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IBM Layoffs 2019: Amid Job Cuts, Staffing Transparency Improves


IBM layoffs will impact about 1,700 employees -- or about one-half of one percent of IBM's worldwide staff, CNBC reports. Job cuts are never easy for team members, but the technology company's transparency about hiring, firing and overall staffing levels seems to be improving, ChannelE2E believes.

In a statement to CNBC, an IBM spokesperson said:

“We are continuing to reposition our team to align with our focus on the high-value segments of the IT market, and we also continue to hire aggressively in critical new areas that deliver value for our clients and IBM."

Poke around that report, and some key IBM staffing statistics and metrics surface:

  • IBM has more than 340,000 employees, according to its last proxy statement,
  • The company’s jobs page lists 7,705 openings.
  • IBM shares are up 16% since the beginning of 2019, though first-quarter revenue dipped 5 percent.

No doubt, the stats come from CNBC reporting. But it's a safe bet IBM was also working behind the scenes with the business media giant to place the headcount changes in proper context.

IBM Staffing Strategy

Read between the lines and IBM finally seems to be breaking its silence about job cuts. That's a welcome change.

Ginni Rometty, formerly CEO, IBM
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

Multiple times in recent years, the technology business has cut staff as it tries to extend from enterprise hardware, software and consulting toward as-a-service and associated recurring revenues.

Each round of staff cuts generally involved nearly complete silence from IBM to the media -- trigging speculation about actual staffing levels, company health and more. The company has also faced a lawsuit involving alleged aged discrimination in the layoff process -- a charge that IBM has firmly denied.

IBM's apparent transparency on staffing levels is especially important to CEO Ginni Rometty's credibility -- especially as Rometty tries to inspire promote skills that align with artificial intelligence and business automation.

IBM Business Transformation: Red Hat, Security and More

Meanwhile, IBM's buyout of Red Hat is nearing completion. The $34 billion deal aims to make IBM a leader in hybrid cloud computing.

No doubt, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and the company's related open source software (virtualization, storage, middlware, etc.) have big installed bases on-premises and across multiple public clouds. But some pundits believe IBM may have overpaid for the software company, and that Red Hat's overall business growth may be slowing. Disclosure: ChannelE2E certainly respects Red Hat, but the deal's valuation raised a few eyebrows here.

At the same time, IBM has emerged as a leader in the managed security services provider (MSSP) market -- both as an MSSP and as a cybersecurity software provider to third-party MSSPs.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.