Thu, Dec 15, 2016 - Page 10 News List

IBM vows to hire and train US workers

IN DECLINE:While the firm does not publicly list the number of its US workforce, labor filings show that the number of people on its pension plan fell by 26,526 since 2010

Reuters

IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty pledged to hire and train workers in the US as she and other technology executives prepared to meet yesterday with US president-elect Donald Trump.

“We have thousands of open positions at any given moment, and we intend to hire about 25,000 professionals in the next four years in the United States,” Rometty wrote in a USA Today article published on Tuesday.

IBM spokesman Adam Pratt declined to say how that hiring might be offset by staff reductions or disclose how many people IBM employs in the US.

“We expect to end 2016 with our US workforce about the same size as it was at the beginning of the year. By 2020, we expect it to be larger than it is today,” Pratt said.

IBM had nearly 378,000 employees at the end of last year, according to the company’s annual report.

While the firm does not break down staff numbers by nation, a review of US government filings suggests IBM’s US workforce declined in each of the five years through last year.

VOCATIONAL WORK

In annual US Department of Labor filings, IBM has reported that the active number of participants in its 401(k) pension plan fell to 84,350 last year from 110,876 in 2010.

When asked why IBM planned to increase its US workforce after those job cuts, company spokesman Ian Colley said in an e-mail that Rometty had laid out the reasons in her USA Today article.

Her article did not acknowledge that IBM had cut its US workforce, although it called on US Congress to quickly update the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act that governs federal support for vocational education.

“We are hiring because the nature of work is evolving,” Rometty said.

“As industries from manufacturing to agriculture are reshaped by data science and cloud computing, jobs are being created that demand new skills — which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting,” Rometty said.

She said IBM intended to invest US$1 billion in the training and development of its US employees over the next four years.

Pratt declined to say if that represented an increase over spending in the previous four years.

Rometty is one of more than a dozen US executives serving on an advisory council that Trump has formed to consult him on job creation.

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