This disclosure helps fired employees determine if they have an age-discrimination case, and it’s required by U.S. federal law for workers over 40 if a company wants the person to agree not to file such a lawsuit. Now IBM is withholding the information, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. It’s avoiding the disclosure requirement by offering workers the option of bringing claims in arbitration.
This disclosure helps fired employees determine if they have an age-discrimination case, and it’s required by U.S. federal law for workers over 40 if a company wants the person to agree not to file such a lawsuit. Now IBM is withholding the information, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. It’s avoiding the disclosure requirement by offering workers the option of bringing claims in arbitration.
“It’s part of a long trend, a 30-year trend, of reducing the rights of workers,” Eisenbrey, who focuses on labor and employment law, said in an interview from Washington. “It’s just a symptom of the increased bargaining power that employers have over workers.” ...
Under the old approach, fired employees had two options: accept severance pay and give up all age-discrimination claims, or reject the severance offer and preserve the right to pursue legal claims.
Now, IBM doesn’t have to disclose the age and title data of co-workers in a group layoff because it’s no longer asking fired employees to agree not to take any legal action at all. ...
Workers 40 years and older are protected by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which was passed by Congress in 1990 to amend the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. If a company fires two or more workers and asks them to waive age discrimination claims in exchange for a benefit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations require the contract to be “knowing and voluntary.”
That means the information should be easy to understand, refer to specific age-discrimination claims, give the employees at least 45 days to consider the waiver and encourage them to seek legal counsel. It also must include eligibility factors, plus titles and ages of the group of workers considered for the layoff, including those who were fired and those who weren’t. ...
While IBM’s new approach gives employees a way to pursue discrimination claims and still get severance pay, it also provides them with less information to potentially build a case for wrongful dismissal, according to Mark Carta, a lawyer whose client was awarded about $2.5 million this year in an age-discrimination trial against IBM. That, in turn, could help the company cut down on such claims. ...
“It’s a new twist,” said Carta, who works at Carta, McAlister & Moore LLC in Darien, Connecticut. “A company like IBM can just wear you down. It’s a way for them to control their cost and avoid exposure to a jury.” ...
Carta said he hasn’t seen the use of a mandatory arbitration provision in severance agreements at other companies.
IBM, with more than 430,000 employees worldwide, has been seen as an early mover in employee-benefits changes, said Marcia Wagner, founder of the Wagner Law Group in Boston. It could be setting precedent for other companies once again.
“They are a thought leader in this industry, and they are pushing the envelope,” she said. IBM’s changes in the waivers make “sense from a risk-mitigation standpoint. I think it’s going to be more prevalent.” ...
By diverting claims to arbitration, IBM keeps the bulk of the proceedings out of court records and away from the public eye. Also, federal law makes it difficult for an arbitrator’s decision to be reversed, except in narrow instances.
Workers in employment discrimination cases win against their employers about 21 percent of the time in arbitration cases, less than the 36 percent win rate in federal court, according to a Cornell University study that analyzed 1,213 arbitration cases from 2003 to 2007. These statistics didn’t include cases that were settled, which is about 59 percent of arbitration cases and 70 percent for litigation.
IBM is encouraging disgruntled employees to first raise concerns through its in-house mediation program, called the Open Door process, before initiating arbitration. ...
There’s an added benefit for IBM to keep layoff information out of the hands of fired employees. It makes it difficult for the public to determine how many jobs are being eliminated. IBM has said it doesn’t publicly discuss the details of staffing plans given the “competitive nature” of its industry.
Selected reader comments follow:
Then Gerstner got in there, and now they don't know when to stop. They've cut to the bone and they continue to move to management which only knows marketing (and not the I/T business they supposedly manage), and they make constant cutting a way to make short term profits look better.
Not much of a business model. Of course, when you're looking to make profits appear better next quarter, instead of having the best products and services a decade or three down the line -- your actions can be different.
Companies today need to find a reasonable balance in a VERY competitive world. IBM lost its ability to do that in the 80's, and its been downhill ever since.
Has anyone looked at their Form-4 filings? Complete pillaging, hundreds of millions being taken out while they continue to build more debt on leverage for share buybacks. IIRC, IBM is a stateless corporation for tax purposes as well, how nice that their political graft is allowed to tax evade so easily, they paid well. Also not mentioned here is their fight with The BLS/government regarding mass layoffs (WARN Act) stating that divulging the mass layoff notice might hurt them financially and should remain secret. Brilliant.
Those older folks being kicked off the IBM ship don't have life jackets. The 40 and under 60 demographic are going to be wiped out as they will never be compensated at their current castoff levels into the economic abyss. Considering Americans net household income is still in free fall, while costs to live climbs, I have to question what it will take for The People to take out their vengeance on the very people destroying them - on purpose. If you're of the older ilk, it's most likely too late for you, as you're too weak emotionally, physically and financially to put up any kind of fight.
Welcome to the "new normal", where the country we inherited is squandered and pillaged.
My hypothesis has always been that these layoffs achieve two goals — they funnel retirement dollars into the executive pension plan that Gertsner created (before this, everyone was in the same plan) and they help mask IBM's true financial results when M&As don't deliver the numbers they want. It's all about numbers for Wall St, not about employees ... or even customers.
They really screwed all the old timers big time. The average engineer that say joined IBM in the late 80's or early 90's are the one that get hurt the most. Not only a lot of them get lay off but the one that are still there have lost at least $500,000 due to cut backs in their pay and benefits. Just the elimination of the defined retirement plan would have cost them about $350,000.
And, if challenged, blame outdated skills or performance of older employees, and add a few "phantom" employees to the layoff rosters for meet EEO. This has been happening since the 1980's — and continues month in and month out. The entire size of the US job market in software is only 3.5 million while this nation currently has nearly two million temporary foreign workers.
Anyone with any doubts need only walk into the IT department of any large corporation. And coming soon to the balance of engineering, nursing, teaching, chemists, dentists, doctors, etc. No one should have any doubt the H-1B and various associated visa programs are corporate cronyism at the WORST for our nation and citizens.
In recent years, revenue growth at IBM has been stubbornly elusive, and new technologies like cloud computing have risen to threaten the company’s traditional hardware and software businesses. Those concerns have weighed on the company’s stock price, which has been stagnant since Ms. Rometty took over nearly two and a half years ago.
But in an interview at IBM’s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., Ms. Rometty said she and the company now had a clear vision for how to pursue another generation of growth. ...
Ms. Rometty’s message to IBM’s more than 400,000 employees is to embrace the future, and quickly, rather than resist it. The abrupt change in the company’s approach to cloud computing recently, analysts say, is an example. ...
IBM faces plenty of competitors in the cloud market, including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Salesforce. And analysts say that as the largest supplier to corporate data center technology, IBM has the most to lose when companies move from traditional data-center computing to cloud rivals of IBM.
Last month, IBM reported quarterly revenue which revealed that software alone is making the tech giant profit. Big Blue reported first quarter earnings of $2.4 billion, or $2.29 a share, down 21 percent year-on-year. First quarter sales were $22.5 billion, down four percent based on 2013 results.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, who has been press shy since ascending to the top job two years ago, has been unusually chatty of late. She surfaced in a New York Times interview Sunday, on CNBC on Tuesday. And at an analyst conference Wednesday, she reiterated IBM’s goal of hitting $20 earnings per share by 2015. That target was set in 2012 and is now viewed askance by analysts, some of whom think that this EPS bullseye is not only unlikely but sort of beside the point when investors should be focusing on revenue growth. ...
So, IBM continues to refocus around cloud (and mobile) selling off its X86 server business, cutting jobs. But the thing is, nearly all of its competitors — including Microsoft, VMware et. al– are all after that business. I agree with analysts like Bernstein Research’s Toni Sacconaghi who say the $20 EPS goal is more public relations than substance if profit comes from lower tax rates, layoffs and stock buybacks. IBM still has to convince the world that it can do cloud as well as, or better than Amazon, Microsoft, and a raft of other competitors.
The only reader comment follows:
You didn’t mention that it’s likely many high level executives bonuses are directly tied to hitting the $20 EPS goal. Shareholders may not care at this point, but the executives certainly still do.
Samuel J. Palmisano replaced Gerstner's eight principles with five traits and nine competencies, which spanned several web pages. Always positioned in the press as the salesman's salesman, Palmisano did little to assist his former peers in sales over his nine years in the corner office. Revenue per employee stood at $228,000 in 2002, when he took the helm, and nine years later remained the same.
Under Sam's watch, an IBM culture that was always full of heroic sales stories (stories of salesmen closing deals on the last day of the year, of lab support blackening the skies to solve a customer problem, and of executive teams that understood the value of human relationships) was replaced by a deafening silence.
And as covered in my last article, linked above, Ginni Rometty is not off to a good start. To be fair, she is still working with the hand she has been dealt. She must focus now on transitioning her human resources organization from just an extension of finance to being a human relations organization. She must expect, enable, and set the example for her executives to be assistants to their teams. ...
The Last Eight Years — Making Unsupported Claims. IBM's CEO and Board of Directors have claimed the following in their annual reports over the last eight years:
It is hard to tell what these annual reports are using to substantiate such claims: it is definitely not revenue per employee or sales morale. The revenue per employee data covering the last two decades and the last ten years speak for themselves. ...
Selected reader comments follow:
Relative to the sales culture, or lack thereof, the best way I can describe how it has morphed can be distilled down to a common sentiment I heard hundreds of times before I finally left, from folks all across the organization, and it went something like this: "Why should I bust my rump for 80 hours this week just to make that happen? In the end, the execs will make all the money and I will probably get laid off."
Your new IBM culture in action, thanks to Lou, Sam and Ginni.
That much was clear in the reaction to Big Blue's analyst meeting on Wednesday, at which it maintained its target of delivering $20 in operating earnings per share in 2015. Despite that promise, shares of International Business Machines slipped, adding to a steady decline since the company reported disappointing first-quarter results last month.
Even more notable is how the stock has lost nearly 6% against a 30% increase in the Nasdaq Composite since IBM's last analyst day in February 2013. The $20-per-share target was promised there as well, but investors have grown more skeptical since.
IBM had a reputation as a reliable generator of earnings-per-share growth despite challenges to expand its enormous revenue base. But that is looking tarnished these days. Earnings fell more than 15% in the first quarter from the year-ago period, with IBM reporting its eighth consecutive quarterly revenue decline year over year. ...
The company said it has made 43 acquisitions since the beginning of 2010, but revenue has expanded by just a little over 4% in that time. To deliver 10% annual revenue growth now would require IBM to find about $10 billion in new sales in a market where its big rivals are hunting for precisely the same thing. ...
The challenge of doing that explains why IBM maintains its focus on delivering higher earnings growth. But the target of $20 a share for 2015 implies growth of almost 23% over a two-year period, which looks ambitious. And IBM admitted Wednesday that it faces a "tax headwind" of about $1.50 a share against that goal. Moreover, based on the company's current forecast, share buybacks will account for less than half of the expected growth.
Striking proof of how things are changing came late last year when the US Central Intelligence Agency handed a $600m data centre contract to an unlikely supplier: internet retailer Amazon. The sight of a government agency whose name is a byword for information security hiring a company that made its name on the consumer internet may well turn other customers’ heads, says Toni Sacconaghi, a computer industry analyst at Sanford C Bernstein. That “could call into question IBM’s role as the pre-eminent partner” for corporate IT departments, he adds.
“You can never be fired for buying IBM” has long been a mantra for risk-averse IT managers. But these days, according to Steve Milunovich, a tech analyst at UBS in New York, customers can sometimes be heard using a new refrain that should send a chill down IBM’s spine: “No one gets fired for buying Amazon.” ...
For more than a decade, IBM has raised its earnings per share by 11 per cent a year, even as its revenues have risen only 2 per cent. In 2011, that record was sufficient to attract the attentions of Warren Buffett, the investor, who had previously steered clear of the tech industry. Mr Buffett’s near-$11bn investment, for more than 6 per cent of the stock, has made him IBM’s biggest shareholder.
As it turns out, he would have done better to buy index funds. IBM shares have underperformed the wider market since then, as revenues have slipped and Wall Street has worried that large parts of its business are threatened by the cloud. ...
Most of the earnings-per-share gains of recent years have come from cost-cutting or from buying back stock, with relatively little from moving into new, high-margin businesses, says Mr Sacconaghi.
Critics go further, contending that the relentless cost-cutting to hit earnings targets has damaged IBM’s business. It has been “death by a thousand cuts”, says Bob Djurdjevic, a former IBM executive and IT analyst.
Such accusations exasperate Ms Rometty. “I don’t know what else I would do – what did I not do?” she says. Pointing to IBM’s spending on research and development, she adds: “Our investment level at over 6 per cent of revenues is fantastic and has been unwavering.” ...
Ms Rometty herself pays tribute to an IBM culture that she says has served the company well over the long term, even as she presses for faster action from its 400,000 workers. Asked what she is doing to shake things up, she stresses a more responsive approach to the company – “a constant change, test, change, test [in] real time”. She adds: “I think all businesses are going to move into that: experiment, learn, try.”
Travis Bullard, a spokesman for GlobalFoundries, said the arrangement is temporary, and is expected to run for eight months.
The move occurs as speculation continues about whether GlobalFoundries will buy some of IBM's chip business. Sources quoted anonymously in the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal said IBM is shopping for a buyer and GlobalFoundries is the leading candidate. There has been no comment from either company. ...
Bullard said GlobalFoundries has "set up a new contractor service agreement with IBM," under which the workers will remain IBM employees but will work on GlobalFoundries projects. "We've actually done these in the past with IBM on specific projects," he said. "This one is a new one that will allow up to approximately 150 to 200 experienced technical folks that will be able to assist us as we work to ramp our production at our Fab8 facility."
Pros: The benefits package they offer is great: you get to put a good percentage towards your pension with contributions from the company, flexible working hours and working from home. I think this keeps a lot of people - especially those with families - where they are.
The location where I work is great for outdoor activities and after (or even during!) work hours socialising, sports, and friendly inter-departmental competition is encouraged. Great people with a lot of knowledge and passion for the customer.
Cons: In the last few years the company has been so focused on getting to a target earnings per share that everything, including employee morale, has suffered. There is no budget to do anything. Most importantly, even when you perform well, that is just a number in a report and a pat on the back.
The loyalty we show for the company has not been returned.
Low salary compared with the industry, little or no pay increase once you're on board; no bonuses in the last year, and when you apply for promotion (which is an exercise in bureaucracy if ever I saw one, why isn't it enough to have done a good job at that level as I have done for years?), a salary increase is not guaranteed.
Graduates come in at a higher salary than longer-standing employees, even though they don't have any experience!
It's very hard to know where you can move to internally because of the sheer size of the company. It's more like lots of smaller, competing companies under one roof. Unless you know someone it's hard to get into another 'silo'. Sometimes there are hiring restrictions internally (i.e. people moving departments).
Lots of red tape, takes a long time to get anything done.
Advice to Senior Management: Show the same concern for your employees as you do for your bottom line. You're losing good people.
Pros: Flexibility with work location and schedule. Reasonable management chain. The vast majority of employees are pleasant to work with.
Cons: People who tend to stay at IBM are interested in optimizing their work/life balance, not pushing the envelope. This is a place for folks who like meetings, process, talking and PowerPoint. Unfortunately this cultural reinforcement has resulted in chasing off true development and technical talent which is not tolerant of these activities. Given the focus on cost cutting there is not much money to pay talent and due to the widespread exodus of engineering ability it is nearly impossible for management to recognize the truly skilled contributors from the pretenders.
Advice to Senior Management: Divest laggard divisions more aggressively and bring in some new leadership at all levels with incentives to move IBM to the future, not cut their way to EPS driven bonuses without any creativity or growth whatsoever.
Pros: Smart, dedicated co-workers; some vestiges of the old collegiality at the working level.
Cons: IBM's business model is totally out of date. They are now being marginalized by new players like Google, Amazon, etc., and old competitors like HP-Compaq. As sales are falling drastically, they can't fire people fast enough. The executives are running the place like a third-world banana republic: massive bonuses for themselves; the working stiffs in the US are all being fired for low-cost, third-world labor offshore.
The only engineering innovation that matters any more is financial engineering of the earnings per share. However, EPS targets can only be achieved by layoffs and share buybacks, due to falling sales, and Wall Street isn't fooled. Businesses and employees are being jettisoned at a rapid pace; a much smaller and weaker company will be the result.
Advice to Senior Management: Stop treating all non-executive employees like serfs. INVEST in new projects; don't shut them down the minute they fall below some unrealistic profitability threshold.
Pros: Opportunity to contribute, learn and grow, work from home, thrive on driving change and process improvements, lots of take-aways over the years but competitive salary, benefits etc. People make the company great!
Cons: If you aren't revenue generating you are considered back office and if you are in the US there is a good chance your job over time will be moved offshore. Best opportunities for me are overseas. If you get out of management it's hard to find your way back in. No longer reimbursed for professional certifications but I'm glad I obtained them.
Advice to Senior Management: People don't know when or if they will be let go. It's been like this for a long time and this is contrary to the foundational beliefs the company was founded on. Not respectful of people who have given their lives to make the company great.
Pros: In my position there are no tight deadlines to speak of. Pretty laid back. Plenty of work to keep me busy, but not a lot of pressure to meet hard deadlines. I come from just the opposite so it's a huge difference for me.
Cons: Lotus Notes is terrible...I feel like it is the mid 90's. It's slow and buggy. I honestly could not stand using it if I was in my previous high-pressure (and high email volume) job. Since my role at IBM is pretty laid back the lost productivity just means I get less done...but that's OK.
Required use of Linux as a desktop for anyone with privileged access. I like Linux as a server and like the command line but hate it for desktop OS.
Things can be slow to happen...like getting access to things or policy changes, etc.
Advice to Senior Management: Make Lotus Notes work well (i.e. be quick, responsive, and not buggy) or move to a better email client. I can't imagine the lost productivity time multiplied by each of the 400k workers each year.
Pros: You can choose to learn something about yourself and business every day and never be disappointed — there is so much knowledge in the organization that the challenge is filtering to what is truly important to you in the now. IBM is your own personal MBA, such is the pressure and the challenge, but being part of a community that struggles and wins with you.
Cons: Tough management, ruthless resourcing actions, bureaucracy, and your work is never finished. This is a company where you have to be entirely self-motivating when the going gets tough, or when significant people are made redundant around you. The performance ranking system can make for a dog-eat-dog environment where you have to outperform your peer to advance, and that can hurt collaboration or openness.
Advice to Senior Management: Management needs to be more cognizant of the demands placed on their reportees, and be a filter of the pressure brought down from above. Too much of the HQ investor-driven behavior gets down the management line.
Pros: Great people; lots of opportunity to learn from others.
Cons: Always wondering if your business/job will survive the next cuts. Cuts have become continuous. Forgot founding principles — NO respect for the individual that IBM was known for. Execs have forgotten what IBM was and what IBM should be.
Advice to Senior Management: Remember the value of the people. Stop throwing people out the door just to meet numbers, and give us back the pensions you took away with incorrect and misleading information.
Pros: Great flexibility and opportunities to change roles, functions; brand recognition; pay is good if you work in IBM Software Labs; great volunteering opportunities even in India.
Cons: Very poor pay if you work for IBM Global Services in India; lack of transparency in performance review systems; the band system and job designations are vague and are interpreted differently across the organization; bureaucracy — it takes forever to get anything done from the support functions, especially Immigration.
Pros: I got away with doing literally nothing for 10 months: didn't go to work, didn't produce anything meaningful, didn't take calls, nothing.
Cons: The training was the worst two months of my life. I would rather loose a limb than do it again. The management is completely incompetent — how do you let someone get away with doing no work for so long? When you do work you have to travel to the middle of nowhere e.g. Slough or an office park in Leeds; not my idea of fun.
Advice to Senior Management: Leave the company. Let it cease to exist; the world will lose a blemish.
Pros: A range a different jobs are available The technical people are still very good...but for how much longer?
Cons: I took voluntary redundancy after 25 plus years, 1st quarter, 2014. After they asked for volunteers and I said yes, please, I was told no; we still need you. Then 2 weeks later I was told actually you are for the chop! A classic example of the quality of the management. The package was OK; nothing special.
The process is more important that anything else.
Virtually all second-line managers and above have next to no technical skills beyond turning on their laptops. The expense constraints are ridiculous and the PBC process lost all credibility years ago. However it can potentially affect your career. I was lucky in that I had a really good first line for 7 to 8 years but many were not.
Short-term results are everything. Things like orders placed THIS WEEK, not this quarter, even though the various teams are measured quarterly. I saw a colleague roasted alive virtually because an order slipped into the follow week, even though it was the same month and quarter. Madness!
Advice to Senior Management: Treat the people with the respect they deserve. It is they who made the company what it is and will most likely have to pick up the pieces when the 2015 roadmap is over and the most senior have taken there bonus/options and run to the hills. I don't think for one minute the senior management will consider this, of course.
Pros: Work-life balance is very good as you can work from home or in office based on your needs. Offers lots of education resources on-line and on-site.
Cons: Constant cost-cutting actions; mentality of employees seen as liability not asset. Continues to layoff excellent employees to get to 2015 road map even though it's no longer viable in this market. The PBC rating system is used to get rid of employees, not improve their performance. Once you are rated a "2", you are on the "layoff list".
Advice to Senior Management: Get rid of the PBC rating system. It's outdated and no longer relevant. The skew system is not fair as very good employees have their ratings lowered just because it's "their turn".
Pros: Decent benefits; somewhat stable; interesting projects at times; flexible/can work from outside the office.
Cons: Personal growth is almost non-existent. Management doesn't treat employees well. It's almost bully-like. No pay raises in years. "Bonuses" — almost embarrassing they are so low. Quick to point out the bad; slow to congratulate you on a job well done. Toxic environment — morale at an all time low.
Advice to Senior Management: Take a look at what groups the talented employees are leaving and who is heading up that group. Perhaps they are the root of all the turnover. Replacing talent is $$$. Do a better job of retaining the ones you've got.
Pros: Huge company with HUGE expectations to live up to.
Cons: IBM treats its employees very poorly. Benefits and perks have been stripped away over the last 10 years. Now they will come for your job and your salary. Everyone lives in fear of the layoffs. There are startlingly few resources for such a big company with that much cash on hand. Big new projects don't have the budgets to meet their targets properly. It's only a matter of time before quality becomes a big issue.
Advice to Senior Management: Come down from the stratosphere and see what you are doing to this great company and the average American worker.
Pros: Nice people to work with. Flexible work schedule specially when starting your family. Competitive salary to start with, but do not expect any raise or promotion. No job growth.
Cons: Constant layoffs. Incompetent management; promotion is based on golf buddy system. Major projects goes to top echelon (paper pushers) even though the actual work is being done by the other staffs. No recognition/promotion if you are not the manager's golf buddy circle. No job growth or advancement. No education benefits. Expect layoff every year.
Pros: Vast self-learning library so you can certify on just about everything in your spare time. So when you leave for greener pastures you're well versed in just about everything in technology and packaged software.
Cons: No spare time or you're let go (pink-slipped)...because you don't meet numbers. Non-US offices are subject to local culture nuances. China leaders employ GF's as non-working employees putting even more pressure on working team members to support concubinage.
Advice to Senior Management: Review local culture and alignment with acceptable standards. If management gets a staff GF we should all get GF exemptions.
Pros: IBM was a great place to work up until the early 2000's. It had principles and pushed technology forward. There was opportunity for education, conferences, activities, etc.
Cons: After 2000 they lost sight of the things that made them a great company. Employees were treated as disposable items. Quality was no longer of concern. Jobs went out of the US simply because of cost. Social issues were pushed for the few at the expense of the rest. Benefits and retirement policies were reduced.
Advice to Senior Management: Gerstner took over IBM and stripped it of it's soul...then Palmisano burdened it with layers of clueless mismanagement which yielded Rometty to complete the dehumanization. This company is living on the fading fragrance of a long empty vase. It is no Google, Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, etc.
Pros: World-class technology solutions; great, knowledgeable people; learn something every day; stellar reputation in the industry.
Cons: Huge and complex company to work for; matrixed organization makes it difficult to be quick and responsive to client needs; constant management churn makes it difficult to have clear strategy in place to execute; change is constant which makes it difficult to produce consistent results; top management unable to show revenue growth, but is very focused on EPS metric to make Wall Street happy.
Advice to Senior Management: Have a 5-year plan for the company to grow and execute on it, instead of constantly changing the product/solution mix which results in revenues going down every year (quarter). Have a long term vision/strategy that is built around the factors described in the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins and execute on that with a core management team that stays in place for 5 to 10 years.
Pros: If you want to travel globally, there are lots of jobs for that...but expect to fly coach no matter where you go. In some areas they pay competitively, but you will work lots of hours.
Cons: The benefits are eroded for a big company and not that good. The growth opportunities will just depend on your own initiative, and willingness to stick your own neck out and search — no one will be looking out for you and trying to get you a path/promotion — unless you are real lucky and get a rare boss that will do that. It's not the IBM way.
The company has a bias toward "an IBMer" who is someone that has been with the company for some time. Middle managers from acquisitions are at a big disadvantage. The culture is very cut throat. There is an illusion of a work/life balance (lip service paid to it). Upper management seems to in many ways out of touch (ivory tower like).
Advice to Senior Management: Look for ways to empower first line managers more. They and the people that work for them are you life blood, and I've talked with enough to know it's not pretty what they are dealing with, and generally their opinion of the company is not very good
Pros: Work/life balance with great compensation. Solid technical tools to get the job done. They hire solid talent so you grow your career along with being super productive with shared business goals.
Cons: Can be variable in recruitment space as projects vary in closure. Part of any recruitment company in terms of being adaptive. Overall, great experience during my couple of years.
Advice to Senior Management: None.
Pros: There is a lot of exposure to different industries. It's very easy to have a career at IBM where you can change what you are working on every few years without getting board working on a single project/technology.
Cons: The company is too big for its own good. The company doesn't care about the employee and due to its size takes forever to approve requests for simple things like a notebook or a box of pencils.
There are a number of standards that they put in place to ensure all the application have a similar design paradigm means that creativity, exploration, and progression through a fast paced ever changing world is nearly impossible.
It's impossible to move up in the company; raises/bonuses are few and far between. No company outings; health care options cost more than any other company I have worked for or heard about.
At the end of the day the only things the upper management cares about is whats in their paycheck; the promises made to the stockholders; and they really don't care about you as a person.
On a business note, our customers were also frustrated with the speed at which IBM moved. They need fixed, enhancements etc. to compete in their market. Waiting for yearly releases just isn't possible anymore. Customers need a more agile release process where they can get releases and change faster and they can put them in place more quickly and efficiently.
Advice to Senior Management: Listen to your customers and give something back to the employees. They work hard and don't have much to show for it.
Pros: Opportunity to work with smart people all over the world. Interesting problems to solve. Ability to change roles without changing companies. Generally pretty flexible with work schedule.
Cons: I and my whole team of experienced (high-performing) professionals were fired in 2013. The company is on a short term EPS path; achieving numbers via cost-cutting, which causes a downward spiral to the whole business. The practices hurt innovation (contrary to goals in the press), because employees are obviously not valued, and constantly in fear of losing their jobs.
Advice to Senior Management: Stop treating employees like disposable equipment.
Pros: Many paths for advancing your career and skill set. Great people to work with (though if most of your team is on another site, move there or change to a local project). The environment really is set up to communicate well with your team and provide you the required assistance in getting a project done.
Cons: Constant threat of layoffs even in the quarters with good market performance. Upper management really gives no warning about employment prospects. It is probably best to be in a city where there are other employment options, should your job go away.
Advice to Senior Management: I've enjoyed my 1st and 2nd line managers (even some higher ups), but upper level management seems to focus on stock performance over retaining good employees.
Pros: Lots of very smart people. IBM has great capabilities to develop and debug cool products. Managers are generally skilled and bright enough not to micromanage. They let you do things your way as long as you get your job done.
Cons: Poor morale caused by frequent layoffs. Upper management doesn't share much information about the hardware division's future trajectory. Pay raises and bonuses have been scarce for several years.
Advice to Senior Management: Slow cuts to staffing is not working for the company or employees. A mission that is appropriate to our new staffing size needs to clearly stated and then implemented. Start sharing more big picture information.
Pros: The ability to work from home. Still an OK severance package.
Cons: The innovation left several years ago. IBM is now expert at acquiring companies and over a few years destroying their value. The bureaucracy is something to be experienced. The internal systems waste 30% of my time. The sale is all that is important; the delivery is often seen as an inconvenient expense. There is no point in working for promotion as you don't know when your number will come up. An average 6 months and you will be RA'd (Resource Adjusted, aka made redundant).
Advice to Senior Management: The management know via internal and external surveys that morale and loyalty to the company is rock bottom — but they have little room to move given the sums wasted on share buy back and road map 2015. Management should abandon road map 2015. Take the share price hit — the market will return when it can see that the company is generating real value rather than paper value.
Pros: Great people work in there. The experience is in overall positive, but it is the kind of job that you cannot do for too long. You have freedom to move to other teams in the country in case you hate your job. They also promote the rotation to try to avoid that people get to comfortable on their job.
Cons: It varies on every country IBM is in, but in Slovakia you get no overtime paid, in any way. That means that you will stay very late sometimes to support deals you are getting no commission for, for basically no extra money or vacation. You can cope on that for few weeks, but not for long.
It is extremely inflexible in many ways. You can start from the bottom, perform perfectly and get a better position, but your salary will not be raised in a year for a battery of reasons: frozen budget, the raises take place only twice a year, your salary cannot be uplifted more than 20% a year. They recognize the hard work, but they are extremely reluctant to pay for it.
They have stupid internal policies. Everybody knows they are stupid but nobody stands up and shouts for a change.
For an IT company, the technological resources are not the best. They try to sell cloud but don´t offer it to the teams; the file size of an employee is 150mb when your Gmail account has gigas.
Advice to Senior Management: It is difficult to advice anything to managers. I know how my team works, but I don´t know how the same team works in Brazil or in Malaysia, so I think that they do what they do for a reason... that I still didn't manage to understand :)
Pros: Lots of different projects to work on in numerous fields. Lots of talented people. Many opportunities to telecommute. Typically get to work on different projects if you stay there for quite a few years. Decent benefits.
Cons: Generally don't seem to appreciate the employees any more. They kill (or move overseas) entire projects and often don't give employees a chance at other jobs within company, no matter how talented and hard-working they have been proven to be.
Strategy is all about earnings per share, not about how to improve products and their service to customers to increase revenue.
The value to customers has decreased significantly over the years. Decent pay increases rare except for the select few. Rating system seems to be based largely on office politics.
Can be difficult (or impossible) to move between divisions, even when you have the skills and the jobs are available (to those already in that division). Benefits, although decent, have steadily eroded over time. Little or no education any more.
Advice to Senior Management: Remember when IBM valued their talented and hard working employees? Need to get back to that. Skills and experience matter. Replacing experienced people who work well (and have a history with) customers with younger, less skilled (of course lower paid) workers does not treat customers properly. Customers are figuring out what is going on. Too many levels of management. Remember when Gerstner came in and reduced the levels. It eventually went back to the way it was before. Figure out technologies and products to pursue and let that drive earnings per share, not the other way around.
For years now, a key strategy of employers is to shift costs onto workers via higher deductibles and co-payments in part to slow the growth of the total company-paid premium by getting workers to think twice before choosing an expensive test or procedure in hopes these workers become better shoppers. Those moves are translating into rapid deterioration in the percentage of workers who are happy with their health benefits.
Americans also work among the most “extreme” hours, which the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development defines as 50-plus hours a week. It’s a trend that’s been accelerating among white-collar workers since the 1980s, especially once Silicon Valley programmers started pulling all-nighters and wearing T-shirts boasting “90 Hours a Week and Loving it.”
But let’s face it, the official record of hours worked doesn’t tell the whole story of our work-worshipping, workaholic culture. What’s missing? All the “after-hours” unpaid, off-the-clock face time you put in at the office because the boss is still there, or because everyone else is still there, some deadline is looming, or you’re afraid you’ll be seen as deadwood if you leave first. The Japanese also have a word for this: furoshiki, “cloaked overtime.”
What else is missing from those work hour calculations? All the time on technology, the stolen evenings answering texts and calls, the e-mails that come in at 11 p.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m. The constant feeling of being tethered to the office and always “on call.”
Even so, you can almost hear the chorus of rationalizing, if exhausted, protest in workplaces throughout the land: “Yes, but isn’t putting in all those hours just what it takes to be No. 1?”
That’s why the OECD’s annual measure of productivity is so eye-opening, No, it turns out, it doesn’t. Long hours, in some cases, are a drag on hourly productivity, not to mention efficiency and innovation. Take Japan and South Korea, for instance, which hover close to the bottom of the hourly productivity rankings despite the meditation prisons in Korea and workers dying at their desks in Japan.
Some years, Norway, Luxembourg and Ireland rank higher than the United States in hourly productivity. Germany, which has a policy of “Kurtzarbeit” or short work hours in order to spread the work around and reduce unemployment, is highly productive by the hour.
And the country whose productivity in many years rivals the overworked United States? France. Yes, France. Where workers enjoy 30 days of paid vacation every year (the United States is the only advanced economy with no paid vacation policy), generous social supports (the cost of a maid is tax deductible!), and, as one recent controversial commercial put it, a leisurely stroll to the café after leaving work at a decent hour.
Denmark, a country I visited while reporting “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” a book on time pressure and modern life, is not only one of the most productive, but also one of the happiest. (The United States, in contrast, is ranked by the World Health Organization as the most anxious.) In Denmark, I was told, no one is rewarded for working long hours, and the boss is often the first out the door. “Here, if you can’t get your work done in the standard 37 hours a week,” one Dane told me, “you’re seen as inefficient.”
“[T]he retirement system we have in place does not line up with the needs and realities of our post-industrial economy,” Rubio said. “In this new century, most people will live longer and voluntarily work longer. And many people will change jobs countless times, often in business for themselves or working for companies that do not offer retirement savings plans or pensions.” ...
Additionally, he endorsed turning Medicare into a “premium support” program under which seniors would be given a voucher that they could spend on health insurance, either by buying into the current Medicare program, or purchasing a qualifying private plan.
The American dream is not just a yearning for affluence, Adams said, but also for the chance to overcome barriers and social class, to become the best that we can be. Adams acknowledged that the United States didn’t fully live up to that ideal, but he argued that America came closer than anywhere else.
Adams was right at the time, and for decades. When my father, an eastern European refugee, reached France after World War II, he was determined to continue to the United States because it was less class bound, more meritocratic and offered more opportunity
Yet today the American dream has derailed, partly because of growing inequality. Or maybe the American dream has just swapped citizenship, for now it is more likely to be found in Canada or Europe — and a central issue in this year’s political campaigns should be how to repatriate it.
A report last month in The Times by David Leonhardt and Kevin Quealy noted that the American middle class is no longer the richest in the world, with Canada apparently pulling ahead in median after-tax income. Other countries in Europe are poised to overtake us as well.
In fact, the discrepancy is arguably even greater. Canadians receive essentially free health care, while Americans pay for part of their health care costs with after-tax dollars. Meanwhile, the American worker toils, on average, 4.6 percent more hours than a Canadian worker, 21 percent more hours than a French worker and an astonishing 28 percent more hours than a German worker, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Canadians and Europeans also live longer, on average, than Americans do. Their children are less likely to die than ours. American women are twice as likely to die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth as Canadian women. And, while our universities are still the best in the world, children in other industrialized countries, on average, get a better education than ours. Most sobering of all: A recent O.E.C.D. report found that for people aged 16 to 24, Americans ranked last among rich countries in numeracy and technological proficiency. ...
The top six hedge fund managers and traders averaged more than $2 billion each in earnings last year, partly because of the egregious “carried interest” tax break. President Obama has been unable to get financing for universal prekindergarten; this year’s proposed federal budget for pre-K for all, so important to our nation’s future, would be a bit more than a single month’s earnings for those six tycoons.
In Seoul and Tokyo, for example, consumers can subscribe to “gigabit” service for less than $35 a month. The gigabit service delivers download speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second. The average U.S. consumer’s download speed is about 24.2 Mbps, and while gigabit service is available in a few U.S. markets, like San Francisco and Chattanooga, even the cheapest U.S. carrier charges twice as much as those in Tokyo and Seoul.
Even at sub-gigabit levels of service, the Open Technology Institute found, U.S. providers don’t come close to matching the deals available abroad. Verizon last year announced that in certain markets, it would provide 500 Mbps service for those willing to pay $300 a month for it. A similar plan in Amsterdam would cost about $86.
The problem is that in the U.S., most homes are served by a limited number of ISPs. In some cases, the only option for a broadband connection is a cable television provider that has exclusive access to entire metropolitan areas. Others have a cable provider that competes with a phone company offering DSL service. In rare cases, companies like Verizon have run Fiber optic cable to domestic subscribers, but in most markets, that remains rare.
"I would say-- I would always answer never, I mean, because it's continuous transformation. If I have learned anything in my decades with this company, it's constantly changing this company for the future. That's what I'm here for."
Only way she is going to make $20/share by 2015 is to joint venture and dump Microelectronics Division. -MORE DIVESTITURES-
As long as this is being ignored you cannot succeed. In an age of iPads and gizmos, its hard to convince people of intangible things such as justice and fair play and culture.
IBM continues to try to meet their goals by specializing in financial engineering, commanding thousands of employees to simply start billing their customers 55 hours per week for the remaining two months of the quarter to achieve that overall 131% Q2 utilization. Don't you think if the work was already there, we would already be doing it in a planned fashion?
This doesn't get nearly enough attention...salaried workers in the trenches are disgusted, suspect lots of fraud happening to meet billing targets, and the great unsaid — crazy forced, billed 'overtime', but of course that word is never used.
Utilization targets..."if you don't meet them, may lead to executives re-evaluating headcount". -Phil-
On the other hand, I know that for a month or so they charged a client as if I was working full time on the account when I was working only half-time, but that was to cover up the fact I was only working half-time since I had been assigned to a different account also and things were so political and tense it was impossible to back out of either engagement. Of course I got no overtime despite doing twice the work! -Anon-
This site is designed to allow IBM Employees to communicate and share methods of protecting their rights through the establishment of an IBM Employees Labor Union. Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act states it is a violation for Employers to spy on union gatherings, or pretend to spy. For the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act, notice is given that this site and all of its content, messages, communications, or other content is considered to be a union gathering.