IBM Claims It’s Hired 30,000 Staff As Non-Cloud Workers Get The Boot

Internal email describes massive hiring spree as IBM’s “resource planning” scoops up skills for cloud and cognitive computing

IBM has reportedly hired more than 30,000 new employees this year as part of a cloud growth plan from CEO Ginni Rometty.

The remarks come just weeks after IBM said it would layoff workers in the Netherlands as part of a focus shift towards cloud and artificial intelligence.

IBM itself calls the layoffs “resource balancing” in a leaked document, and the Netherlands is the first country to be hit as part of this plan that looks to cull staff who have skills IBM deems irrelevant.

The internal email, obtained by eWeek this week, reads:

In the second quarter we also continued to make meaningful progress in how IBMers work and contribute to this success. With Checkpoint, all IBMers are getting and giving faster and more frequent feedback. 130,000 IBMers have been trained in agile, 70,000 IBMers have chosen to work with Mac products, and more than 250,000 IBMers are using Box.
Almost all IBMers participated in Cognitive Build, helping 20,000 colleagues collaborate on nearly 3,000 cognitive start-up projects. And we continue to invest in our people, with IBMers benefitting from 9 million hours of learning in the first half, and with more than 30,000 new IBMers joining the company.

While IBM does not disclose further information about the positions it removes to make room for new hires, in a statement earlier this year the company said: “IBM is aggressively transforming its business to lead in a new era of cognitive and cloud computing.”

To this end, IBM currently has more than 25,000 open positions, many in these key skills areas. If we meet our hiring targets, we expect our employee numbers to be roughly the same at year-end as they were in 2015.”

These positions include IBM’s cloud platform and artificial intelligence divisions like Watson.


In March, IBM confirmed it is planning nearly 1,000 staff cuts in Germany, along with other cuts planned across Europe and the United States. The plans were initially reported by German trade union Verdi and by Watching IBM, the online presence of a New York State-based IBM staff group known formally as Alliance@IBM.

IBM Big DataFurther staff cuts include 225 in IBM’s offices in Sweden, 160 in Denmark, 360 in France, about 100 in Chile and an unknown number in Switzerland, according to Alliance@IBM..

The group reported that IBM would be closing its Business & Technology Services units in German, Austria and Switzerland by the end of March 2017 as part of the reshuffle, with jobs to be shifted to positions in Eastern Europe.

In the US, Alliance@IBM reported the company is planning to cut about 17 percent of its IT salesforce by July in order to shift resources to open source development staff, in a plan code-named Project Solitaire. The group said that in the past staff affected by such cuts have been given 30 days’ or 60 days’ notice.

Just last week, posting on the Watching IBM Facebook group, an anonymous IBM employee revealed that there could be more cuts in the Australia/New Zealand region too.

“Pls keep anonymous …. I was made RA’d 3 months ago in Australia and was recently told there are more cuts happening in ANZ due to not hitting targets,” the anonymous ex-employee said.

“In my department they have cleaned out 75 percent of the staff – only keeping people on lower bands. The result of the cuts have meant that nobody is making target, and its spiraling out of control. With reduced h/c – they expect those left to continue to carry to workload of those RA’d as well. I feel for the people left carrying the workload, but couldn’t be happier for getting out. Please do not publish my name”

TechWeekEurope has asked IBM for comment.


IBM’s profits have fallen nearly 30 percent, as reported in the company’s second quarter financial results this week. The decline marks the 17th straight quarter of revenue decline for IBM. However, IBM’s cloud and cognitive divisions did perform well.

For the quarter, IBM made $20.2 billion (£15.3bn) in revenue, down 2.6 percent from the same period in 2015. IBM’s cloud and analytics businesses grew revenue 12 percent year-over-year, however.

Cloud is what IBM calls one of its strategic imperatives, a group of businesses that made $31 billion (£15.4bn) in revenue over the last 12 months. IBM’s public, private and hybrid cloud services grew 30 percent during the last quarter, with total cloud revenue for the last 12 months hitting $11.6 billion (£8.8bn). Analytics revenue grew 5 percent, with security revenues growing 18 percent.

“IBM continues to establish itself as the leading cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, said Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.

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