IBM Corp. Thursday said it is hiring a lot more employees than originally planned. The vendor upped its forecast for the year to 18,800 new hires, the majority of whom are destined for IBM’s services division.

“Two out of every three jobs will be in global services and business consulting services,” said IBM spokesperson Clint Roswell. Driving the hiring spree is growth in areas such as Linux services, grid computing and business transformation services. “Unlike some of our competition, we see growth,” Roswell said.

IBM previously said it expected to hire 10,000 people in 2004. But already this year Big Blue has added 13,000 jobs globally, including 3,000 in July alone. The remaining 5,800 will be brought on by year-end, Roswell says.

“The No. 1 job hire for us right now is consultants,” Roswell says. The second most sought-after position is IT architects, followed by software engineers, sales staff and project managers.

About one-third of the new jobs are in the Americas, Roswell says. The remainder are scattered globally, “a little bit more in Asia, a little bit less in Europe,” Roswell says.

When all is said and done, IBM expects to close the year with more than 330,000 employees — its largest headcount since 1991, when the IBM population topped 344,000.



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