IBM: follow your job offshore, take a pay cut

Some of the workers being made redundant by IBM have a chance to remain with the company - if they're willing to move to Brazil, India, China or a dozen other low-wage countries.

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Some of the workers being made redundant by IBM have a chance to remain with the company - if they're willing to move to Brazil, India, China or a dozen other low-wage countries.

But the expatriate employees are likely to be paid local wages as they begin their new lives overseas.

IBM, which is cutting thousands of employees in a move that it has refrained from describing as a layoff, is offering affected workers what it calls Project Match.

The employees who can take advantage of the offer include those who have been "notified of separation from IBM US or Canada" and "are willing to work on local terms and conditions," the company said.

An IBM UK spokesman said the programme applied only to north America and would not comment on UK job losses.

IBM, unlike many other tech companies did not announce layoffs when it declared its Q4 results last month.

IT workers have long taken jobs in other countries to get promotions or for the experience of living overseas, but corporate expats typically are paid on the wage scale of the country from which they originate.

IBM said that as part of Project Match, it is offering workers financial aid to offset moving costs, assistance with visas "and other support to help ease the transition of an international move." But their wages may be similar to the pay of employees in the countries to which they're moving.

"What most of IBM's competitors are doing is just eliminating jobs and hiring people in India," said Robert Kennedy , a professor of business administration at the University of Michigan and author of the book ,i>The Services Shift. "I would say from IBM's point of view, they're trying to meet people maybe not halfway, but a quarter of the way."

Kennedy added that the appeal of a programme like Project Match likely would be limited primarily to young people who don't have families or mortgages.

IBM spokesman Doug Shelton acknowledged that the programme "is not for everybody." But Shelton pointed out that IBM, the world's largest technology employer with about 400,000 employees worldwide, has "many programmes that assist employees who are making transitions into other jobs or even other careers."

Project Match, he added, is "just one of many options available to IBMers whose jobs have been eliminated and are interested in looking for IBM opportunities worldwide."

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