back to article IBM's sacking spree reaches Australia – and as staff wait to exit, they're offered AU$4k to find new workers

IBM's new round of "resource actions" – Big Blue speak for sackings – has reached Australia, The Register has learned, and will result in the creation of new cross-disciplinary teams to serve clients. We understand that staff in IBM's Australian offices were summoned to unpleasant meetings on 18 May and told their last day at …

  1. SteveCarr

    Pleased I no longer have to fear this b/s

    It's a perverse pleasure of mine to read that nothing has changed since I left Big Blue - well, not exactly nothing, after all Ginni is a gone-burger too - but I do feel sorry for all my colleagues who continue to live in fear of their career terminating at the whim of an accountant in Armonk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pleased I no longer have to fear this b/s

      This time they supposedly used Watson to identify who to target. Based on who I know have got their pink slip and including myself it can't have been too sophisticated an algorithm - every one of us had over 20 years of service with IBM.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pleased I no longer have to fear this b/s

        I'm sorry for you... but I left over 15 yrs ago after being captured and handcuffed via an acquisition.

        While there are lawsuits over ageism, this isn't the case here. They are letting a lot more people go.

        If you read the article... they are looking to retool their workforce.

        It will end in failure. You may find a Java/Scala developer but don't expect them to be experts in RDBMS technology.

        The other issue, they won't pay their staff enough to get or retain those with deep enough skills. So they'll still have customer sat issues.

        Posted Anon for the Obvious reasons.

      2. rdm

        Re: Pleased I no longer have to fear this b/s

        Desk Set, anyone?

    2. macjules

      Re: Pleased I no longer have to fear this b/s

      Me too. Best bit about not working there? No longer waiting for 5 minutes for Notes to load on a Mac laptop.

  2. The Bloke next door

    American companies seem to think grey hair is a mark of senility; I fell foul of that too.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      "... grey hair is a mark of senility..."

      Unfortunately, it's more likely a mark of being too expensive for the bean counters. Young new entrants are much cheaper and also better conditioned to being abused as they're mostly might relieved to have a job at all in an overcrowded market place. Expertise and experience are not significant decision factors, which is why software is mostly such a pile of excrement and projects fail so often.

      The "bottom line" for most companies is not quality or customer retention, it's net profit. A cheap readily replaceable workforce is s significant contributor to this.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "... grey hair is a mark of senility..."

        What's worse is that grey hairs can't even offer to take a pay cut. Nor can they find employment at a lesser rate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not all... I work for a (perhaps *THE*) large American based, multinational IT/SW company... *lots* of grey hair on show on our vid calls (additionally, it is truly multinational in EMEA, there are females and we are hiring in the EU / UK too, rather than offshoring) nice to see!


      1. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

        Why anonymous?

        I'd expect you to proudly announce which company still has such a policy.

        1. ratfox
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Why anonymous?

          Looks like Google or Microsoft to me. Microsoft has more employees in total, and I would assume older employees in general. Google has doubled in size in the last five years, and I think they do hire mostly right out of college...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why anonymous?

            AWS has more employees than Alphabet and Microsoft combined; and (from published research I have read) a far more diverse workforce than either, in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity.

      2. IneptAdept

        Why anon

        Why anon, you should be praising this company

        Or you are talking nonsense and just want to get involved in the conversation

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why anon

          I also work for a very large American IT company and I see the same thing - we are hiring massively in Europe and have a hugely diverse workforce where experience and new ideas and approaches are valued equally and diversity is encouraged and celebrated. I also worked for IBM years ago and the two places cannot be compared in ANY way.

          Not nonsense, just worth highlighting that not all large IT companies treat people the same

          Now watch as IBM's next magic trick of destroying RedHat

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Presumably failing to dye it orange shows a lack of ambition.

    4. BebopWeBop

      But the Americans seem to lurve selecting elderly men for the presidential post. Oh, they are all rich men, that explains it.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This isn't about your hair being gray.

      (Amerikans say gray not grey)

      Look, I escaped the borg many years ago.

      I have gray haired friends wanting to leave.

      I am sometimes on calls w IBM and recognize people I haven't seen in 15 years so they are still there.

      The issue is this... they want to pivot and they want employees who can pivot as needed. Unless you're on the leading edge (IBM doesn't do bleeding edge when it comes to customers), you are SoL.

      IBM isn't the thought leader when it comes to technology.

      They need to fire the bean counters and become a lean, agile start up. But that type of culture change will kill the company.

  3. Denarius

    Does IBM still exist ?

    waiting for the news article about IBM, HP[E,I] sacking 20,000 more staff than they employed so the stock price booms as company ceases to exist

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Does IBM still exist ?

      FYI.. We covered the recent IBM and HPE layoffs.


      1. Denarius

        Re: Does IBM still exist ?

        read them, hence concluding that PHB persistent mass sackings are an example of OCD.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does IBM still exist ?

        But somehow missed all of the DXC global bloodbath... its almost like they are suppressing that *somehow*

        1. GrumpenKraut

          Re: Does IBM still exist ?

          > DXC global bloodbath

          An article was shortly there, then it disappeared together with the comments. I don't quite dare to ask why that was. Legal something-something, I'd speculate.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why no mention of DXC?

          I can't believe the current round of 500 redundancies in the UK has not made it on to here,especially now the emails have been sent out to so many employees but then the CEO's meltdown on company wide call didn't make it on here either, which surely was Register gold. I can only assume after so many DXC articles on here, that clearly irritated the execs, DXC took some legal actions to muzzle The Register . Shame

  4. Denarius

    upcoming news

    <sarc> In view if IBMs move to decrease capacity, further outsourcing actions of critical Oz government IT will be immediately transferred to the efficient cost effective services of IBM. The contract will state how secure citizens data will be because its recorded on dead tree carcass. No need to specify what country it is stored in. </sarc> I wish I was going to be wrong but the PHB layer in Oz is so trusting, so naive, so confident. Yes, idiots

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What Would You Say You Do Here ?

    There’s only two option to survive this RIF.

    1) your name is Michael Bolton

    2) you hit your LinkedIn quota

    1. JClouseau

      Re: What Would You Say You Do Here ?

      If we're talking about the same Michael "You can just call me Mike" Bolton, then you beat me to it.

      The "they can escape redundancy by explaining why their role should be preserved" thing immediately brought to mind the interviews with the Two Bobs.

      "What would you say you do here ?"

      Priceless, if this wasn't about actual people losing actual jobs...

      I used to laugh while watching that movie years ago, and "sorry, your job has been sent to Bangalore" was more of a US thing.

      Used to...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NetApp will be next...

    ... new guy needs to earn some respect.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    /*Leaked Watson Code*/

    void resourceActionImplementation(HrEmployeeList hrEmployeeList, int hrBonusCount, long managementBonusCount, ResourceActionList bigResourceActionList) {

    foreach (employee in hrEmployeeList ){

    if(((employee.getServiceDuration >= 20) && ((employee.getQualificationLevel() > employee.getManager().getQualificationLevel()) || (employee.getAnnualRemuneration() > FIRINGTHRESHOLD)) )&& (employee.getSO().getOccupation() != LAWYER)){



    managementBonusCount += 100;




    /*Let Watson deal with any surplus brackets and things, it's good at that*/

    1. mikepren

      Love the Long for manager bonus, great touch

  8. eldakka

    And to make matters worse, those emails are still landing in Lotus/IBM/HCL Notes inboxes!

    Some cc:Mail inboxes too I imagine!

  9. Anonymous South African Coward

    Greyhair = experience, knows how to resolve issues in as little time as possible, does not bill the client with lots of $$$ - but employing greyhair costs company a bit of $$$

    New guy = no experience of greyhair, will waffle and faffle around trying to resolve issues, billing the client lots of $$$$$ - employing new guy = cheap as peanuts

    guess which one they'll choose

    and new contracts can be written to stipulate that if no agreeable performance levels is reached, company have the right to terminate contract with new guy and hire another new guy...

    no wonder why the natural enemy of the BOFH is the beancounter

    1. Nifty Silver badge

      Have you seen the price of peanuts recently?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Cheaper and easier to get than hair dye and less chance of something going wrong (unless you have a peanut allergy)

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    offered the chance to pen a "written defence" of their role

    The best destination of such a document would be the clients they're supporting. Add in contact details of course.

  11. Erik4872

    Did Mr. Burns write the rules for this RA?

    I'm not a big quoter-of-entertainment, but it fits perfectly.......

    Mr. Burns: All right, let's make this sporting, Leonard. If you can tell me why I shouldn't fire you without using the letter "e," you can keep your job.

    Lenny: Uh, okay. I'm a good... work... guy...

    Mr. Burns: You're fired.

    Lenny: But I didn't say it.

    Mr. Burns: You will.

    [He pulls a lever, dropping Lenny down a trapdoor]


  12. martinusher Silver badge

    Serious HR-speak here

    None of the comments so far have complemented IBM for pack so much HR-speak into such a small area. Sure, its BS, but that's what they're paid to do -- put out the steamin' pile 'o crap that so dense that people don't realize what it really mans.

    My interpretation of all this 'cross functional / Agile' stuff is that its really saying "We are going to give the work to a bunch of young (cheap) people who don't quite know what they're getting themselves into and who need a job, any job. We are then going to work them into the ground as they try to cope with doing the work of what was once several specialists. If (when) they fail to perform we'll replace them (India's got lots of spares)'. The subtext is that they'd want to get rid of a lot of the more experienced staff not just because of cost savings but because they'lre likely to push back against being made too agile (i,e, worked into an early grave).

    This makes perfect sense at a mangerial level. The problem is that it doesn't make sense if you actually want to get work done. Management have always believed in magic programmers, superstars who somehow can do wondrous things overnight, and these people do exist. But they know its an illusion; they're either adjusting project parameters so that it appears that things move quicker than reality or they're consummate BS artists who will move on (into management or marketing) before they get found out. Meanwhile the customers suffer, the business suffers, but there's always someone else to blame -- just keep those bonuses comng.

  13. onebignerd

    Wanting people to beg for their jobs, just for the amusement of management. IBM obviously isn't hurting if they can cough up 45K for referrals. What kind of provisos is this offer riddled with? Probably after 6 months to a year of employment, then they'll find a reason not to pay out.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's how it works

    I got my marching orders in this round and here's how it works:

    It's framed as a 'proposal' for your job to go - there is no longer a requirement for xxxx position. The wording of 'proposal' is important.

    You then have 5 days to submit a counter defence stating why your position should be retained (why you should keep your job)

    No one will read it except maybe your manager who will agree with your points and who will then send it along... My manager was honest about the whole thing - he's had people produce extensive documentation, charts etc and it's all for nothing.

    If you don't submit a written defence for your position to be retained, it's determined that you have 'accepted and agreed' to the proposal.

    Then the following week, you receive a confirmation letter stating that the proposal has been 'confirmed' and accepted.

    You then have 30 days to find another job in IBM - well nigh impossible because the managers are told layoffs are coming and they remove the advertisements for any in-house positions until the layoffs have been completed. I had noticed the pattern before (jobs disappearing from the internal job site just before the layoffs) and a previous manager confirmed my suspicions.

    Your end date is usually 2 months after the confirmation meeting and email is provided - this is in the hope that you are so desperate to get another job you'll take anything and then have to resign. Resigning before your due departure date means the redundancy no longer applies and it's treated as if you had resigned normally.

    IBM also engages a third party to provide training on soft skills (interview skills, CV writing etc) as part of your exit but you are still expected to do your normal day to day work and being in small already overworked teams it makes it extremely difficult for you and your soon to be former colleagues. I can't comment on the 3rd party as yet as I was too busy today trying to sort out a high severity incident caused by an offshore team to answer their call.

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