Breaking News
News & Analysis

Big blues at IBM India

2/17/2014 00:00 AM EST
37 comments
< Previous Page 2 / 2
More Related Links
View Comments: Threaded | Newest First | Oldest First
rick merritt
User Rank
Author
Who got cut?
rick merritt   2/17/2014 11:43:16 AM
NO RATINGS
Good report. I would love to hear from some of those affected about what sorts of jobs in the hardware group got cut. Any involved with chip or process design?

As you know IBM is once again reported to be considering a sale of its semiconductor group, another big piece of its hardware division. Many fpoks see Globalfoundries as the likely buyer

Sanjib.A
User Rank
CEO
inhuman treatment
Sanjib.A   2/17/2014 12:01:58 PM
NO RATINGS
"people broke down after seeing the inhuman treatment"...

I have read this news a couple of days back in newspaper, but did not hear from anybody who is affected by this job cut. So I don't know how far "inhuman" the treatment was. But I would expect atleast a modest professional way of handling this situation. Now a days nobody has an expectation that his/her job would be assured in companies like this...but atleast the treatment to the employees should be respectful & professional while parting. "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction"...this is applicable to this kind of layoff cases as well if there was really an inhuman treatment...IBM might already have lost its reputation as a good employer. Unfortunately, lack of enforcement of proper employment laws in private sector, by Indian Government is also to some extent responsible for this kind of "inhuman treatment" scenario.

 


hinara
User Rank
Rookie
layoffs in IBM India
hinara   2/17/2014 12:19:19 PM
NO RATINGS
What's so inhuman about it.....?  This happens at every big company in the US. There is no love lkast betwenn employers and employees any more. Indians are too emotional. You are not married to IBM. Just get out and find another job. Don't be cry babies.

vlsi_guy
User Rank
Manager
Re: layoffs in IBM India
vlsi_guy   2/17/2014 12:53:09 PM
NO RATINGS
Hang tough fellow Indian engineers, time heals all wounds! Having been through IBM layoffs myself (in Poughkeepsie NY) I know it is NO fun at all (fortunately I was not laid off, but the sheer amount of layoffs drove moral to an all time low for those who were left). Not to mention the local economic impact it had, depreciation of home values, etc., etc., etc.


I remember it like it was yesterday, first round happened on Friday. We were called into our manager's offices and told that later on in the day you would get a call from your manager. It would either be a call letting you know you could go home for the weekend and come back on Monday, or...


The rest of that afternoon was eerie quite, you could here a pin drop in the hallway. You would here a phone ring in someone's office, then here them walking to their managers office to be told what the verdict was. It seemed like I was in a death row cell, watching people get called for either their execution or parole (I love the melodramatic :-).


``ring - ring, hello, be right there... footsteps by my office door, I wave to Joe, good luck buddy - I say. Hope to see you on Monday at work..."


No fun, no fun at all...

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: layoffs in IBM India
junko.yoshida   2/17/2014 4:42:06 PM
NO RATINGS
@vlsi guy, damn, your description of the scene is so real. By just by reading your post, i felt the chill in my spine. 

vlsi_guy
User Rank
Manager
Re: layoffs in IBM India
vlsi_guy   2/17/2014 4:58:14 PM
NO RATINGS
And, on the lighter side, back in those days (approx. 1994) there was always a news story about a mysterious character appearing on one or more of the IBM campuses. that drew local news coverage .He wore a SuperMan costume and generally tried to create bad press!


But, the "S" on his outfit was not for SuperMan, it was for "Surplus" man :-)
Geeze, I can laugh about it these days, wasn't funny back then...
Have lots of stories like this, one day (the old cliche) - "I should write a book" applies :-)


Worked with a guy at Intel, he told me he accepted a job in Oregon (some Japanese tech company I seemed to recall). Picked up, drove his kids, dog, wife all the way from NE to Oregon. Arrived at work on Monday only to be told his manager and manager's team were let go the Friday before (i.e., he no longer had a job).


See; take solace in that when you have it bad, someone else is getting shafted even more ;-} And, yes, we have become jaded :-(

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: layoffs in IBM India
junko.yoshida   2/17/2014 5:32:03 PM
NO RATINGS
@vlsi_guy, I wish you had taken a pix of the mysterious "Surplus" man! 

chanj0
User Rank
CEO
Re: layoffs in IBM India
chanj0   2/18/2014 1:26:08 AM
NO RATINGS
There is a cultural difference between people in Asia and American. People come and go in American companies. Layoff is another new start. These days, working for a company for life is rare, if not never. However, in Chinese and Japanese culture, people are expecting (hoping) life long employment. They dedicate their lives to the company, building their future and retirement. Time has changed. A lot of japanese companies can't do that. Neither can Chinese companies. Nonetheless, receiving the news isn't an easy thing. I don't believe anyone can get used to it. Good luck to those people.

_hm
User Rank
CEO
Welcome to world of reality!
_hm   2/17/2014 3:23:47 PM
NO RATINGS
Report looks like more accentuated as if it is first time experience. IBM HR is very capable and they will not do anything "inhumane". What IBM does is generally a benchmark. This may look so in India but it is common practice in North America. If group of person performs poorly for any reason, this happens. I would say welcome to world of reality. It can happen to anyone.

Once it is experienced more often to more organization in India, it will be taken as general accepted practice.

 

 

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
junko.yoshida   2/17/2014 4:39:20 PM
NO RATINGS
@_hm, just because it has become a common practice in the United States, it doesn't make it right for anyone who has dedidated their life to a company to be abruptly told to leave. I think those of us who live in the U.S. are too jaded.

 

_hm
User Rank
CEO
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
_hm   2/17/2014 5:24:34 PM
NO RATINGS
@Junko: There are two sides of every coin. When you enjoy one part of western work culture you ougth to eventually face other side of this work culture - abrupt layoff. I do not see anything ominous. I take it as integral part of life, similar to health. It can happen to me or anyone else. What I rather suggest is to make this part of training so people do not get that upset.

On another note, Indians are very much versed with this phenomena. I take this type of news as shocking surprise is amoral.

junko.yoshida
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
junko.yoshida   2/17/2014 5:37:56 PM
NO RATINGS
@_hm, I hear you. 

But I'd loath to hear when the company management says layoffs are not personal. I find that "amoral."

Every layoff is "personal" to you, because your life is dependent on the job. While some of the reactions reported in this article seems a bit over the top, I think those laid off have every right to be outraged and get emotional about it. 

vlsi_guy
User Rank
Manager
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
vlsi_guy   2/17/2014 5:52:00 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm gathering there are some engineers in US (and perhaps Europe) that may feel threatened by the outsourcing that has occured over the last couple of decades. So many hear (my self included) that you can get 10 engineers in China or India for the cost of one here in the US, stuff like that makes US engineers (pune intended) feel threathened, and of course feelings come into play. Hence some of the stinging comments on this article.

Long ago I reconciled my own misplaced feelings in this area, no matter what the outcome, I can only encourage people of any location or nationality to take up engineering. It has served me well over the last quarter of century. And my father and his father. And, most importantly, I've just enjoyed the shear technical challenges and would be glad to see any one experiance the same joy. 

And, yes, no matter how a layoff is handled, it hurts and I emphathise with that.

 

_hm
User Rank
CEO
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
_hm   2/17/2014 5:56:11 PM
NO RATINGS
@Junko: I see this as begining of a trend. More multinationals are expected to follow similar path. May be they are calculating with new formulas. Delay in new product development - and lost market. Development of not so good or half good product - loosing good part of faithful customers. And accountants are smart to add all hidden cost cents and dollars to expenses developing abroad and highlighting actual development cost to be much higher.

People in north america work pretty hard and are smart. Everyone need to compete in real world. It is survival of fittest.

daleste
User Rank
CEO
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
daleste   2/17/2014 9:35:37 PM
NO RATINGS
It is very sad to see layoff for anyone.  The world economy is not so good, so it is hard to find jobs in any country.  The article states that IBM has 130,000 workers in India and will layoff 2,000.  That's only 1.5%, so not as bad as what I usually see in the US.  I can understand that it hits harder since this is not the normal happening in India.

stippu
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
stippu   2/18/2014 9:48:58 AM
NO RATINGS
@daleste: Thanks for your comments. Sure people will learn to find ways and get jobs here but according to another young IT professional who had yet to learn the ropes of corporate management, he was hoping to stay in IBM for many years - like the way his father stayed at the postal department for 40 years! Indian culture is very different and I am sure all those who have visited India in managerial capacity will vouch for it. SMaybe such naivete would be  unheard-of in the western countries but in India, people slog and believe that hard work pays

 

hinara
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
hinara   2/18/2014 11:31:09 AM
NO RATINGS
People slog everywhere. Come here to siliccon valley, folks work 12-15 hours a day and many a time weekends too. But when it comes to layoffs, it's just across the board. Indians by now should get accustomed to working in multinationals and adjust to thier culture and get rid of that " I am in and will be here for long attittude". You want outsourcing, but don't want to take wahat comes along with it.

zewde yeraswork
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
zewde yeraswork   2/18/2014 11:47:06 AM
NO RATINGS
It is interesting to note the cultural difference here. Obviously, people in this part of the world expect to maintain the same job or type of job in the same company for a long period of time. The problem is the world as a whole is changing and job security isn't what it once was. Those cultures will have to evolve as they have in the past to a chanigng landscape. So I don't see it as a major problem that future generations in places like India will come to accept the changing nature of job security and stability, especially since this will mean that hiring cycles will speed up and companies are likely to hire as quickly as they lay off.

daleste
User Rank
CEO
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
daleste   2/18/2014 9:45:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Hello @stippu.  Yes, I understand the mentality of working hard and expecting the company to take care of you.  I was one of those before I was laid off too.  The US used to have the same mentality of working for your entire career at one company.  This has only changed in the past generation.  I guess it is also changing in India as well as the rest of the world.

pconti
User Rank
Rookie
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
pconti   2/19/2014 12:49:28 PM
NO RATINGS
@junko- "just because it has become common practice". 

Well Said.

 

stippu
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
stippu   2/18/2014 9:29:02 AM
NO RATINGS
@_hm & Frank Tu: You are right - this is reality. But you got to keep in mind that this is India  and layoffs are not a run-of-the-mill kind of thing. People are more emotional here and basically polite and courteous to everyone and I guess they expect it from others – western culture or whatever.

No doubt multinational companies are cold-blooded and callous when it comes to the pink slip affair.  And it just not the IT industry. I am talking in terms of publishing industry too –where one of the managing editors of Fortune (yes, the Fortune, US, magazine) as well as star reporters were just asked to leave but were given at least a week's time. Although I was so shocked, they took it in their stride, morale was low but hope was there  and they found other jobs  and there were some savings were there too to bank on. The US and EU countries are used to it I suppose but not India and Indian employees definitely did  not expect it from a bellwether like IBM.

 All those who joined IBM and have been laid off are the younger ones (minimal savings would be there, I suppose but not much). The blue-blooded ( read, OLD) IBMers who have been with IBM for generations  they haven't been laid off.

 I am not against lay-offs but I just feel and I am sure some others too would agree this could be done in a better way. Indian values are deeply rooted in each Indian whether he makes a show of it or not – they are inherent. And Indians are emotional too.

 Moreover, India is a developing country – there is no social security, no medical insurance ( unless privately take) as GSMD has so eloquently put it.

And, believe it or not, at least 75% of the people here look after their families – in-laws and parents and extended families. Not everyone comes from affluent families – most of them fall in the upper middle-class  and they take care of their families and not shunt them off to old age homes like they do in the so-called western culture.  And taking care of older parents does  not come cheap.I know of several IT guys who send money back home to Bhubaneswar  or Nagpur (smaller cities) for the welfare of their parents and other family members. So, please do not compare lay-offs in the US to lay-offs in the Indian sub-continent unless you live here and imbibe the Indian culture and values.

Back to the laid-off IT guys.... many of them had been poached from Indian companies like Wipro where they excelled in their work. So, when such a thing happens, it comes as a shocker not only to them but to their families too.

I guess it would take time to get used to it but get used to it they will.

But it would be nice to have some modicum of courtesy for the people who had worked for you.

 

 

_hm
User Rank
CEO
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
_hm   2/18/2014 6:18:47 PM
NO RATINGS
@Tippu: I generally do not agree with most of your statements. Indian employee jump organization so often. They are not so faithful.

They are also pretty smart lot and they are deeply aware of layoff culture.

Finally, things are not so bad as you may depict. All them will get very good opportuniteis. Best wishes to all of them.

stippu
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Welcome to world of reality!
stippu   2/19/2014 2:30:56 AM
NO RATINGS
@_hm: Nobody said Indian employees dont move from one company to another.. wouldnt you  or anyone else move if the work is appealing to them or the compensation more attractive? When they get into larger companies, say like TI or Intel or IBM or Indian companies like TCS, Infosys or Wipro, they do not think of moving immediately I guess. It is more like a comfort zone. I got a few friends in Wipro and they have been there for years and the issue they have is there is nowhere else to go  with their skillsets and they are well looked after too.

I am just a reporter - I merely report whats going on.

Personally I know downsizing has to happen - not just in private sector but also  in the public sector in India but there is a way to go about it. And, I am sure they will get jobs somewhere else but it still is a shocker to them. There was a comment earlier about  call coming through and the employee is told to leave.. that is even more sad... whether it is in America or EU or Australia it is a sad thing that when the companies ask their employees to leave rather than the employee giving notice and leaving. I dont think anyone here just quits without prior notice except perhaps our car drivers who are known for jumping from one job to another.

Frank Tu
User Rank
Manager
inhumane
Frank Tu   2/17/2014 4:42:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Long, meandering, misdirected artlcle.

What was inhumane?  Oh, the drama of it all!  A "bloodbath"?  "Turned into a slaughterhouse"??!  So there were people being clubbed to death or chopped with machetes?  Was the meat sold on the market?  Or is this just terrible journalism?  Maybe they were quotes, so just a bad journalist (blogger) that didn't ignor the inaccurate descriptions while looking for headlines rather than sane truth. 

I'm sure IBM policy for lay-offs is very rational.  One would hope the local management handled things professionally.  Nothing I see in the writing indicates anything embarrasing, humiliating, or inhumane.  Gee, they made you give back the company computers?  You thought they should have let you keep them? 

This handwriting was on the wall (IBM has been suffering for a while now) and their execs have indicated that "rebalancing" was coming.  There never has been a promise of lifetime employment anywhere.  If these disgruntled employees had found another job and were leaving IBM, would they have given 3 months notice, trained their successor, and still kept the laptop?

As someone else said, welcome to the real world.

Susan Rambo
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Layoffs in India
Susan Rambo   2/17/2014 10:15:25 PM
NO RATINGS
Thank you, GSMD for interesting comments about India. The US safety net isn't enough to keep anyone above the poverty line. Workers definitely need savings. Also in US, once you get to a certain age and you're laid off, it's very hard to find work again. Eventually you'll work your way through the safety net, such as unemployment insurance. US workers didn't always have a safety net from the government. Are Indians considering any kind of worker protections or safety net legistlation?

Susan Rambo
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Layoffs in India
Susan Rambo   2/17/2014 11:12:45 PM
NO RATINGS
Can someone from China, Taiwan and Korea pitch in with their opinions about their countries ? Would be an interesting perspective.

Agreed. It would be interesting to hear from someone in China, Taiwan, Korea. I hope someone chimes in from those countries.

Well said. (That's good career advice: get a patent.) Ha! It's nice to hear I live in a socialist paradise. :-) I can feel half the audience cringing.

Because India is a democracy, is there any movement in India like the progressive movement in the early 20th Century in the US to get some worker protections in place via legislation? As you know, we had companies lobbying against labor protections here in US back then...and still do. It's a constant battle. 

stippu
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Layoffs in India
stippu   2/19/2014 2:35:34 AM
NO RATINGS
@susan:rambo:  Labor laws in India are antiquated. They were drafted in the early 1900s and nothing has changed till now. All the governments which come and go talk about changing the labor laws but nothing has ever changed. Maybe a few more decades to go and then perhaps we might see some changeor maybe not.

chipmonk0
User Rank
CEO
Japan still not too different from India
chipmonk0   2/19/2014 11:02:40 AM
NO RATINGS
Several years ago when I tried to hire 2 technical experts in Japan for the Japanese Labs of our 20 year old Silicon Valley company, both REFUSED on grounds that the values of US Companies are NOT compatible with Japanese culture. This, even though one of the two was at that time unemployed ! Perhaps it will take Indians a while to develop the same level of confidence in their own culture & worth, having been colonized by the UK for a long time.

wilber_xbox
User Rank
Manager
Re: Japan still not too different from India
wilber_xbox   2/21/2014 1:00:35 PM
NO RATINGS
Anyways, Indian are lazy bunch atleast in India. The management in India is only puppet and do what their masters in west tell them to do. The risk taking capability and general appetite for innovation is very low.

Sheetal.Pandey
User Rank
Manager
Re: Japan still not too different from India
Sheetal.Pandey   2/25/2014 1:36:25 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes heard IBM is not doing that well. But they are good employers. Employees are normally happy. Although they dont pay much but they have some good work from home policies.

wilber_xbox
User Rank
Manager
Re: Layoffs in India
wilber_xbox   2/21/2014 12:57:33 PM
NO RATINGS
Most of the time labor rules are not clear and employees do not know their rights. Its duty of government to safeguard the people from greedy corporates. 

chanj0
User Rank
CEO
Pink slip can be good
chanj0   2/18/2014 1:18:39 AM
NO RATINGS
Receiving pink slip might ruin your day. Believe it or not, giving it is not any easier. Knowing the situation, your boss might hope every move that the company is making will turn the company around to adapt to the competitive market. Otherwise, more people might let go in the near future. What could be worse it when the company is going out of business.

On the other hands, you never know what the future takes you. The end of working for the company might actually the beginniing of your bright future. The experience and knowledge that you have earned might take you to next level elsewhere. Who knows, there might be another IBM, Indian Business Machine. ;)

GeeKv2
User Rank
Manager
Re: Layoffs in India
GeeKv2   2/18/2014 7:20:22 AM
NO RATINGS
I have been let go three times in the last four years. My CV looks terrible and I am like a jack-of-all-trades. But the lesson I have learnt is that at every job, you need to prepare yourself for the next one. Nothing is forever.

 

When the writing is on the wall, dont wait to explore new horizons. Mainframes have been on their way out for a long time. When the work load is low, use the opportunity to learn new things and make your CV more attractive.

 

The problem is that many employees get in a comfort zone and never put themselves in a tough situation. Their day to day work becomes a routine and thats one nail in the coffin. You have to always think about the next job you want and work accordingly. 

 

Good luck to all the IBMers. You will find new things to do.

zewde yeraswork
User Rank
Blogger
coming to america
zewde yeraswork   2/18/2014 11:48:51 AM
NO RATINGS
By the way, is there any indication that this could be a sign of things to come in the United States. If IBM is cutting jobs worldwide and if it is looking to place parts of its business on the chopping block--it has already sold its server business to Lenovo--then you never know, this could be the beginning of a trend that catches up with the American workforce as well.

resistion
User Rank
CEO
Re: coming to america
resistion   2/20/2014 3:58:25 AM
NO RATINGS
A big worry everywhere, no need to focus on specific countries. The most recent unemployment report not a clue.

wave.forest
User Rank
Manager
Good luck to IBM
wave.forest   2/18/2014 5:19:24 PM
NO RATINGS
This is not the first time IBM face the challenge. In 90s, they made the biggest loss in history, but they went through it.

It's a pity that so many employees are to be laid off, including many in India, but IBM will bounce back.

For India, I guess their home grown IT industry is very limited. Without a strong social security system, the laid-off employees will face much bigger uncertainty than that we do in the West. Nevertheless, they'll get used to this kind of lay-off in the globalistion process.

stippu
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Good luck to IBM
stippu   2/19/2014 1:58:44 AM
NO RATINGS
@wave.forest: Yes, even 30 years ago IBM faced a similar problem when they shifted from mainframe to PC and am sure they find another domain to latch on to and bounce back. And, the Indian workforce too is resilient and will bounce back - it is just a matter of time. Lay-offs are not that many in India, or rather they were not too many. 

Radio
NEXT UPCOMING BROADCAST
How to Cope with a Burpy Comet
October 17, 2pm EDT Friday
EE Times Editorial Director Karen Field interviews Andrea Accomazzo, Flight Director for the Rosetta Spacecraft.
August Cartoon Caption Winner!
August Cartoon Caption Winner!
"All the King's horses and all the KIng's men gave up on Humpty, so they handed the problem off to Engineering."
5 comments
Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Flash Poll