IBM employs some 20,000 workers in the UK and 21,000 in Germany. "The jobs have already started going in western Europe," Conrad said, and there will be many more in the months ahead. "They are being reassigned to eastern Europe, India and China." ...
The expected European job cuts come on top of 5,000 recent layoffs at IBM in America. The US cuts brought the total number of redundancies on IBM's home turf to around 9,600 for the first three months of the year. The layoffs come at a contentious time for IBM, which is in the running to receive billions of dollars worth of stimulus money from the US government. ...
IBM has been one of the most profitable companies in the technology sector so far this year.
But technology executives say that byzantine and increasingly restrictive visa and immigration rules have imperiled their ability to hire more of the world’s best engineers.
“There are probably two billion people in the world who would like to live in California and work, but not everyone in the world can live here,” said Kim Berry, an engineer who operates a nonprofit advocacy group for American-born technologists. “There are plenty of Americans to do these jobs.” The debate has only sharpened as the country’s economic downturn has deepened. Advocates for American-born workers are criticizing companies that lay off employees even as they retain engineers living here on visas. But the technology industry counters that innovations from highly skilled workers are central to American long-term growth. ...
Reflecting the growing importance of technology — and responding to industry lobbying — in 1990 Congress set aside 65,000 temporary work visas, known as H-1B visas, for skilled workers. The visas, which are sponsored by companies on behalf of employees, permit three years of work, with an automatic three-year extension. The limit was raised twice as the technology sector boomed, to 115,000 in 1999 and to 195,000 in 2001. But those temporary increases were not renewed for 2004, and the number of H-1B visas reverted to 65,000. (There are an additional 20,000 H1-B’s for people with graduate degrees from American universities.)
We’ve asked several experts how immigration policy affects high-skilled workers and the industries that rely on them. Please join the discussion in the comments section here.
...Norman Matloff: A core problem with the H-1B program is its impact on older U.S. workers. The median age of H-1B workers is 27, and since younger workers are cheaper, employers use H-1B to avoid hiring older (i.e. over age 35) U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Human resources departments routinely exclude the applications of older workers on the grounds that the applicants have experience beyond the range stated in the job ad. Proposals to grant green cards in lieu of H-1B visas are thus misguided, as they would still swell the young labor pool. The hiring managers have a “gotcha” for the younger applicants too, rejecting them as lacking job experience in some special (but quickly learnable) skill. ...
The world’s “best and brightest” should be welcomed, but most H-1B workers are not in that league. Meanwhile, many of our own best and brightest are squeezed out of the market once they become “expensive.” The industry’s claim that American kids don’t study enough math and science is a red herring, and is rank hypocrisy, with the layoffs of thousands of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who were math and science whizzes as kids.
So, the caramelized sugar atop the creme brulee is leaving, but what about the folks in H-1B visa programs? Are they really top talent? Another expert, attorney and programmer John Miano, who founded the advocacy group the Programmers Guild, in the article poked serious holes in the notion and the mythology about what constitutes a "highly skilled" worker.
The fact is, our immigration policy is very welcoming to highly skilled workers, and has been for decades. But this aspect of the immigration system tends to get little attention. Instead, much of the debate in this area has been driven by a dumbing down of what "highly skilled" means. When the annual quotas on H-1B visas are exhausted, one often hears lobbyists arguing that the world's best and brightest are being shut out.
But for the most part the people who seek H-1B visas -- and may be barred by the quotas -- are not extremely highly skilled workers. A college degree from a correspondence school can qualify someone for an H-1B visa. Employers making skill-based prevailing wage claims for H-1B computer workers classify most as being at the lowest skill level. The reported wages for the majority of H-1B computer workers is in the bottom 25th percentile of U.S. wages. In short, H-1B is a cheap labor program being marketed as a program for the highly-skilled.
Later, in her office, after several perfunctory questions, the woman told Mr. Sims she did not believe the job would be “suitable” for him. And barely 10 minutes later, she stood to signal that the interview was over. “I knew very much then it was an age situation,” said Mr. Sims, who has been looking for work since November 2007, a month before the economic downturn began. ...
Workers ages 45 and over form a disproportionate share of the hard-luck recession category, the long-term unemployed — those who have been out of work for six months or longer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. ...
But once older workers lose their jobs, Dr. Munnell said, “then it’s horrible.” They have a much harder time finding work again than younger job-seekers do, and statistics appear to show that it is harder for them in this recession than in previous ones. During downturns in 1982 and 2001, workers ages 45 and over were unemployed an average of 19 weeks and just under 17 weeks, respectively. Many out-of-work baby boomers have despaired as they wonder whether to trim their résumés to avoid giving away their decades of work experience, or to dye their hair. ...
Joanna N. Lahey, an economics professor at Texas A&M University, conducted a study published in 2005 in which she sent out 4,000 résumés on behalf of hypothetical job-seeking women ranging in age from 35 to 62 for entry-level jobs at companies in Boston and St. Petersburg, Fla. She changed only the applicant’s high school graduation year, an age indicator. Dr. Lahey found that workers under 50 were more than 40 percent more likely to be called for an interview.
The deterioration in confidence was especially pronounced among workers ages 44 to 54, whose retirement-account balances will have less time than those of younger workers to recover from the recent stock-market meltdown. Confidence also was especially shaken among households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more, in large part because they had more money at risk in the stock market, Mr. VanDerhei says.
An Adobe spokesperson said for the last two years, Adobe has heard from companies that use Adobe Flex Builder to create Web applications that the demand for Flex developers is high and outweighs the current supply. In addition, Adobe has noticed an increase in the number of developers who were first-time attendees at Flex user groups and events, the spokesperson said. These developers said they were interested in learning about Flex because they had recently lost jobs at companies that used other development technologies such as Java or .NET.
"IBM will cease the reimbursement of home internet access for employees," the company said in an email to staff. "Secondly, over the next several months the provision of some office amenities, including tea and coffee supplies, will be phased out. Where it makes sense, our intent is to replace this with user-paid vending machines at selected sites." ...
IBM Australia staff are angry about the cost-cutting measures. "Some employees are not too worried, while others feel as though they have been slapped in the face, particularly those who work unpaid overtime," an IBM Australia employee said. "You would have thought that basic amenities like tea and coffee was not a lot to ask for after working long hours and neglecting private life; obviously we were wrong. "They'd put a coin slot in the toilet door if they could." ...
Matt Tukaki, government and public sector general manager at human resources specialist Drake International, described IBM's decision to make employees pay for tea and coffee as "ludicrous". "What you really want to do is make sure that you're keeping your staff happy. There's already enough nervousness out there at the moment with people in fear of losing their jobs. What good is it taking away people's tea and coffee? I see no point," Mr Tukaki said. Another workplace relations consultant who asked not to be named said the decision was likely to have a dehumanising effect on employees. "It would make me feel like I was a commodity," she said.
Des Heaney, principal at workplace relations specialist HBA Consulting, said the tactics IBM has chosen to pursue were rare in large organisations as the cost savings they generated did not justify the levels of animosity between staff and employers that they created. "We have found that where you start cutting marginal staff benefits like tea and coffee and internet access it comes across as really quite mean-spirited and it's not really effective," Mr Heaney said.
How much market share, operating margin and dividend growth is enough ? You do a great year and come next year, you have to do it again and 10% or face no job or a reduced salary as a result. Public companies are like drug addicts, they never have enough.
There was also an initiative to save on real estate costs by working from home and the company would pay up to $60/month for your broadband bill. There is limited real estate to cope with employees moving back into the office.
The reason why I left and so many others are thinking about this is the culture of the organisation has taken a significant nose dive. Now as a customer, I regularly get calls from people working at IBM if there are jobs elsewhere - and I can't blame them.
One person I work with had a parent pass away last year, and was told to take his laptop with him as we could not spare him from the office. The poor guy had to go to the funeral THEN log in a do a 14 hour day afterwards. Talk about lack of compassion in the work force. Who cares about free tea & coffee when the company you work for does not even recognise that basic rights of its staff and treats them worse than lab rats.
Recently we where told that there is no money available for after hours work, so as a service provider we are unable to give our customers the basic level of service that is in their contracts. However management were able to reward themselves with massive bonuses recently due to exceeding their Personal Benefit Criteria (PBC in IBM speak).
If you even critise or mention something wrong in the way we do business you are hauled in front of management and told in no certain terms that your job is on the line for highlighting these discrepancies.
Home internet access has only been recently cancelled to normal staff, management still have company paid lurks & perks, latest blackberry, massive corporate phone plans, car mileage allowances, entertainment budgets.
Whereas us, the people who do the work, have to pay for our own internet access when we are on call, working after hours, have to pay for our own phone calls (even international) and believe me, IBM meetings can go on for 2 hours when you call overseas.
And within the last 6 months we where advised that IBM will NOT be paying for any skills training or reimbursing staff for certification exams, but was expecting all staff to attain 3 industry related certifications by the end of the financial year. It some cases that means us having to pay nearly $20k out of our own pocket to get the training for something that IBM wants to be able to support. Who now days has a spare $20K?
These days IBM is just another glorified 'Body-shop', no better than any other crappy over-charging outsourcer. The only difference between IBM and other outsourcers like Satyam, Accenture, CSC or EDS is that they are holding onto the name of a once great company - and why would you bother paying a 25% premium for that?
In Corporate America you can easily (predictively) model some cultural issues. CEOs will love this “fact-based” management, but the front line folks can resist. IBM notes the hurdles, but expects rapid adoption—at least something faster than the ERP revolution of the 1990s. Why? Younger folks already look at their PCs—and Google—as an answer machine, said Brenda Dietrich, vice president of business analytics & mathematical sciences at IBM Research.
Yeah, the RA call was short and sweet -- "Distress in world economies... blah blah blah ... global competitive pressures on IBM ... blah blah blah ... Congratulations, you were selected for the Soylent Blue program. Here's the ESC link. See ya!". Yes, it sounds like your hubby has been eligible for retirement for a year now. It probably is the 3 day bridge. Good luck to you.
Given that IBM seemingly would stop at nothing to save money it seems logical that they have continued that short bridge process for any month the RA occurred so that they cannot be accused of discriminating against only those who are laid off in June.
I went out on leave returned to work, had my rating downgraded as a result they lowered my variable pay, tried to screw me out of a pay raise in 2008. To add further insult, HR did a major CYA with my 2008 rating my manager wanted to make me a 1 and was told he could only make me a 2 plus. I can only surmise if they moved me from 2 in 2007 to a one in 2008, it would be further evidence IBM screwed me the year I had cancer. Anyone working in HR at IBM has sold their souls and God help them.
Love to join with other chemo buds to stick it to IBM
IBM tried very hard under the Watson influence to "do the right thing" with every decision, it built a fanatic loyal workforce and IBM was successful. We had management memos that reminded us of "doing the right thing". My nephew believes in Karma, not sure how it works but seems to be things that happen mysteriously. Most who prescribe to ruthless "It is just business" usually fail. You Reap what you sow. I think the Mafia justified killings at lunch time in restaurants as "its just business" and went to church on Sunday.
There are more measures of a successful company with "doing the right thing" that cannot be measured with money verses the bottom line mentality of "it's just business". The companies who subscribe to "business only decisions" litter the hiway of Failed Companies. Non-executives need to organize by joining a group like a Union to level the playing field to bring back the "do the right thing" mentality of business. Not very hard, just sign the card.
Hopefully, IBM will not be able to get away with firing people if they do sign the card. I think there is legislation being considered to make it easier for non-executives (99% of the workforce) to sign up as members of a labor organization.
Let's face it, the world is different from what we were taught about the bad things of Unions and now is the time to join an organization. Corporations have taken most of the gains of the Unions over the years because we operated on a "do the right thing mentality" while the executives evolved and are operating on "It's just business" like the Mafia.
Excessive executive compensation has taken center stage since the government bailout of banks that began in September 2008. Americans have expressed outrage as CEOs and other executives responsible for the financial crisis have pocketed millions of dollars from bonuses and golden parachutes. CEO perks alone grew in 2008 to an average of $336,248—or nine times the median salary of a full-time worker. Meanwhile, the economy tanked for working people while many companies were bailed out with more than $700 billion in taxpayer money, as well as low-interest loans and guarantees.
The case studies here focus on 10 executive compensation practices that define a broken system in which the American taxpayer is left holding the bag. Also in Executive PayWatch, you can find CEO compensation data for some of the country's largest companies, compare your pay to the CEOs, learn more about executives enjoying job and retirement security while fighting to keep workers from getting contracts, find out what you can do to put balance back into our economy and play a satisfying online game: Boot the CEO.
The way that I see it, IBM is going to lose the "best and the brightest." They are either going to terminate their employment through these RAs and GDF moves, or those who survive the selections will come to realize that the way that they are being treated is substandard and move out of the company once the economy improves. The result will be that IBM is left with an even lower quality of service and a horrible reputation emboldened by the stories from its ex-employees.
The coming backlash against offshoring will only hurt IBM's position in certain markets. It may take some time, but I believe that these choices will someday lead to us seeing IBM being acquired by competitors in whole or in pieces. Of course, none of this means anything to the current executives or the day-traders that drive the decisions which are made. They will be long gone with money in their pockets. -1 2 X U-
"But dependency on government has never been bad for the rich. The pretense of the laissez-faire people is that only the poor are dependent on government, while the rich take care of themselves. This argument manages to ignore all of modern history, which shows a consistent record of laissez-faire for the poor, but enormous government intervention for the rich." From Economic Justice: The American Class System, from the book Declarations of Independence by Howard Zinn.
Vault's IBM Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.
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