IBM Slashes Workforce as Pandemic Challenges Tech

IBM is cutting jobs across its various businesses, becoming one of the first non-retail companies to slash its workforce amid covid-19.

International Business Machines  (IBM) - Get Report is cutting an unspecified number of jobs across its various businesses, including its consulting arm, becoming one of the first non-retail companies to slash its workforce amid the coronavirus-driven economic downturn.

In a statement late on Thursday, the Armonk, N.Y., tech giant known as Big Blue announced the workforce reductions, which it said were required to remain agile in a “highly competitive marketplace.”

The cuts are the first large-scale workforce reductions for IBM under new Chief Executive Arvind Krishna. And they come against the backdrop of one of the steepest and most abrupt economic downturns on record, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“IBM’s work in a highly competitive marketplace requires flexibility to constantly remix high-value skills, and our workforce decisions are made in the long-term interests of our business,” the company said in a statement.

IBM did not disclose the scale of the job cuts, though a person familiar with the company’s plans told The Wall Street Journal that they are believed to impact several thousand people across all areas of the firm.

The layoffs, which were first reported by Bloomberg News, affect several units of IBM, including its Global Technology Services division, which offers IT outsourcing. 

The company last month said it took a $900 million charge against earnings, largely to cover restructuring costs linked to GTS.

The cuts add to job losses across the tech industry as firms grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and its expected impact not only on consumer spending but also on business spending, specifically on things like software, IT and consulting.

Also on Thursday, Hewlett Packard Enterprise  (HPE) - Get Report unveiled its own cost-cutting program, including salary cuts, unpaid leave and hiring freezes across the board.

Shares of IBM were down 0.68% at $118.31 in Friday trading.