It is definitely a possibility when you look at the larger picture. IBM would not be the only entity moving itself into ‘restructuring’ mode, like many others. This type of information has nearly become a staple of daily news.
According to what is going on over at the Alliance@IBM site, there are rumors that indicate a possible mass restructuring of sorts. With employees posting claims of exit interviews, and links to supporting articles dating back to December 2, 2008 – something is definitely going on, but what exactly, remains unknown.
IBM PR folk state they ‘do not comment on rumors or speculation’. Or is that what they want everyone to think? This is pretty standard practice during restructuring events with large entities like this. They try their hardest to keep things low-key, but eventually the cat gets out of the bag.
Quoting one employee on the Alliance@IBM job cut site:
“The layoff date is January 23rd. Approx. 16,000 employees worldwide will be affected. The majority from the US. I heard this from a 2nd line mgr. Confidentiality agreements were signed in the upper ranks to keep this hush, hush, but nothing this big stays out of the light for long. Good luck everyone.”
Others are posting links to articles supporting the restructuring theory:
“IBM Asia-Pacific culls 2600 jobs: http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,24739480-15306,00.html”
IBM has roughly 390,000 employees spread around the globe in various locations, if the rumors prove to be real about 16,000 jobs being cut, that would equal around 4 percent. Sure 16,000 sounds like a rather large number when you are the employee looking up the line, but it is a small number when you are looking down at the whole picture – more so when you compare the ratios to other restructures that have taken place within other large entities. Over a year ago DELL planned to lay-off 8800 positions, the actual figures surpassed that by far, but the exact number is not known.
IBM is also slated to release their earnings report shortly, maybe the information contained within these reports will provide some more insight into what is possibly going on here - either back up the claims, or shoot them down.
PC World managed to catch up with an Alliance@IBM representative claiming that:
“We do not have anything substantial yet. But when we start getting a lot of these kinds of rumors from specific sources, generally they come through. We're real concerned about that and the possibility it could be true."
When a large numberof rumors like these start showing up, it is likely for good reason and a strong hint some sort of reality is behind them. For now we can keep our eye on things, maybe place some bets.