May 22, 2020 - Technology

IBM is the latest in tech to lay off workers

Photo of an IBM logo on the side of a building
IBM's logo appears on the side of a building in Poland. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

IBM announced layoffs Friday to its global force of approximately 350,000 workers, as a massive pandemic-inspired worldwide recession continues to take a toll on employment.

By the numbers: IBM won't say how many employees are being given notice in the cut, which was first reported by Bloomberg, but according to the Wall Street Journal the layoffs will hit several thousand workers.

The big picture: Layoffs in tech have already hit hard in digital media, startups and the gig economy. IBM's move is a sign that the downturn won't spare the large enterprise sector, either.

  • Hewlett-Packard Enterprise also foreshadowed job cuts in giving guidance as part of its earnings report on Thursday.

Our thought bubble: IBM's global consulting business is particularly vulnerable to the business downturn. Many companies in times of austerity will try to avoid laying off their own workers by instead cutting back on the kind of big upgrades and reorganizations that IBM specializes in managing.

What they're saying: "IBM’s work in a highly competitive marketplace requires flexibility to constantly remix to high-value skills, and our workforce decisions are made in the long-term interests of our business," said Edward Barbini, IBM VP of corporate communications, adding that the company would subsidize medical coverage for laid-off workers through June 2021.

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