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IBM promises to hire Americans as tech executives set to meet Trump
December 13, 2016 / 10:23 PM / 9 months ago

IBM promises to hire Americans as tech executives set to meet Trump

Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO of IBM, speaks during a keynote address at the 2016 CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

(Reuters) - IBM Chief Executive Ginni Rometty pledged to hire and train workers in the United States as she and other technology executives prepared to meet on Wednesday with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

“We have thousands of open positions at any given moment, and we intend to hire about 25,000 professionals in the next four years in the United States,” Rometty wrote in a USA Today piece published on Tuesday afternoon.

IBM spokesman Adam Pratt declined to say how that hiring might be offset by staff reductions or disclose how many people IBM employs in the United States.

“We expect to end 2016 with our U.S. workforce about the same size as it was at the beginning of the year. By 2020, we expect it to be larger than it is today,” Pratt said.

IBM had nearly 378,000 employees at the end of 2015, according to the company’s annual report.

While the firm does not break out staff numbers by country, a review of government filings suggests IBM’s U.S. workforce declined in each of the five years through 2015.

In annual Department of Labor filings, IBM has reported that the active number of participants in its 401(k) pension plan fell to 84,350 last year from 110,876 in 2010.

When asked why IBM planned to increase its U.S. workforce after those job cuts, company spokesman Ian Colley said in an email that Rometty had laid out the reasons in her USA Today piece.

Her article did not acknowledge that IBM had cut its U.S. workforce, although it called on Congress to quickly update the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act that governs federal support for vocational education.

“We are hiring because the nature of work is evolving,” she said. “As industries from manufacturing to agriculture are reshaped by data science and cloud computing, jobs are being created that demand new skills – which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting.”

She said IBM intended to invest $1 billion in the training and development of U.S. employees over the next four years. Pratt declined to say if that represented an increase over spending in the prior four years.

Rometty is one of more than a dozen U.S. executives serving on an advisory council that Trump has formed to consult him on job creation.

Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston; Additional reporting by Tim McLaughlin in Boston; Editing by Andrew Hay and Peter Cooney

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