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6, 2000 April, 2000

Highlights—September 6, 2014

  • Gigaom:

    Word to IBM: Let’s lose the long-term earnings guidance and move on. By Barb Darrow. Excerpts: Almost everyone outside of IBM’s executive suite now agrees that the goal of hitting $20 earnings per share by 2015 did more harm than good. In its attempt to get to that magic number — promised by former CEO Sam Palmisano in 2010 — IBM has laid off thousands of employees and sold or attempted to sell off less profitable businesses, in moves seen by many as counterproductive for the long haul.

    On Tuesday, UBS analyst Steve Milunovich said these long-term projections are not worth doing in this era of tech realignment and that IBM needs to focus on long-term strategy instead of EPS goals. IBM’s trailing twelve month EPS is $14.85, so it has a tough row to hoe between now and the end of its fiscal 2015, which would be Dec. 31, 2016. ...

  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM's Problems May Be Fatal. By Dana Blankenhorn. Excerpts: IBM is trading below early 2013 levels and has lagged the S&P 500 throughout the recovery.

    But things could be about to get a lot worse.

    When I first started working on this piece I believed the problem the company faced was that it was aiming at the wrong customer set in the wrong way, and thus underperforming. Under Sam Palmisano and, now, Virginia Rometty, IBM has abandoned most consumer and small business markets in favor of serving large enterprises, where solutions are often customized and hard to replicate.

    But if it's even failing in that niche it really has no place to go. ...

    IBM has kept the stock where it is through financial engineering. IBM borrows money to buy back stock, which raises earnings per share. It costs it less to pay the interest on that debt than to buy the stock, thanks to low interest rates. If interest rates rise it's game over for that.

    But veteran tech journalist Robert Cringely, in his new book, "The Decline and Fall of IBM", says the company is even failing within its niche.

    "The company has probably been doomed since 2010," Cringely writes, "Customers no longer trust IBM to manage projects well, get the projects finished, or have the projects work as promised. IBM is now hard pressed to properly support what they sell."
  • Seeking Alpha:

    IBM: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. By Darko Boras. Excerpts: IBM has been a leading company in the tech industry for over one hundred years. Through bold leadership and innovation, the company has moved from milestone to milestone creating some of the most important inventions of the twentieth century, and winning a few Noble Prizes along the way. In this millennium IBM has continued to be dominant in many areas and is still a massive and successful organization. However, revenue has been falling for years now and many new competitors, technologies and international issues are emerging which threaten IBM. Founder Thomas Watson famously said: "All the world's problems could easily be solved if people were only willing to think." Well now in the modern tech industry it is IBM which has to think and evolve to maintain its position in the computing world. ...

    Revenue has been in decline since the end of fiscal 2011, causing a steady decline in operating cash flow (shown below). Many of its biggest segments including "Global Tech Services" and "Global Business Services" saw declines of nearly 2% while its "Systems and Technology" segment has declined a striking 16.6% so far this year. Only its "Software" and "Financing" segments have seen growth this year of 1.3% and 3.5%, respectively. The lack of sales growth has not yet hurt profits because of IBM's disciplined cost cutting but this strategy cannot continue indefinitely. At some point IBM will have to stop cost cutting and increase (or at least stabilize) sales to maintain profits. Until IBM can accomplish that, investors will remain concerned about the future. ...

    IBM's management has implemented some good policies in recent years which have increased profits but have failed thus far to successfully increase revenues. This has led to the continuation of policies which, when spread over the long term, can severely diminish a company. IBM has laid off tens of thousands over the last few years, cut overall R&D spending, sold off assets and has aggressively bought back stock.

    Laying off employees is necessary from time to time, but IBM has managed to greatly increase profits over the last coupe of years yet has planned to lay off another 13,000 in 2014. This causes two problems. First, it ruins company morale and job security for many people who then may not perform as well or switch to other companies. Second, layoffs are expensive and IBM expects to spend another $1 billion this year alone.

    Another part of the cost cutting is the decrease in R&D. With less R&D IBM will be less likely to innovate on the scale it has in the past. So far this has not taken place but if cuts of 7%-plus per year continue then it's only a matter of time. IBM has also decided to move away from low margin high volume business like its PC "ThinkPads" in the mid 2000s. Recently it sold its low-end server business to Lenovo. This was an area where IBM could have expanded and dominated but that it no longer is a part of.

    Lastly, in order to increase per share results (especially EPS) IBM has been aggressively buying back stock for many years. The upside is that the stock has been bought at a relatively low price and has greatly improved share results. However, IBM has spent nearly $12 billion on stock buybacks this year alone. That is nearly twice as much as the first six months of last year. They have done so largely using debt and the chart below shows the rise in debt at IBM. This is not sustainable especially when sales are in continuous decline.

  • Glassdoor IBM reviews. Selected reviews follow:
    • “Used to be a great place to work...”

      Current Employee - Senior Hardware Engineer in Austin, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Many bright technically strong contributors and leaders. Tradition of excellence. Motivated to return to relevance. Likely to be here for the long haul. Cons: This company is CHEAP!!! Salaries start moderate and do not keep up with inflation. Projects are under staffed to save on development costs. You can guess the effect on work/life balance. Don't plan on traveling or attending any conferences. Even simple things like office supplies are so low budget that you will want to bring your own. Advice to Senior Management: Manage for the long term, not next quarter results.
    • “A great start, then downhill from there...”

      Former Employee - Senior Consultant in New York, NY. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years.

      Pros: IBM still draws some of the best and brightest. The work can be quite interesting and challenging. And the company offers flexibility in terms of work times and locations (unless you're required to be at a client site).

      Cons: There can be a strong feeling of disconnection. You may work with a team that's widely scattered or based elsewhere, and rarely if ever see them. You spend much of your time on conference calls, often at odd hours if you're dealing with colleagues in other parts of the world. Managers range from good to awful. Unfortunately, I encountered more of the "awful" than the good. And finally, career growth can be difficult to impossible. Even if you're a top performer, raises are small to non-existent. The company sets targets that never seem to be reached, at least as far as producing income for employees. The shareholders, on the other hand, almost always hear a much rosier story.

      Advice to Senior Management: In my seven years at IBM, it was clear that a change had been made at the very highest reaches of the company. No longer was IBM to be an employer of choice, with better-than-average pay, benefits and management. The race to mediocrity was on. Combined with staff reductions in the U.S. and growth in low-wage venues, the future for Americans was not bright. I left because my career was going nowhere. I've done far better in the years since I left. I'd urge IBM management to strive to be a great employer again, not merely a mediocre one.

    • “Start you career here, but then move on before it sucks the life out of you...”

      Current Employee - Applications Developer in East Lansing, MI.

      Pros:

      • Looks good on resume for now (people will find out the truth someday)
      • They hire straight out of college
      • Pretty decent benefits package on day one
      • Work from home 2 days/week if you have to commute over 45 minutes to the office
      • Good place to gain experience IF you get placed on projects that actually require your skills
      • I like the people I work side by side with most of the time.
    • Cons:

      • The nature of this place is to "re-shore" the offshore jobs that clients don't seem to be satisfied with. In the long term strategy, IBM has built service centers in India and conducted mass layoffs in the US. Then after some client dissatisfaction with their contractors being on the other side of the globe and hard to communicate with, IBM opened a service center in economically depressed Michigan, knowing that competition for jobs was stiff, and that people would work cheap just to have a job.
      • Raises, which are rarely given, are abysmal (I think a dollar an hour raise every 3 years is all one can expect)
      • Overtime was taken away when we were converted from supplemental to regular employees, which for me worked out to be a 20% pay cut. This was a deal-breaker for pretty much everyone and has permanently scarred morale to the point of disfigurement.
      • Clients can be as demanding as they want, and if your project manager is a "yes man", you could end up working every night and weekend, and traveling to the client's site every week.
      • Forced to work 45+ hours per week minimum, which pretty much sucks the life out of you.
      • HR managers are also on projects of their own, so they really don't have time to be managers.

      Advice to Senior Management: I have no problem with the blue pages managers (lowest tier), but the higher level management really did leave a gaping wound to morale here when cutting overtime and not giving raises proportional to the amount of income people lost. Raises only started to happen when people were leaving IBM left and right, and once the rest of us found how little those long awaited raises were, it was pretty much the last straw. Now, no one has any hope of wanting to make a long term career out of working for IBM. I personally am looking to get out.

    • “Great place to build a global career/infinite learning opportunities”

      Current Employee - IT Manager in Dubuque, IA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 8 years.

      Pros: Lots of opportunities/challenges/stretch assignments to help you grow in your career. Access to world-class technology and solutions. Great network of very talented people around the globe for basically any subject you need, at a distance of a "ping". Job security (for talented and engaged employees who cares about the company). Competitive benefits package. Flexibility at work. Lots of options to work remote or adjust work schedule (dependent on the job role).

      Cons: Compensation is a little bit low compared to similar job roles in the industry, specially if you grow rapidly in you career.

      Advice to Senior Management: Bring the share value and EPS promises to shareholders back to reality—based on the value proposition the company can really create and deliver through its products and solutions, and not overly based on enterprise efficiencies (cost reduction). That will enable a more sustainable enterprise, with benefits and compensation also great and above market average, as it is for learning and growth opportunities, which in turn will attract and retain the best talent, which will result producing and delivering more and more value to clients, making clients truly satisfied and buying more, and then naturally bringing additional value to the shareholders.

    • “Not your father's IBM”

      Current Employee - Software Engineer in Poughkeepsie, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: If you're an executive, job security, salary and bonuses to earn you a personal fortune. Cons: If you aren't an executive, work like a slave for no pay raise until they lay you off. Advice to Senior Management: Revise the PBC system so ratings mean something, treat your employees like more than a commodity, share in the spoils.
    • “Reductions have taken a significant toll on Brain trust.”

      Current Employee - Senior Engineer in Austin, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Work with a good team. Cons: Falling behind tech curve as far as Cloud etc.
    • “It's all about politics...”

      Current Employee - Software Engineer in San Jose, CA. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: work from home whenever you need to flexible hours (10 to 6, etc.); lots of vacation. Cons: Horrible culture. Lots of politics. Hard to learn things that actually matter outside of IBM. Lotus Notes is the worst email software ever designed. Lenovos suck too. Compensation is below industry norm. Everybody is "Blue washed". Lots of people who are not qualified for their jobs. Advice to Senior Management: Let us use open source technology. Stop making crappy software like Lotus notes. Hire from top engineering schools like Stanford and start compensating more.
    • “Outstanding overall experience”

      Former Employee - Senior Consultant in Herndon, VA. Pros: The biggest pro while working for my division (Healthcare Consulting) was the outstanding cast of individuals I was privileged to work along side...from the managing partners down, and the expansive variety of challenging projects to work. Cons: Extensive travel to client locations, as much as 75-80% of most weeks...which translates into a LOT of time in airports, planes, cabs and hotels. This is a "non-cCon" for me however...I absolutely loved it. Administrative backroom processes and paperwork can be quite challenging at times.
    • “The good, the bad, Big Blue”

      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: The employees are smart and motivated. Always coming up with new ways of doing things. Always seemingly willing to help. Global environment is fun. Cons: Management works in silos and seems to support themselves to achieve their bonuses. Salaries are below market considering the type of company. Age may be an issue for promotional opportunities—you can get stuck in a role and stay for years doing the same thing. Advice to Senior Management: The performance review system doesn't work and can be a demotivator.
    • “Don't be surprised if IBM buys your company”

      Former Employee - Senior Consultant. I worked at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Recognized name. Initial onboarding very detailed. Cons: Sometimes your company is only bought for one piece and eventually all the other pieces are dissolved/laid off. It's all about the numbers and sales. Expect lots of extra unpaid hours for training. Almost impossible to get a raise each year based on their current employee review system. Advice to Senior Management: Communicate with staff the real intention of the purchase.
    • “Long career with IBM”

      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM for more than 10 years. Pros: Good talent pool and great set of people to work with. Cons: Terrible HR system of ranking employees, pitting them against each for their performance evaluation. Advice to Senior Management: Revamp PBC system. It is a detriment in promoting team work.
    • “Great people but Sam Palmisano destroyed a once great company”

      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years

      Pros: Great people. High level access to major clients. Brand recognition. Excellent company to have in your resume.

      Cons: HR driven by penny savers—heritage of being run by a CPA for 10 years. Palmisano looked after his own pocket focusing on EPS and artificially raising the stock price so he could cash in after a pre-determined 10 year term. He killed IBM's soul, mortgaged the company future and left a huge mess for Ginni to fix.

      The 2015 roadmap is a ticking time bomb that will soon implode the foundation of this icon.

      The company is currently bleeding talent and whoever is left is overworked, underpaid and under appreciated.

      Advice to Senior Management: Stop focusing solely on controlling strained budgets and artificially created internal metrics, and start focusing on your talent. If IBM keeps treating employees as resources and numbers on a spreadsheet soon enough nobody will be left to turn off the lights.

    • “Functional consultant in Global Business Services in Italy and in the UK”

      Former Employee - Consultant in Milan (Italy). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years.

      Pros: People attitude is one of the best ever met. Everyone is keen on teaching and helping. I have had great managers who demonstrated to care about you as an individual. Secure job: difficult to get fired.

      Cons: Lack of mobility within different company functions. So that if you want to have a career within IBM, you need to enter and remain in HQ. Consultants rarely have a salient role in company strategy. Salaries and salaries increase are very low and few.

      Advice to Senior Management: Ask people if they like their job. Many consultants are fed of repeating and doing the same consulting activity since ages, but they cannot change because they are not given the chance. Too many difference between countries. Company attitude should become more uniform by allowing higher level of mobility within countries. Hiring managers need to do their job in a more efficient matter

    • “Procedure over people”

      Former Employee - Recruiter in Lansing, MI. I worked at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Great people, solid middle managers. Good benefits. Worked with a team that genuinely tried to get the best work completed. Our worst enemy was the internal system i.e. input of same data had to be entered into three different databases, all with their own separate nomenclature. Cons: Procedures are "good" for the company, but bad for individuals. And the procedures are infinitely more important than an individual. Salaries are below market rate. Such a large organization has massive bureaucracy. Working within my team was great, but to get anything done was an exercise in frustration, it was like the company punished us for trying to do our job. Advice to Senior Management: Remember how people are affected by your decisions
    • “IBM is a very technically competent company.”

      Former Employee - Anonymous Employee. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Many opportunities to work from home, depending on the location or position. Benefits are very good. Professional development is encouraged. The company attracts many highly-skilled people. Cons: Depending on the type of work, could be long hours. Layoffs are more common now than they were in the past. Advice to Senior Management: Keep more experienced people instead on replacing them with lower-wage employees out of college. Experienced employees contribute to the ongoing success of the company.
    • “You'd have a better time elsewhere”

      Current Employee - Anonymous Employee. Pros: One of the best things about my job is that I have the flexibility to work from home all the time. Not many employers (not even some places in IBM) will let people do that anymore. Cons: Still very much an old boys' club. A lot of oblivious people in management that let people bully them into decisions. Too many people in the company, things move too slowly.
    • “IBM SUCKS!!”

      Former Employee - Senior Consultant in Austin, TX. I worked at IBM as a contractor for more than a year. Pros: NONE NONE NONE NONE NONE. Cons: management is horrible, salary is horrible, morale is horrible, customer service is horrible, work hours are horrible. Basically horrible. Advice to Senior Management: Go do something else.
    • “Don't need to know much except how the big machine operates”

      Former Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Denver, CO. I worked at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Good company to have on resume. Allows you to work from home, especially as a technical expert—management usually leaves you alone. There are some *very* smart people that work at IBM, but there aren't a whole lot of them. Cons: Very rigid, having rules for everything. Expenses are gone through with a fine tooth comb every single time Not a whole lot of innovation. Management always *wants* innovation but that's all they do about it. Never give you the tools to innovate.
    • “Rudderless and facing headwinds”

      Former Employee - Product Management. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years.

      Pros: Very nice people. Flexible environment. Amazing access to large brands.

      Cons: SWG leadership has no vision. I was acquired in the Smarter Commerce investment in 2010. Investments lacked any coordination, leaving too many competing agendas and software products. IBMers of 25+ years were more worried about protecting their careers than developing a lasting business.

      IBM removed cups, water coolers, and coffee. Then came the sweeping 401k change—moving the company contribution to the last paycheck of the year. They would not pay the contribution EVEN if they let you go during an RIF/ or in IBM speak Resource Action.

      Terrible culture—eroding or non existent benefits which is either leading or following the brand to toilet.

      Advice to Senior Management: Retire. Bring in fresh blood to reinvigorate the company. BTW—I used to not blame Ginni because this entire implosion is due to Palmisano's hand with the 2015 plan. That being said, she has shown no leadership to alter course and make the company hers.

    • “Long standing technology company that has reinvented itself repeatedly over it's 100+ history.”

      Current Employee - Finance I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Good company to work for. Company values work - life balance. Many opportunities to work remotely if prefer. Many businesses across Software, Services, Hardware provides opportunities to gain different experiences. Many people have long careers. Great culture and focus on training - comes from the top. Cons: Need to take own initiative for career development. Not as generous with stock options and bonuses as some other high tech companies (depending on job function). Advice to Senior Management: Do some more benchmarking on finance salaries in some regions.
    •  

      “Very disappointed...”

      Current Employee - Technical Support Engineer in Bucharest (Romania). I have been working at IBM full-time for less than a year. Pros: + company name and nothing else. Cons: - poor management; - deceiving recruitment process/job interview promises not covered by the actual job duties; - many people that have nothing to do with the job, but who know someone. Advice to Senior Management: People should come first!
    • “IBM is a Career-Ending Move”

      Former Employee - Senior Project Manager. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: Once upon a time IBM was a good place to work. That was a long long time ago. If you've been watching IBM over the Gerstner, Palmisano, and Rometty eras, you've been watching the destruction of a one-time American standard. Cons: 60-hour workweeks, 40-hour pay. Reduced benefits and increased cost of insurance. Unrealistic utilization rates. HR is using annual performance reviews to eliminate workers. IBM is considered a niche, antiquated company in the marketplace today; that means having IBM on your resume will damage your chances for future work. Advice to Senior Management: Resign. You're a disgrace to professionals everywhere. You cannot run a business based on Wall Street whims.
    • “Good place to begin with however seems to of lost its way over the last couple of years”

      Current Employee - Anonymous Employee I have been working at IBM as a contractor for less than a year. Pros: No micromanagement in my field, exposure to different technologies. Work life balance is good with the ability to work from home. Cons: Morale quite low with more jobs being outsourced, no training or the ability to acquire any.
    • “Good Start, but don't stick around”

      Former Employee - Financial Analyst in Rochester, MN. I worked at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: The work is easy. You will be working with younger new grads. Cons: If you get stuck with an international team you will be stuck with meetings at all hours of the day. Most of the work is so easy that a monkey can do it. Your accountants are in Mexico and seem to lack simple understanding of how to debit and credit simple transactions.
    • “Life may be better after 2015”

      Current Employee - Software Engineer in Beijing (China). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than a year. Pros: Many people and most of them are smarts. Cons: The 2015 target make every IBMer life like hell. Advice to Senior Management: Be realistic to what IBM can achieve.
    • “Heavy On Bureaucracy”

      Current Employee - Senior Managing Consultant in New York, NY. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Well known company that has decent industry respect. Cons: I was part of an acquisition, and many of our best people left because of the onerous processes, politics, and bureaucracy. The people who are left are good at talking, but not good at delivering results. I worked on one bid where three of us did all of the work and the other 10+ people "supervised" and received some of the credit. There is a lot of room to downsize the top-heavy part of the organization. Advice to Senior Management: Downsize the management levels, streamline/minimize process, and move toward a more agile/flexible/adaptable company structure.
    • “Great learning experience, met a lot of interesting and driven people and had some excellent managers”

      Former Employee - Accountant. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 3 years. Pros: Emphasis on learning—excellent place to learn new skills, it's very encouraged to expand one's skill set and there are plenty of opportunities to do so: conferences, podcasts, in-person, etc. Very good life/work balance with an option of working from home several times a week, no micro-management, as long as work gets done nobody seems to be checking how many hours were spent doing it (it has its pros and cons of course!). Cons: Outsourcing - at least in the finance community. Three of my jobs were outsourced and whole departments were moved out of the country. Salary - not very competitive for the industry average.
    • “Looks great on the resume, but...”

      Current Employee - Business Analyst in Melbourne (Australia). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 3 years.

      Pros: You'd be working for a strong brand name that everyone recognises and respects. It's a global company that's interconnected, so there's many opportunities to work with people in other countries, and even pursue careers over there (if you play your cards right). There's the option to work from home, although that can sometimes pose a problem (see 'cons'). There's jobs for anyone of any background (Project Management, Sales, Accounting, Consulting, etc), but not everyone.

      Cons: Unless you're in the project management space, there's no formal training/hand-over process in most areas I've worked, so you'd be at the mercy of existing team members if you're new. Hands-on training can be poor. It's also difficult to achieve a strong team environment with synergy, because often people choose to work from home, and you don't get to speak with them face-to-face. Sometimes it's like you have to formally book a meeting just to see a member of your own team. Managers are good at what they do (technically), but lack important people skills - They're often task-orientated, and when under pressure, they focus solely their own survival than on their workers well-being. To be blunt, most managers I've experienced see their subordinates as tools rather than actual people.

      Advice to Senior Management: Make an effort to truly (and enthusiastically) understand your employees. Spend more time with them face-to-face, and take more interest in how their coping with workloads. If you can, discourage people from working from home unless they have a good reason, because people really should work together in the same office. Remember - Actions speak louder than words. You must DO. If you just offer lip service, then you can expect people to run off to the likes of HP, Accenture and Fuji Xerox.

    • “Poor business model”

      Current Employee - Senior Managing Consultant in Ottawa, ON (Canada). I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 10 years. Pros: IBM is good to have on your resume. Fairly competitive benefits. Cons: IBM has lost its way since it bought PWC and adopted the Partner Model. Now these glorified salesmen suck the profit out of the company with little consideration for those that deliver the customer's requirements. International relationships between IBM companies is counter productive. Advice to Senior Management: Start focusing on the customer and employees to deliver quality products and solutions. Develop an equitable bonus/profit sharing plan that recognises those other than partners like you had 15 years ago.
    • “Big Company, Consulting Division Employees Disposable”

      Former Employee - Senior Consultant in Chicago, IL. I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years.

      Pros: Good benefits, great place to start a career, opportunities to work for and impact Fortune 500 companies through consulting services if you can build up a reputation where managers are willing to bring you on multiple projects. Great resume builder. If you can land the right project/client you will work with nice colleagues and maintain a manageable balance/travel schedule.

      High burn-out rate, very limited training on solutions or methodologies for which you are labeled as experienced or experts in for your clients, limited opportunities for advancement without getting the right type of project experience and exposure with partners. Big Blue can replace you with a new grad in an instant. Long-term retention and grooming isn't the goal in the consulting arm. But that's consulting for you.

      Many times your ability to get promoted is based on how well your manager can vouch for you in the annual reviews in addition to your utilization. It may be rare that you've ever met, worked with, or seen your manager.

      Work life/balance depends entirely on the management of your individual projects. I worked on projects that required 12 hour days on client site and weekend hours/conference calls. Some of my projects were in the realm of extremely unhealthy—no balance whatsoever.

      I found trouble projects to be common due to poorly written contracts and our delivery on our promises. IBM had to throw consultants at troubled projects, at any expense to their employees well-being. I've also been placed on some of the most successfully run, long term projects and it's a different world. It's the luck of the draw and it depends entirely on factors you can't really control. A good network can help you navigate.

      Advice to Senior Management: Utilization isn't everything, even if it's what puts money in your pocket. Do something about the skimpy raise and bonuses.

    • “An IBMer”

      Former Employee - Project Management Officer in Quezon City, National Capital Region (Philippines). I worked at IBM full-time for more than 5 years. Pros: Best learning experience any corporate employee could ask for. Best company for leaders. Gets the job done. No matter what. If there is no way, IBMers will find it. SLAs are crucial, but resources are treated more important. Teamwork is emphasized. No body is perfect, but IBMers try to achieve. Cons: IBMers tend to give more hours for work, less for life. Salary is not competitive. Benefits have drastically declined. Advice to Senior Management: Restructure to be more competitive in retaining IBMers.
    • “This is a stable and fast-growing environment, great benefits, and potential transfer within the company.”

      Current Employee - Team Lead in Houston, TX. I have been working at IBM full-time for more than 5 years. Pros: fast growing environment, great benefits, work/life balance. Cons: no salary increase, too many procedures to follow. Advice to Senior Management: promotions
  • Human Resource Executive Online:

    A Few Industries Retaining DB Plans. By Andrew McIlvaine. Excerpts: A new analysis by Towers Watson finds that although the number of Fortune 500 companies that continue to offer defined-benefit pension plans to new hires has plummeted during the last 15 years (from 299 companies to 118 at the close of 2013), the number that shifted away from DB plans last year is the lowest number in more than 10 years. The analysis also found that nearly half of the Fortune 500 that no longer provide DB benefits to new hires still have active employees who continue to accrue benefits. ...

    Cash balance plans have had a rocky history, particularly when large companies such as IBM turned to them to replace their traditional DB plans a decade or so ago. Since then, however, greater regulatory clarity on the use of such plans appears to have made them more acceptable, particularly among small employers.

  • Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alerts. This weeks headlines include:
    • Happy Grandparents Day!
    • Introducing the Koch Sisters…
    • Pledge to Vote, if You Haven’t Done So Already
    • More Republican Governors are Accepting Medicaid Funding
    • Projected Medicare Spending Down for 6th Year in a Row
    • Social Security Privatization Becomes a Major Topic in the Iowa Senate Race
  • New York Times:

    High Health Plan Deductibles Weigh Down More Employees. By Tara Siegel Bernard. Excerpts: Next year, even more corporate workers are likely to be offered high-deductible plans — sometimes known more benignly as consumer-directed plans — and at a rising share of large companies, it will be the only option remaining.

    “You can’t sugarcoat this,” said Paul B. Ginsburg, a professor of the practice of health policy and management at the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. “This is a more challenging situation for consumers and it’s a reflection of how difficult it is to afford health care.”

    Just as employers replaced pensions with retirement savings plans, more large companies appear to be in a similar cost-sharing shift with health plans. Besides making workers responsible for more of their care, employers hope these plans will motivate employees to comparison-shop for medical services — an admirable goal but one that some say is hard to achieve. ...

    Castlight — working with more than 130 large employers — provides consumers with tools that offer personalized pricing and quality information for services within their insurer’s network. But even the most diligent shoppers can run into problems.

    “They may have done everything right,” said Dr. Dena Bravata, Castlight’s chief medical officer. “They may have picked an in-network gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. But then you don’t know if you need to have a biopsy, which then goes to a lab or pathologist who is out of network.”

    And using the tools can simply be impractical in certain circumstances. “Most health care costs are incurred by very sick patients, such as those with heart attacks, strokes, cancer, mental illness, injuries — often under emergency conditions,” said Sara Collins, vice president for health care coverage and access at the Commonwealth Fund.

    Another concern is that some people will be ill prepared to handle large bills, and will forgo care as a result. “If you go to the pharmacy and there is a $1,000 deductible on your drug benefit, they aren’t going to write you a five-year loan,” said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at Kaiser. ...

    Many workers may not have a choice — a high-deductible plan may be their only option. “If the deductible is very high, all of a sudden the financial protection part of insurance, you are losing that,” Professor Ginsburg said. “You still have protection against very high claims, but you have people who may have to pay $5,000 during one year toward the cost of their care or more. And a lot of people don’t have that kind of savings.”

  • Salon:

    America’s rotting empire: Billionaires galore and a crumbling infrastructure. More proof we're in rapid decline: Not a single U.S. city currently ranks among the world's most livable. By C.J. Werleman. Excerpts: “The game is rigged,” writes Senator Elizabeth Warren in her new book A Fighting Chance. It’s rigged because the rich and their lobbyists have rigged the rules of the game to their favor. The rules are reflected in a tax code and bankruptcy laws that have seen the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the rich in U.S. history.

    The result?

    America has the most billionaires in the world, but not a single U.S. city ranks among the world’s most livable cities. Not a single U.S. airport is among the top 100 airports in the world. Our bridges, road and rail are falling apart, and our middle class is being guttered out thanks to three decades of stagnant wages, while the top 1 percent enjoys 95 percent of all economic gains.

  • Associated Press, courtesy of the Denver Post:

    About that raise... US execs feeling tight-fisted. By Josh Boak. Excerpts: The corporate executives who decide whether U.S. workers get meaningful raises have looked at the broader economy and have a message: Don't expect a pay increase anytime soon.

    And if you're counting on a full-time job offer in the future, your prospects may be dimming.

    That's the future that many U.S. executives envision.

    A survey of Harvard Business School alumni released Monday reveals a series of trends that are widening income disparities and may be weakening the ability of the U.S. economy to grow in the long term.

    More than 40 percent of the respondents foresee lower pay and benefits for workers. Roughly half favor outsourcing work over hiring staffers. A growing share prefer part-time employees. Nearly half would rather invest in new technology than hire or retain workers. ...

    The survey found that many companies are reluctant to add jobs if other alternatives exist. Only 25 percent said they preferred investing in employees, compared with 46 percent who would rather spend on technology. Forty-nine percent favored outsourcing work over hiring.

New on the Alliance@IBM Site

Job Cut Reports

  • Comment 08/29/14:

    Ginni just sold $6.7M worth of stock on 8/27. Execs get richer, workers get poorer. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=IBM+Insider+Transactions -Insiders still selling- Alliance reply: Workers get poorer until they decide they've had enough. Then they get organized. Labor Day is recognized for good reasons, and the reasons are not barbecuing or going to a park. One hundred years ago, big business and corporations had a stranglehold on their workers. The rich kept getting richer and the workers kept getting poorer and dying sooner. Then they did something about it, because they'd had enough. Thank unions for 8 hour days, sick pay, living wages, and earned retirement and pensions. Get organized now. If you continue to wait, all of the gains that were made 100 years ago, will certainly be lost forever.
  • Comment 08/31/14:

    Labor day is a day to respect the workers. IBM has lost all respect for its workers. Just this week Ginni sold 6.7 million dollars worth of stock and Sam and Lou enjoy millions of dollars while IBM continues to RA employees. CEO families are doing great, workers are getting the shaft. This labor day weekend, all IBMUS employees need to organize and have a union, or this corruption will continue against the IBM worker. Join the union. -ANA-
  • Comment 09/01/14:

    "Ginni just sold $6.7M worth of stock on 8/27" Ginni needs it to pay for her summer vacation and for her Labor Day vacation plans! Just concern yourself with things you can control: getting organized, get a union vote, get a contract. Make money and live better! -JohnBoy Walton-
  • Comment 09/01/14:

    -RAtired BTV'r- it could be a phantom job hiring campaign. I see IBM "jobs" in the newspaper classifieds all the time and the qualifications are generally ridiculous for a single human to possess. So then IBM says they can't fill these "jobs" so they can get more H1B's. IBM can do this since the State of VT and other States like NY do not know the exact number of IBM employees and where they are located since IBM does not disclose employment numbers due to "competitive reasons" (whatever that means I still can't figure out). If IBM doesn't have to disclose IBM will not disclose and will obfuscate whenever possible. When was the last time IBM was forthcoming with vital public information??? -FishFooled_in_EFK-
  • Comment 09/01/14:

    BTV is hiring. Linkedin has been sending me a job notice for an Advisory Engineer job. It looks like an H1B "fake-posting" (only one person, the H1B already in hand, can possibly fit the detailed job description). The fab is also hiring, I know someone who went [back] to IBM to work. -NotherBtv'er-
  • Comment 09/02/14:

    The majority of US jobs posted on the IBM Global Opportunity Marketplace are fake. Every time I apply internally, I am told the job had to be "pulled". IBM is full of LIES and LIARS. I'm looking forward to finding a job elsewhere, and I really don't care if it doesn't pay as well. -Anonymous-
  • Comment 09/03/14:

    To all the posters from US about fake jobs: This might make you feel "better". Jobs posted by STG India seem to be fake too. I have had a couple of friends being contacted by an IBM recruiter about "exciting job openings" in STG. They respond with their resume, and never hear back, despite having all the qualifications. Sounds pretty normal, but here's what makes this suspicious: these so-called job openings have been open on external job sites (Monster, et. al.) for over 6 months, and yet, they don't even want to have a telephonic screening round with a potential candidate. I have even had a couple of friends who resigned from the exact same job apply for the same job opening (just for the heck of it), and they were apparently found to be "not matching requirements". Bottomline is, this is not a case of IBM management deceiving U.S. employees to grow business outside, but rather a worldwide betrayal of employees to meet their own ends. We should stop fighting among ourselves. -Anonymous from India-
  • Comment 09/03/14:

    Anyone else find it hilarious that IBM had a global SameTime outage this week? It already happened for a couple days last week. It's almost unheard of for a large corporation to have such a large scale communication outage. Gross incompetence. I bet they outsourced all the good IT people to dirt cheap East Asian subsidiaries (Note: I am also an East Asian) -Anon-
  • Comment 09/04/14:

    I know a job cut or cuts is totally inevitable in IBM before YE 2014. And this site will expose it again and again. I wish more people and the news press will notice it when it happens. Where is the collective conscience of this conniving, lying, greedy, corrupt, and morally bankrupt IBM executive management team???? How do they even sleep at night???? -Roadkilled-
  • Comment 09/04/14:

    I thought this video needs to be shared again, since there are rumors of layoffs coming. So glad to be RA'ed in 2013: IBM/Sterling Commerce Manager Holds Team Building Project (Employees Color Easter Eggs 2013). Granted it was two days after Easter and the manager didn't boil the eggs. My manager gave me permission to take the pictures of our colored Easter eggs. I made a YouTube video and wanted to share it with past/present and future IBM employees. I hope you like it and feel free to share it. The whole Easter egg color fiasco took about 2 hours of IBM time. This happened about 2 months before we got our RA'ed notices. So if your manager has you doing crazy things, it MIGHT just mean the layoffs are coming. I would really suggest organizing a union, now and please feel free to share the video I would like to see it go viral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIXP2rt1H6Q -Glad to be RA'd in 2013-
If you hire good people and treat them well, they will try to do a good job. They will stimulate one another by their vigor and example. They will set a fast pace for themselves. Then if they are well led and occasionally inspired, if they understand what the company is trying to do and know they will share in its sucess, they will contribute in a major way. The customer will get the superior service he is looking for. The result is profit to customers, employees, and to stcckholders. —Thomas J. Watson, Jr., from A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM.

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