What a lovely company to work for
With every one of these stories I see, I'm more puzzled that anyone - at least, anyone over the age of 35 or unwilling to work for H-1B wages - would still want to work for IBM. What a dreadful image they project.
Michael Stickler, a former IBM data scientist, has sued Big Blue for gender discrimination and retaliation after he complained that he was not being offered the same family leave options available to his women colleagues. In March 2021, according to the complaint [PDF], Stickler's fiancée's seven-year-old son came to live with …
Judging by the number of stories compared to the number of IBM employees, either people are far too scared to speak out, or the actual incidence of outrageous behaviour by IBM management is average for that sort of company.
Any company that size will be bound to have some extremely bad managers and The Register's articles have many comments on appalling management in a multitude of other companies. Remember that in EDS it was a sacking offence to tell a colleague your rate of pay, and if you left in your first two years you had to pay back the cost of your 'training'.
Generally you have to be in a pretty bad way to sue your employer, as it is pretty much professional suicide, so I'm guessing that IBM are just as bad as the rest. (Although I reckon it is abuse to have to call a hard disk a "DASD" in any case.) In one of my companies I used to joke that they were very benevolent, as who else would employ as senior managers patients who were on day-release from Broadmoor? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadmoor_Hospital for the uninitiated.)
Maybe IBM stands out as they had the history of being the "job for life, benevolent employer, in IT"
The name carries a lot of baggage with it - they were never really a dot.com darling, nor a bonus-shitting FANG today. But neither were they considered an off-shore-centred, body-shop.
They held the position of being the sensible, small-c conservative, back-bone of IT - makers of both mainframes and the thinkpad you wanted in your bag.
A partner that would outlive you the customer - a safe pair of hands.
My feeling is that all these stories about "IBM being dicks" are really just shorthand for "the old industry being dicks"
Yes, IBM was a good employer; when it took me on (in 1984) it actively compared itself with the market surveys and wanted to be at the top.
Its line management, however, wasn't generally much good but survived in good times. Line management got promoted to middle management. It was interesting that Lou Gerstner bypassed management to sort out IBM in the 1990s.
By 2007 IBM was no longer a good employer, so I left. But I don't think it's any worse than many others, it's just that it's nowhere near the best and doesn't even try to be any more. At the end of the day it's a benefit/cost analysis and I no longer felt that the benefits I got from IBM (salary, yes, but recognition and good treatment more generally) matched the personal cost in time and effort and a feeling of compromising and no longer being able to do the best job I could any more.
When I worked there I was proud to do a good job and meet the customers' requirements, and fix my mistakes properly. So me and my colleagues were respected and relied upon by our customers.
"Yes, IBM was a good employer; when it took me on (in 1984) it actively compared itself with the market surveys and wanted to be at the top."
When I left, IBM were just in the process of introducing market-based rates (I forget the acronym); where the market AVERAGE became this Holy grail in salary discussions. As in: if you were earning 80% of the market average for your position then you had a chance at a pay rise, but as you got closer to 100% the chance of any salary rise trended toward zero. The vast majority of people in my team were around 85-90% of the market-based rate.
The fiendishly clever bit is that IBM presented 100% of market rate as this incredible, aspirational goal that if you did reach it, meant that you could be very proud of yourself. Whereas in reality all it meant was that their very, very best people were - at absolute best - earning the average market rate.
Its a funny thing isn't. When it comes to us ordinary folk who do the work the customer pays for then its market rate. But when it comes to executives they have to pay top quartile pay in order to get the 'best' executives. By definition, of course, there aren't enough top quartile executives for everyone to have them, so the inevitable result is that they pay top quartile pay to average executives and the pay keeps ratcheting up. And thus the executive class gets richer and richer at the expense of the middle class.
I beg to differ. I work with quite a few people who are ex-IBM and not one of them says nice things about the experience. Their experiences and views are pretty consistent, chief among them:
1) top down and autocratic corporate structure
1) a stuffy, old fashioned, impersonal culture
2) strict delineations between workers and management, very them and us
4) rigid and impersonal ways of dealing with staff, their needs, problems etc
5) the firm and management have the opinion that IBM is still at the very top of the corporate tree in technology and people should be glad to work there
It sounds horrid to be honest. Why would anyone work there when there are forward thinking, flexible tech employers all over the place? The biggest issue to me is that the company knows it has real problems in terms of image, re age-discrimination, redundancies, unfair employment issues etc. But it does nothing to try and improve that image, it just doesn't care. It's stuck in the past.
So yeah, from what I know from people who have worked there, IBM are definitely toward the bottom of the range in terms of employee treatment and corporate culture.
IBM is about average for the US. Companies moved to "PTO" from vacation and sick days some time ago, the transition happened where I worked without anyone really noticing. It sounds the same except that it isn't -- if you're sick you've only got three days before it comes out of your PTO. Once you run out of PTO you're on borrowed time. Literally.
I moved to the US back when jobs in the US were not only plentiful but paid a lot better than in the UK which made the crappy "heads we win, tails you lose" working conditions tolerable. The job market has deteriorated along with the visa climate -- its now literally a lottery -- so I'd recommend people think twice before accepting a job here, especially as our sort of work can often be done anywhere. (Meanwhile, I notice that the UK's working conditions have become more American -- the average working week's and the workday has, like the US, lost its breaks for lunch and the like, they're now all on your time.)
Totally agree. I was approached by a recruiter of theirs about 9 months ago and told him I would never consider working for IBM these days. When he asked why I told him that:
I know many people who have worked at IBM, and keep up to date with the glut of employment / discrimination / dismissal stories that appear in the IT press. My pals have told me some horror stories about the things management got up to. Based on those sources of information I wouldn't work there ever. I'd never even consider it.
His off the record response was that he understands and he frequently gets such feedback. He was pissed off and frustrated as it he was finding it increasingly difficult to recruit anyone at all.
I've seen firsthand stackable offences committed by people of both genders.
What I've not seen is balanced response. Percent senior manager of gender Y is perceived as a target worthwhile overlooking sackable offences for, or at least finding creative ways to Palm off problem staff to another business unit. Enjoy your relocation to location X where you will be found out, and unceremoniously booted by less tolerant employment law and HR statistics.
Gender X on the other hand are expendable. No such KPI on percent gender X exist..
Things suck and bad KPIs contribute to poor behaviour.
IBM is facing a vast number of lawsuits also pertaining to threats of a physical and/or illegal nature related to H-1B workers.
Specifically that they threatened if the worker made any sort of complaint about unequal treatment, IBM would ensure the worker was blacklisted not only from H-1B but from every country that IBM operates a visa-based worker program, and that they'd ensure no company would hire them ever again.
Very illegal. very morally wrong, and apparently the sheer volume of lawsuits indicates this isn't just a disgruntled employee.
Long ago and far away, I worked for IBM in Vermont back in the early 90s when IBM had decided to offer benefits for "unmarried partners." This was clearly meant to apply to gay folks, but nothing said it had to be. So when my fiancé moved in I decided to cover her and her kids with that plan while we planned the wedding. HR actually sent someone down to explain to me that "it wasn't right" for me get those benefits. I asked why since it was stated to cover unmarried cohabitants. She danced around the issue a while and finally stated that it was "really meant for same-sex relationships." I simply asked, "Are you saying that you're using sex discrimination in offering benefits?" The reaction was like I'd put live 120V wires under the seat. I got the benefits with the admonition I was to tell no one.
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In my last employment, I had a rather disinterested manager*, who had a chat with me at the end of the personnel year, and then passed me on to my next 'manager'. In the final meeting (by telephone, of course) it had been suggested that I try to get some follow-on business from clients by identifying 'key stakeholders-holders' and their budgets etc. (something I am totally crap at BTW).
Anyway, I get the interview with the new line manager, and he doesn't say much just, the usual 'welcome to the team'. A month or so later the staff ratings are out, and I go on the system to discover that I am 'DN = Development Needed'. So I'm a bit unhappy with my managers, past and present. Actually furious. Why had I not been told? Why did neither of my last two managers see fit to explain it, agree my 'PIP' or hear my side fo things, like it says in the staff handbook?
So I'm a bit 'terse' with my new manager (addressing him as Mr. <surname>, rather than by his first name in emails, as was usual). So he's pissed off with me, calls me on my desk phone (I worked in an open plan office) and we have this row with my 'workplace proximity associates' listening in to my side of the conversation, about why hadn't he told me about my 'DN' rating. He claimed that my previous line manager had told him that he had done all that and agreed my PIP (actions as stated above).
I was seriously pissed off, but we agreed that there was probably no point making a complaint. We quietly ignored the PIP, although I learnt that when your line manager is an amateur rugby player, he just sort of tends to charge through any obstacle (including underlings) without thought for anything like 'side effects' of happiness, other people's point of view, right or wrong etc.***
*Turned out he was VERY interested in his own career progression**.
**Sorry for "carer progression", read "promotion".
***Apologies to all those caring, comforting and helpful and friendly rugby players out there, this is just my personal experience.
Less than a week after IBM was ordered in an age discrimination lawsuit to produce internal emails in which its former CEO and former SVP of human resources discuss reducing the number of older workers, the IT giant chose to settle the case for an undisclosed sum rather than proceed to trial next month.
The order, issued on June 9, in Schenfeld v. IBM, describes Exhibit 10, which "contains emails that discuss the effort taken by IBM to increase the number of 'millennial' employees."
Plaintiff Eugene Schenfeld, who worked as an IBM research scientist when current CEO Arvind Krishna ran IBM's research group, sued IBM for age discrimination in November, 2018. His claim is one of many that followed a March 2018 report by ProPublica and Mother Jones about a concerted effort to de-age IBM and a 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that IBM executives had directed managers to get rid of older workers to make room for younger ones.
Updated In one of the many ongoing age discrimination lawsuits against IBM, Big Blue has been ordered to produce internal emails in which former CEO Ginny Rometty and former SVP of Human Resources Diane Gherson discuss efforts to get rid of older employees.
IBM as recently as February denied any "systemic age discrimination" ever occurred at the mainframe giant, despite the August 31, 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that "top-down messaging from IBM’s highest ranks directing managers to engage in an aggressive approach to significantly reduce the headcount of older workers to make room for Early Professional Hires."
The court's description of these emails between executives further contradicts IBM's assertions and supports claims of age discrimination raised by a 2018 report from ProPublica and Mother Jones, by other sources prior to that, and by numerous lawsuits.
IBM has quietly announced its first-ever cloudy mainframes will go live on June 30.
Big Blue in February disclosed its plans to provide cloud-hosted virtual machines running the z/OS that powers its mainframes. These would be first offered in a closed "experimental" beta under the IBM Wazi as-a-service brand. That announcement promised "on-demand access to z/OS, available as needed for development and test" with general availability expected "in 2H 2022."
The IT giant has now slipped out an advisory that reveals a “planned availability date” of June 30.
Updated ERP vendor Infor is to end development of an on-premises and containerized version of its core product for customers running on IBM iSeries mid-range systems.
Born from a cross-breeding of ERP stalwarts Baan and Lawson, Infor was developing an on-premises containerized version of M3, dubbed CM3, to help ease migration for IBM hardware customers and offer them options other than lifting and shifting to the cloud.
Under the plans, Infor said it would continue to to run the database component on IBM i (Power and I operating system, formerly known as iSeries) while supporting the application component of the product in a Linux or Windows container on Kubernetes.
IBM has won a contract worth £34.2 million (c $41.2 million) as part of a tranche of technology upgrade deals from the UK's National Savings & Investment bank set to be worth hundreds of millions.
The bank, which is an Executive Agency of the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer has awarded Big Blue the contract for "Digital integration and ServiceOps", intended to be its technical and operational center.
According to a contract award notice: "The package supplier will design and deliver the integration platform, and services to implement the required system interfaces, and to undertake operational monitoring, management and maintenance of the system integrations."
Taiwan's concentration of tech manufacturing capability worries almost all stakeholders in the technology industry – if China reclaims the island, it would kick a colossal hole in global supply chains. Now the country has given Big Tech another reason to worry: transparency regulations of a kind social networks and surveillance capitalists detest.
The regulations – named the Digital Intermediary Service Act and released as a draft yesterday by Taiwan's National Communications Commission – require platform operators to create a complaints mechanism anyone can use to request content takedowns, remove illegal content at speed, undergo audits to demonstrate they can do so, and respond promptly to orders to remove content.
When platforms decide to take down content, they'll need to list each instance in a public database to promote accountability and transparency of their actions.
Updated India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the local Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) have extended the deadline for compliance with the Cyber Security Directions introduced on April 28, which were due to take effect yesterday.
The Directions require verbose logging of users' activities on VPNs and clouds, reporting of infosec incidents within six hours of detection - even for trivial things like unusual port scanning - exclusive use of Indian network time protocol servers, and many other burdensome requirements. The Directions were purported to improve the security of local organisations, and to give CERT-In information it could use to assess threats to India. Yet the Directions allowed incident reports to be sent by fax – good ol' fax – to CERT-In, which offered no evidence it operates or would build infrastructure capable of ingesting or analyzing the millions of incident reports it would be sent by compliant organizations.
The Directions were roundly criticized by tech lobby groups that pointed out requirements such as compelling clouds to store logs of customers' activities was futile, since clouds don't log what goes on inside resources rented by their customers. VPN providers quit India and moved their servers offshore, citing the impossibility of storing user logs when their entire business model rests on not logging user activities. VPN operators going offshore means India's government is therefore less able to influence such outfits.
The two US senators behind a proposed law to bring order to cryptocurrency finance have published their legislation to Microsoft's GitHub to obtain input from the unruly public.
The bill, known as the Responsible Financial Innovation Act, was introduced by Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on June 7 to create a regulatory framework governing digital assets, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology.
Updated Hitachi has taken a modest step towards becoming a public cloud provider, with the launch of a VMware-powered cloud in Japan that The Register understands may not be its only such venture.
The Japanese giant has styled the service a "sovereign cloud" – a term that VMware introduced to distinguish some of its 4,000-plus partners that operate small clouds and can attest to their operations being subject to privacy laws and governance structures within the nation in which they operate.
Public cloud heavyweights AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, IBM, and Alibaba also offer VMware-powered clouds, at hyperscale. But some organizations worry that their US or Chinese roots make them vulnerable to laws that might allow Washington or Beijing to exercise extraterritorial oversight.
Europol cops have arrested nine suspected members of a cybercrime ring involved in phishing, internet scams, and money laundering.
The alleged crooks are believed to have stolen "several million euros" from at least "dozens of Belgian victims," according to that nation's police, which, along with the Dutch, supported the cross-border operation.
On Tuesday, after searching 24 houses in the Netherlands, officers cuffed eight men between the ages of 25 and 36 from Amsterdam, Almere, Rotterdam, and Spijkenisse, and a 25-year-old woman from Deventer. We're told the cops seized, among other things, a firearm, designer clothing, expensive watches, and tens of thousands of euros.
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