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Ex-IBMer 'can't help but chuckle' about India layoff reports

IBM layoffs

May, 17 2017, 7:31 AM

IBM employs more workers in India that in any other country, and the country is a huge market for Big Blue in sales as well as R&D. So when reports surface that massive layoffs are about to hit, the company denies it. Adding to the turmoil: A report that a top India-based exec is returning to the U.S.

But the news of the cuts didn't trigger much sympathy in the U.S.

"I can't help but chuckle," writes a former IBMer at the Facebook site "Watching IBM."

"IBM sent my job to India and forced me into early retirement. Actually, that worked out very well for me, but I find humor in sending my job to India and then seeing an IBM cut back on the very jobs that came from people like me. We really need to promote from within when it comes to IBM management and nowhere else."

After a barrage of reports that IBM planned to lay off 5,000 India-based workers out of a work force numbering some 150,000, the tech giant issued a statement denying the reports.

‚ÄúThis is factually incorrect. We are not going to comment further on rumors and speculation," the statement reads, according to the Business Standard.

"Re-skilling and rebalancing is an ongoing process as we accelerate the benefits of cognitive and cloud technologies for clients around the world."

The fact IBM saw fit to issue a statement reflects its sensitivity to the issue. IBM rarely reacts to layoff reports, although job cuts continue to be a constant in U.S. operations as well as Chair and CEO Ginni Rometty continues to reshape the company.

However, the language is similar to that used when IBM does comment on job cuts: The terms "re-skilling" and "rebalancing" are familiar.

(See links with this post that document recent IBM job cuts in the U.S.)

While IBM no longer reports employee headcount by country, India media cites 150,000 as the total. That represents a good third of Big Blue's global work force.

Based on media numbers, layoffs have definitely occurred in India over the past three years. In 2014, India reportedly had 165,000 workers in that country.

Exec reportedly relocating

Adding to the unease in India, The Times of India says that John Granger, who is a top executive in IBM Global Services unit in leading cloud innovation, is moving back to the U.S.

IBM wouldn't comment.

"Granger is one of the global leaders based here that reinforced IBM's commitment to get the India team aligned to its newer business priorities," The Times noted, noting he had been in India for the last 18 months.

Granger's move is reportedly part of what The Times calls a "major overhaul" of the GBS unit.

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