IBM is trying to make the company appear to be as “cool” and “trendy” as Amazon and Google, according to a deposition from a former vice president in an ongoing age discrimination lawsuit.
International Business Machines (IBM) has fired as many as 100,000 employees in the last few years in an effort to boost its appeal to millennials, as per Fortune reports.
The company is facing several lawsuits accusing it of firing older workers, including a class-action case in Manhattan and individual civil suits filed in California, Pennsylvania, and Texas last year.
“We have reinvented IBM in the past five years to target higher value opportunities for our clients,” IBM said in a statement. “The company hires 50,000 employees each year.”
Big Blue has struggled with almost seven straight years of shrinking revenue. In the last decade, the company has fired thousands of people in the United States, Canada, and other high-wage jurisdictions in an effort to cut costs and retool its workforce after coming late to the cloud-computing and mobile-tech revolutions.
🚨A former top IBM HR executive testified under oath that the company fired as many as 100,000 people in just the last few years. The company consistently refuses to talk about these numbers— Gerrit De Vynck (@GerritD) July 31, 2019
Big one from @livcarville https://t.co/90a1cYI2cM
The number of IBM employees has fallen to its lowest point in six years, with 350,600 global workers at the end of 201, a 19% reduction since 2013.
In a deposition in one of the civil cases, Alan Wild, former vice president of human resources, said 108-year-old IBM faced talent recruitment problems and determined one way to show millennials that IBM was not “an old fuddy duddy organization” was to make itself appear “as cool, trendy organization” like Google and Amazon, according to the document.
IBM set out to lay off large portions of its older workforce using rolling layoffs over the course of several years, according to court documents.
This strategy deliberately targeted older workers like the plaintiff, Texas-based Jonathan Langley, 61, who has accused IBM of firing him after more than 24 years because of his age, according to the document.
IBM suffered 22 straight quarters of contraction before returning to growth for a shortlived period in late 2017. It had pinned its hopes on a newer set of products, which it referred to as its “strategic initiatives”, eventually outweighing older, shrinking ones.
However, growth from the strategic initiatives fell from 15% in the first half of 2018 to only 3% in the final quarter, after which IBM stopped disclosing the figure.
IBM began working to “correct seniority mix” in 2014, according to the class-action lawsuit filed in New York.
The company started firing older workers and replacing them with millennials, “who are generally much more innovative and receptive to technology than baby boomers.” IBM’s consulting department said.
Last March, ProPublica published an extensive investigation that found IBM had fired around 20,000 U.S. employees ages 40 or older in the past five years.
In 2015, an IBM spokesman repudiated a Forbes report that the company would be laying off 100,000 employee, or a quarter of its workfore, in the coming years, dismissing the claims in an interview with USA Today as “ridiculous” and “baseless.”
By: Abhinav Ranjan, Editorial Desk, DKODING Media