IBM Jobs: Moving to China? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Crystal Oko

IBM Jobs: Moving to China?

Hundreds of IBM jobs have been eliminated in Rochester Hundreds of IBM jobs have been eliminated in Rochester
IBM's Project Match has new job opportunities in China IBM's Project Match has new job opportunities in China
IBM is hiring thousands  of people in India and China IBM is hiring thousands of people in India and China
ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC-DT) -- In the last month, hundreds of high-paying jobs have been slashed at IBM/Rochester.  Now jobs with very similar descriptions are now popping up a half a world away.  In places like China, India, and Brazil.

IBM stands for International Business Machines, and IBM has facilities around the globe.

So it should be no surprise that a world-wide company would come up with something it calls "Project Match."

It's a program that offers those recently laid-off in Rochester and other U.S. sites a chance at jobs opening up in countries that have developing markets.

Some of the hundreds laid off at IBM/Rochester are interested. Others, are appalled.

Would you be willing to move to China?

Lost your job at Big Blue?

Chances are your job still exists, but in a different part of the world.

Chances are it popped up in a country with a developing market, like China, India or Brazil.

"I would definitely not want to do that," said one Rochester man.

IBM's program called "Project Match," offers you the chance to follow that job.

IBM won't say. But the pro-union group "Alliance at IBM" suggests that the computer giant is creating thousands of jobs overseas.

This is where IBM is hiring in 2009:

Asia/Pacific: 13,376
CEEMEA: 3,988
Europe: 2,923
India: 18,873
Japan: 868
Latin America: 7,112
USA: 3,514
Canada: 820

So why would IBM move jobs overseas?

"I am amazed at how hard IBM China can work its people, both Chinese nationals and foreign/western employees, and get away with it. It's not just the work ethic of Chinese that IBM likes; it's the fact that management can run them ragged, work them to death, then replace them with young, fresher, more gung-ho new recruits," according to the wife of an IBM'er.

Mingliang Qu has lived and worked in China and the United States and is just recently back from a visit to China. He says he's been amazed at how quickly the country is changing.

"It's pretty intense and you have to work pretty hard to make a good living in China."

If you would leave IBM Rochester to go to IBM China, you would be paid at the IBM China rate.

"It's a real concern. We're not opposed to trade but one of the problems we see in this country is that if we have a race to the bottom on wages, we aren't going to beat the Chinese to the bottom. They're going to continue to undercut us," said U.S. Representative Tim Walz.

"It's the job you thought you would retire from but now have lost," said President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama addressed the issue of offshoring jobs in his address to Congress, promising to restore a sense of fairness and balance to the tax code by ending tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.

It's certainly not illegal for a company like IBM to bulk up its work force in China or Brazil, but it might seem like the "end of the world" if you've lived and worked at IBM Rochester for decades and then suddenly see your job popping up on the other side of the globe.

Tomorrow night at 10, why some of these long-time IBM employees are now bitter about what has happened.

So why now?

Here is one possible explanation from an IBMer from a blog: He or she says it is no surprise that 2009 is the year of "off-shoring" jobs for IBM... because customer contracts were signed last year and the plan is in place for the management team.

What does IBM say about its "Project Match"--?

In a statement to us, IBM spokesperson Mary Welder in Rochester says "Project Match is one of many options available to IBMers whose jobs have been eliminated and are interested in looking for IBM opportunities worldwide.

We work very hard to place IBMers in jobs anywhere within the company, including geographies that are growing and in need of their skills.

The program is not for everyone, but is one of many we offer, in addition to traditional assistance."

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