Is IBM retrenching 1,500 Aussie staff?



blog If you’ve been in the IT industry for a while, you’ll be aware that there really isn’t a time when IBM Australia isn’t moving staff around to some degree. There’s the ongoing rounds of job losses as various areas in the business downsize or shift offshore. There’s ongoing outsourcing moves which result in in-house staff at customers like Qantas and NAB being offered jobs at Big Blue. And there’s even new job creation initiatives as IBM seeks to capitalise on certain Australian regions such as Ballarat.

What this adds up to is a constant series of rumours for IBM that it’s cutting job. The company typically addresses this by issuing the following statement, or something very similar, through the media: “IBM continuously transforms its business, rebalancing skills and capabilities in order to meet the changing needs of clients and our business as a whole.” I’ve seen and received this statement from IBM many times over the past decade or so.

But it looks like what is going on at IBM Australia right now is something more — something quite extreme. If reports are to be believed, and they’re flooding in from both mainstream media outlets with claimed staff sources, as well as online staff message boards, the company could be in the process of making some 1,500 Australian staff redundant, which would probably be about 10 percent of its local workforce. The Sydney Morning Herald reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“Affected staff have told Fairfax Media between 1200 and 1500 local jobs are being made redundant this year in several waves.”

In our view, this is not the normal kind of ‘moves, adds and changes’ deal that we frequently see at IBM Australia. If true, and there are certainly growing indications that it is true, then this is a major capability and workforce shift which will affect many customers and staff, and IBM Australia has a responsibility, firstly to its staff, and secondly to its clients, to do more here than simply repeating its same time-worn statement about its continually changing resource pool. It needs to explain precisely were its cuts will be coming from, and what impact those cuts will have on its ability to deliver contracts. It should also explain why the cuts are happening now, given that IBM’s Australian finances actually appear to be relatively stable over the past several years. But then, large corporations have never been that good at transparency, have they?

We’d like to encourage anyone who knows what’s happening at Big Blue Australia right now to use Delimiter’s anonymous tips form to fill us in. Even we won’t know who you are.

Image credit: Patrick H, Creative Commons


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