IBM plans to add 15,000 new jobs worldwide

Fresh from a profitable quarter, IBM Corp. has announced plans to hire 15,000 additional employees worldwide.

The hiring plans come just days after the Armonk, N.Y., company reported a 9.4 per cent increase in fourth-quarter revenue, to US$25.9 billion, and predicted that 2004 would herald the return of the IT industry growth cycle.

A U.K. representative for the company declined to say where the jobs would be added. IBM currently has 315,889 employees worldwide, according to its Web site, and the new hires will bump it to almost 331,000.

Jamie Snowdon, research director for IDC in the U.K., said that the announcement means that not only is IBM happy with its fourth-quarter performance but that it expects positive recovery in the first quarter of this year as well.

“When vendors aren’t coy about saying things like that, it means that they won’t have a bad first quarter,” he said.

Snowdon predicted that most of the new jobs would be created in the software and services divisions, and particularly in client-facing positions. “IBM is ramping up its business consulting so there may be some very high-end consulting jobs being created in the U.S.,” he said.

In reporting its quarterly results on Jan. 15, the company said that it had strong growth in its services and personal systems group worldwide.

The announcement comes in the wake of a series of job cuts, during which the company said that it was trying to cut costs and reduce job redundancies. The latest trimming was made earlier this month when Big Blue slashed 400 U.S.-based software and services jobs.

Although the job cuts came in the same areas where Snowdon predicts the new positions will be created, he doesn’t see a contradiction.

The recent job cuts were most likely lower-paying position that could easily be outsourced or moved overseas, whereas the new positions are probably in high-end or customer-facing areas, he said.

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