS's Public Sector Delivery and Global Accounts arms, and 18 corporate marketing and communications workers were let go.

Cuts in the Global Accounts unit and the Public Sector arm, which handles government outsourcing contracts, hit a swath of midlevel and senior workers, documents show. Positions axed included advisory project managers, associate project managers, senior project managers, and executive project managers.

An IBM spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

[ An IBM outsourcing deal has gone painfully awry. Learn more: Chronology Of An Outsourcing Disaster. ]

Early-year staff cuts have been somewhat the norm at IBM in recent years. The company cut at least 1,600 U.S. jobs in March 2009, and more than 1,300 were let go in April 2007. IBM typically refers to unit-wide layoffs as "resource actions" or "workforce rebalancing." Under such initiatives, the company has been building up its workforce in developing markets like India and China, while trimming back its U.S. roster.

IBM's U.S. headcount fell from about 134,000 employees in 2005 to roughly 105,000 in 2009, the last year it broke out its worldwide employee distribution by country. Since then, its U.S. headcount has fallen further, according to IBM employee advocacy group [email protected], which is affiliated with Communications Workers of America, Local 1701.

IBM has said it needs to build up its workforce in regions where it's seeing growth. The company's sales in the Asia-Pacific market were up 9% last year, compared to 7% in the Americas. But critics say that, as IBM increases its presence in countries where wages for programmers can be as much as 75% less than in the United States, the burden of the redistribution is falling too hard on American workers.

"This is all about decreasing the U.S. IBM employee population in favor of offshore workers," said Lee Conrad, a spokesman for [email protected]

According to company documents, most IBM workers hit by Monday's cuts will receive one week of severance pay for every six months worked at the company. They will also be eligible for retraining and job search assistance and other benefits.

IBM shares were up 0.28%, to $198.31, in afternoon trading Monday.

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