In a deal with Bausch + Lomb, IBM announced a cloud-based app that helps cataract specialists plan and conduct surgeries.
IT professionals seem to feel more comfortable about their economic security these days, and a lot of them are looking around for new jobs, increasing competition among employers for tech pros.
According to a new survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Randstad Technology, some 41 percent of U.S. IT workers said they’re likely to seek new employment opportunities over the next 12 months, while 52 percent said they were confident in their ability to find a new job.
At the same time, however, the poll found that 57.4 percent of IT employees were confident in the health of the overall economy, a slight dip from a record high noted in the third quarter of 2014. Forty-one percent of IT workers thought the economy was getting stronger, and 32 percent thought there were more jobs available. (Some 44 percent thought there were fewer jobs.)
Bob Dickey, group president of technology and engineering at Randstad, suggested that employee confidence stems from their skills and what part of the country they live in. “Overall, IT employee confidence remains pretty high,” he said. “For that reason, a lot more needs to go into attracting the right IT talent.”
Dickey noted that the cost of living in the region, training opportunities, and the culture of the organization all play a major role in attracting IT talent. But he also conceded that consolidation of data centers in the age of the cloud, along with increased IT automation, could affect the demand for certain types of IT jobs, as well as their location.
In addition to datacenter consolidation, many lower-level IT administrative functions are being automated. The end result is more demand for IT people with higher-level skill sets. “We’re constantly getting poached,” said Steve Hellmuth, executive vice president of operations and technology at NBA Entertainment in New York. “Investment banks are where a lot of our people wind up going, so we’re always recruiting at the college level.”
Factoring in that rate of turnover is now part of the organization’s basic business plan, Hellmuth added.
Like it or not, the days when a soft economy gave employers leverage over IT staff are pretty much over. Some organizations may be trying to lower their costs by moving IT jobs to different locations. But for every IT professional who might be attracted by the lower cost of living in a particular region, there will always be another that can’t get enough of the bright lights of a major city.
Given that need for talent, tech companies are focusing their recruiting efforts in areas outside of Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley. Louisiana announced that, as part of a 10-year deal involving IBM and CenturyLink, it will spend $4.5 million to expand computer science programs at the University of Louisiana, Louisiana Tech and Grambling State. As part of that arrangement, IBM committed to creating 400 jobs in Monroe, La., where it will open a service center to develop security, data analytics and mobile applications. Meanwhile, CenturyLink will transfer 350 employees to IBM, where they will become full-time employees employed in the new Monroe facility.
With IT professionals fairly confident in their ability to find new jobs, expect more tech companies to make similar moves in order to increase their pools of IT talent.
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Image: Photocreo Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock.com
Rumors are flying fast and furious that IBM will lay off more than 100,000 workers sometime in the next few weeks. But news sources are reporting that the cuts will more likely be on the level of 10,000 jobs.
The original report of mega-layoffs came from Robert X. Cringely, a self-described “Silicon Valley iconoclast,” who wrote in Forbes about an IBM reorganization codenamed Project Chrome. In Cringely’s telling, Project Chrome will result in the layoffs of 26 percent of IBM’s workforce, accompanied by a major restructuring of the company’s assets. The employee cuts will supposedly hit IBM’s mainframe and storage divisions the hardest. (Cringely’s reporting derives from anonymous sources.)
“In saying the company is in a transition and is going to go through the biggest reorganization in its history, will this really fix a very obvious customer relationship problem?” Cringely concluded. “No, it won’t.”
IBM told Cringely, in an update to his original article, that the cuts would come to only a few thousand people, not 100,000.
Separately, an unnamed IBM spokesperson told TechCrunch that the layoffs would roughly total 12,000 employees—even as an anonymous source suggested the number would be much higher. “After we published this article, a source approached TechCrunch, telling us the layoff number was 10 percent of the workforce (or 43,000),” the publication reported, “and that the layoffs would be conducted in approximately 10,000 employee increments per quarter until the company righted the ship.”
Whether or not any of these reports prove accurate, it’s undeniable that IBM is frantically attempting to transform into a firm that can better compete in a cloud- and mobile-centric world. Between its recent partnership with Apple to push iOS devices and apps to the enterprise, to its work in artificial intelligence, Big Blue clearly wants to push beyond Oracle and other business IT rivals. But what is the human cost of that reinvention?
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