In one of the largest moves to "offshore" highly paid U.S. software jobs, computer maker International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has told its managers to plan on moving the work of as many as 4,730 programmers to India, China, and elsewhere.
The unannounced plan, outlined in company documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal, would replace thousands of workers at IBM facilities in Southbury, CN, U.S., Poughkeepsie, NY, U.S., Raleigh, NC, U.S, Dallas, TX, U.S., Boulder, CO, U.S., and elsewhere in the U.S. Already, the managers have been told, IBM has hired 500 engineers in India to take on some of the work that will be moved.
IBM calls its plan, first presented internally to some midlevel managers in October, "Global Sourcing." It involves people in its Application Management Services group, a part of IBM's giant global-services operations, which comprise more than half IBM's 315,000 employees.
IBM's plan, still under development, will take place during a number of months in stages. About 947 people are scheduled to be notified during the first half of the coming year that their work will be handled overseas in the future. It isn't yet clear how many of the other 3,700 jobs identified as "potential to move offshore" in the IBM documents will move next year or some time later.
However, the fate of some of the targeted jobs isn't certain: IBM managers still haven't figured out whether all of the work the jobs represent can be performed just as well abroad. The jobs involve updating and improving software for IBM's own business operations.
Some workers are scheduled to be informed of the plan for their jobs by the end of January. After that they will be expected to train an overseas replacement worker in the U.S. for several weeks. The IBM workers marked for replacement have 60 days to find another job inside the company, likely to be a difficult task at a time when IBM is holding down hiring.
IBM declined to comment on what it called "internal presentations." (Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal)
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