back to article What looks like a global pay freeze, sounds like a global pay freeze, but isn't a global pay freeze? Ask IBM

IBM has told staff across the world in all divisions it is scrapping pay rise reviews until the first half of next year due to the "considerable uncertainty" caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. The glum news was delivered in a letter to staff on Thursday 6 August sent by Diane Gherson, senior vice president of HR, and …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge


    No pay freezes for us at the top as well. We're in this together.

    Our multi million dollar bonuses?

    As we said, we are not taking a pay rise. We're all suffering together.

    Sent from my iYacht.

    1. Mike the FlyingRat

      Re: Translation...

      Sorry mate, have to down vote you...

      The translation is...

      Our customers are deferring our services and buying more kit because of COVID and market uncertainty. So until this turns around, we have to sit tight.

      You are correct, that they are sitting pretty with a lot of stock options and executive bonus plans, however they are also tied to performance. So they too are taking a hit.

      You are also correct, they are paid a significantly large salary, but they are in the same boat as you. Its just that they tend to have more job security.

      I guess what I am trying to say is that IBM is hurting because their customers are not buying their kit and services while other competitors (e.g. AWS, GCP, etc ... ) are getting the reduced sales.

      1. crackmonkeys4hire

        Re: Translation...

        Customers aren't buying because IBMs products have turned to crap since the Indian invasion

      2. earl grey Silver badge

        Re: Translation...

        but they are in the same boat as you

        No, we're on the Titanic and at least they have the Minnow.

    2. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Translation...

      I had my annual review and pay rise on schedule (conducted over Teams), along with a hefty bonus for my efforts in supporting our remote workers through COVID. So where there's a will...

      Not sure what IBM execs are sniffing. Sounds like a good excuse to improve their bottom line.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Yep, it ain't fun not getting any raise

    But it's still better than being fired.

    Which might still happen to some.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Yep, it ain't fun not getting any raise

      Of course it will, it's IBM. There isn't a year that goes by without firing people and hiring new people to do the same job for less.

      1. Mike the FlyingRat

        Re: Yep, it ain't fun not getting any raise

        Uhm that's called global re-balancing the workforce. ;-P

        IBM has a lot of flaws.

        This is just one of them.

        There has to be a culture shift. (Yes, I escaped from the borg many moons ago)

        There also has to be a product shift and a desire from the IBM execs to fire the bean counters.

        1. RM Myers Silver badge

          Re: Yep, it ain't fun not getting any raise

          Fire the bean counters, or hire the engineers? There are a number of engineer led companies who are eating the lunch of former engineer led companies like IBM, Intel, and HP Inc/HPE. I'm thinking companies like AMD, NVIDIA, ARM, and TSMC who all have CEO's with strong engineering/technical backgrounds. When your CEO's stop being engineers and start being sales or finance people, you may see short gains while the current products and products already in the pipeline run off, but what happens then? At their heart, these are engineering companies and it is critical to get the engineering right.

  3. trevorde

    Business as usual

    "We will still be having our six monthly rounds of 'Resource Actions' and 'workforce rebalancing' "

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was strange, shocking even

    It is so unusual to get an email from an IBM exec that doesn't say 'read my blog' , or 'you must attend this critical all-hands call' (just like the 9-13 others that you also must attend) that many of us were shocked.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What? Pay rises?? At IBM??? Some mistake, surely?

    Before I was kicked out two years ago, I don't remember getting a pay rise in the previous decade - so I'm assuming this won't have much effect at all on the bottom line.

    I did hear rumours that some high performing staff did get some very insultingly low rises occasionally, they may have had enough to get a Maccy D once a month.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem with IBM is the replacement of skilled labor with low skilled cheap Indian labor. Across the board IBM has rid itself of experienced employees and replaced them with younger inexperienced and inexpensive labor consisting of unskilled and low skilled Indians resulting in poor customer service and an increase of customers fleeing IBM for better options. And don't think pay raise postponement applies to those at the top, they have already received bonuses and pay raises.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      replacement of skilled labor with low skilled cheap Indian labor.

      Someone I know was bought in as a consultant to bridge the knowledge gap for a customer engagement. It was not a good experience, with apathy and indifference to learning displayed by their Indian colleges, whose coding skill and general developer nous was far removed from what would be acceptable for a Professional Services company to be flogging as skilled labour at above market rates

      1. Getmo

        I've heard thru the grapevine that's even starting become a cultural norm for India. For example call center staff will all work in a giant warehouse together under a parent company, which will grab dozens of clients overseas and "hire out" their staff to them. Hence, there's a very low level of caring from employees, since if you "fire" them their real employer will get them a new assignment at a new company by the end of the day. If it seems like sometimes they do things their own way, even after several calls & emails explaining your company requires these tasks to be done your specific way, it may be because the employee you thought you hired doesn't actually work for you, but has a manager telling him how *we* do things. They're still literal sweatshops; only now converted from clothing & trinkets to call centers & webdev stations.

        Not too unlike China where the culture has shifted to not only is stealing everybody else's ideas & tech o.k., now in a sense it's considered more "honorable" to steal someone's idea than it is to generate your own.

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