blog Those of you who’ve been around the block a few time in Australia’s IT industry will know that industry warhorse IBM is no stranger to cutting jobs. Hell, over the past (almost) four years since Delimiter was established, we’ve reported on redundancies or offshoring initiatives at Big Blue half a dozen times already, with major ‘moves, adds and changes’ taking place in periods such as February 2010, May 2013, and again in June. The latest comes from the ABC last week, which reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Technology giant IBM has quietly slashed its Australian workforce, with anxious staff preparing for up to 1,000 more redundancies, the ABC understands.”
I’ve queried IBM on these kind of changes many times over the years, and the company is always reluctant to talk. You get a short statement along the lines of “IBM is continuously rebalancing its skills and capabilities in order to meet the changing needs of clients.” And that’s true. IBM Australia is a massive business. Sometimes, as it has done with NAB and Qantas over the past few years, it takes on staff as part of outsourcing deals. Sometimes, as it did this time last year, it adds new jobs in locations such as Ballarat. And sometimes, as it appears to be doing now, IBM slashes hundreds or even thousands of workers due to the need to cut costs.
In short, this is legitimate business activity. IBM has a huge workforce and many diverse lines of business. It needs to move people around constantly, and it does do so.
However, what I will say is that I’d like to see a little more transparency from IBM with respect to this issue. Of course IBM is entitled to shift around staff and re-balance its headcount. But when we’re talking about redundancies as high as 1,000 workers, large companies such as IBM have a responsibility to their customers, to their staff and to their shareholders to let a little more information out of the kimono. 1,000 staff is not 100. And it would be ethical of IBM to let us know a little more about what’s going on here.