back to article Now you see them... IBM made over 800 UK jobs vanish in 2018 despite improving fortunes

One in 15 IBM jobs in the UK were rubbed out during calendar 2018 despite local financials returning to growth. Profit & loss accounts filed at Companies House (PDF) have confirmed some 11,297 workers were on the payroll at the end of the year, compared to 12,124 the year before. Big Blue made reductions in sales & marketing …

  1. Pete4000uk

    Who's left?

    How does this company have any employees left?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who's left?

      Doesn't say they didn't go ahead and hire cheaper, younger staff.

      This kind of stuff worries me. I've got at least another 25+ years in the business before I can afford (or forced to) retire, and it's quite obvious that if the company is not happy to invest on your re-education with technologies, or you can't spare some time off to do so, you're doomed.

      Moore's law has been retired for chip hardware, but it definitely exists for the toolkits, tech and software.

      How a person can re-educate on certain technologies w/o breaking the bank is a good question, if you need to hire a bunch of not-exactly-cheap AWS instances just to demo something to yourself...

      1. darthsteve

        Re: Who's left?

        amen to this. uk industry has dismantled all hard skills training over the last couple of decades, cutting costs on training alongside technology investment, de-skilling the workforce and then turning the job market into a meat grinder of disposable short-termism. It's all coming home to roost as machine learning explodes onto the scene, but there's still no investment in people and it feels like it's getting worse having been asked to fund my own AWS and Azure resource for both interviews and day jobs. I even had my salary cut during a probation period because the firm said it was to compensate my employer while I was learning to use their proprietary software, which I didn't even see during my employment. I don't know about the wider tech industry, but the data science circus certainly feels extremely exploitative with universities flogging free student work, or big companies like IBM using public funding to get their foot in the door of many companies. your cv is either the latest (cheapest) hip young thing, or yesterday's fish and chips.

        1. keithpeter

          Re: Who's left?

          Just wondering what the 'analytics' and 'big data' bits of these managerial skills categories actually mean on the ground?

          Any actual concrete examples of what a typical job might entail?

          My sneaking suspicion is that it might actually be possible to devise a training program/boot camp type of thingy to cover the mathematical aspects for people who had the programming skills already. The programming skills bit being a pretty good filter.

        2. hoofie

          Re: Who's left?

          >> I even had my salary cut during a probation period because the firm said it was to compensate my employer while I was learning to use their proprietary software, which I didn't even see during my employment.

          I'm struggling to understand how that would be legal in the UK ?

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Who's left?

            It's something definitely worth thinking about. I'm sorted for 12 months but I'm slowly moving my career over out of IT and into the business it supports, with a couple of other options.

            I did it many years ago when I stepped off electronic hardware development into IT. Now I'm edging into the science my IT has been supporting.

            In fact I'm currently procrastinating on The Register when I should be doing work for my taught Masters that will support this move. The Masters is being for paid for by my employer, they don't know that I have chosen this path.

            Because two can play at that game.

          2. gotes

            Re: Who's left?

            I'm struggling to understand how that would be legal in the UK ?

            My assumption was that it was the United States. It's almost like employees expect to work for free there.

            1. Tim99 Silver badge

              Re: Who's left?

              "... It's almost like employees expect to work for free there."

              A few in service industries actually pay their "employer" for the privilege to earn tips (e.g. a maitre d' in some posh restaurants).

    2. Aitor 1

      Re: Who's left?


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No names.

    How many companies that have outsourced to IBM have brought their old staff back ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No names.

      IBM has been used by companies such as Panasonic and Sony for outsourcing, but IBM has simply outsourced to third party companies which has the expertise.

      IBM will always marked up their value, but when they don't have the skill set? Why should companies outsource to IBM which offer no value and simply oversell their services to third parties.....too many times this has happened...…

      Ironically if any corporate wants to outsource to IBM, I guarantee the client is outnumbered by IBM's expertise. but when you ask for technical detail.....the script changes and the IT managers of these client companies are bribed....

      From an IT support 'point of view' the IBM outsourcing is slower to respond as you need to log all the details in their portal (which they lack the skill set) and then they call the third party some time later....I cannot see how this is productive to any corporate company, but IBM continues that quest as the big sell is....'deal with a single supplier'....hmm...if only companies knew the truth.

      IBM does not have the skill set for all these other technologies, apart from IBM......learn the facts !!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No names.

        Fully correct. But if you’re going to get a bargain basement Indian bodyshop anyway, why pay IBM a mark-up? Just go direct for savings. You might even get a better service... slightly.

  3. Julz Silver badge


    At this rate, they'll have to reduce their employee age cutoff to below 50.

    Well, it might be sarcasm...

    1. hittitezombie

      Re: <sarcasm>

      50? That's giving them too much credit. It's already 40.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >In the past half-decade, IBM has run multiple "workforce reduction programmes" to get rid of people who it claims did not have the skills to match its commercial requirements for the 21st century.

    That's not correct. The order comes from above that a certain percentage of the workforce in a division, e.g. the Systems and Technology Group aka STG (if it still exists). Initially there's a round of voluntary redundancies and anyone who puts their hand up goes, unless someone in management fights it and insists the person is too good to go. Then it goes to involuntary and individual managers are told they need to pick people.

    If you have a profitable team full of good people, some of them will still have to go. It's nothing to do with skills or ability.

    Of course, this may have changed in the last 5 years since I ran away with my bag of cash.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Of course it's changed in the last five years. There's no big bag of cash any more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My bag wasn't big. But it was a bag. I got lucky as it was the last round before they stopped doing it.

        I know many who chose to stay. Some have been forced out since, despite being skilled.

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          The "forcing people out even when skilled" thing is part of IBM's well-documented predilection towards making the company workforce more youthful. Toss out some relatively old employee and hire some younger, less expensive employee with many of the same skills. It's basically the same business model as "toss out Western workers, and replace them with someone in Hyderabad", except this allows them to say they are "still a major employer, committed to the future of western country X" while arguably undermining the well-being of the people of western country X.

  5. Jonathon Green

    “Globally, IBM is trying to morph into a business that makes its money from selling clouds...”

    Now that’s a neat business model if you can make it work, especially if you can do a bit of arbitrage by buying up unwanted clouds around peak holiday periods or major sporting events and then selling them (along with their aqueous content) to customers elsewhere in the the agricultural or water and sewerage sectors during periods of high demand...

    1. spold Silver badge

      Well IBM does own The Weather Company - yes seriously...

      I'm not sure weather <sic> it is a rainy day or sunny horizons for this part of their cloud business...

      1. Ima Ballsy

        And ....

        That's gone to $hit as well.

        Lucky to have a 1GB, 1GB internet connection and it takes FOREVER to load

  6. Jay Lenovo

    Bleed 'em dry

    IBM loves the UK, just not employing them.

    But don't let that dissuade you from spending. Other, cheaper, countries need the work.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My greatest fear...

    Is IBM becomes a patent troll.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: My greatest fear...

      patent troll?

      Probably, might not be 'IBM' by then anymore (possibly hasn't for some time)

      Just wait for when it finally transforms from IBM to ICBM

      It'll be a remnant 'radioactive' piece of IBM shrapnel with a half-life far longer than SCO.

      Transforming to selling cloud like every other iT company? Well, better hope the market doesn't have second thoughts on that strategy.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    I know of one job gain.

    In their 20s.

  9. The Brave Sir Robin

    How are IBM still even a thing ?

    How do they even survive ? What do they sell that even a slightly sane person would want to buy ? Surely everything they do can be obtained cheaper and better from a myriad of other sources ?

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