Is IBM set for biggest ever workforce cull?

by Chloe Taylor29 Jan 2015
IBM is reportedly due to lay off 110,000 of its global 430,000 workforce in the company’s biggest ever corporate cull.

The job cuts are expected to come this week, having been planned under the name ‘project chrome’.

According to IBM, although it is in the process of making a number of workers redundant, the real number is significantly fewer than reports are speculating.

“To fix its business problems and speed up its “transformation””, wrote Robert Cringely for Forbes, “about 26 per cent of IBM's employees will be getting phone calls from their managers. A few hours later a package will appear on their doorsteps with all the paperwork. Project chrome will hit many of the worldwide services operations.”

Cringely added that workforces around the globe will be affected, claiming that “one in four IBMers” should prepare to lose their job. He reported that this will happen by February.

IBM did not deny the claims, but a spokesman suggested that the allegations were exaggerations of the truth.

IBM does not comment on rumours, even ridiculous or baseless ones,” said IBM’s spokesman. “If anyone had checked information readily available from our public earnings statements, or had simply asked us, they would know that IBM has already announced the company has just taken a $600 million charge for workforce rebalancing.”

He added that this equates to several thousand people – a fraction of the number reports claim are due to face redundancy.

“Last year, IBM hired 45,000 people, and the company currently has about 15,000 job openings around the world for new skills in growth areas,” he added. “This is evidence that IBM continues to remix its skills to match where we see the best opportunities in the marketplace.”

Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter is reported to have told investors that IBM was taking restructuring charges of around $580 million. He did not specify the number of people who will be affected. 


  • by Catherine Cahill 30/01/2015 10:05:25 AM

    "Workforce rebalancing"? Why do people imagine that using a euphemism makes the termination of employment less painful?

  • by Amanda Rochford 30/01/2015 2:22:23 PM

    I believe the use of euphemisms makes the implementation of terminations less painful, not for the terminated employee but for the management who are making the decisions. Much the same way as the military refer to people they are killing as 'targets' and how the living refer to the death as 'passed on' etc. Putting distance between yourself and a recipient of your negative actions is a protection mechanism. The problem is that increase in distance usually means less compassion and empathy.

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