In brief: IBM, a company that was originally founded three years before the start of World War One, has been accused of trying to appeal to millennials by laying off older employees.
The tech giant is facing a number of lawsuits accusing it of age discrimination. Bloomberg writes that in one of these civil cases, a former vice president of human resources, Alan Wild, said in a deposition that IBM had “laid off 50,000 to 100,000 employees in just the last several years.”
Wild added that IBM had recruitment problems and determined that one way to show millennials it wasn’t an “old fuddy duddy organization” was to come across “as [a] cool, trendy organization” like Amazon and Google. The solution, according to court documents, was to lay off large portions of its older employees over several years.
The suit claims IBM started firing older workers in 2014, replacing them with millennials who its consulting department believes “are generally much more innovative and receptive to technology than baby boomers.”
While it’s still considered an industry leader, IBM has struggled to compete against newer companies such as Google and Amazon in recent times, and has seen its revenues slowly decline over the last seven years. According to the Wall Streeet Journal, it laid off another 2,000 employees last month.
In an email, IBM said it "hires 50,000 employees each year, and spends nearly a half-billion dollars on training our team."
"We also receive more than 8,000 job applications every day, the highest rate that we've ever experienced, so there's clear excitement about IBM's strategy and direction for the future."
Bloomberg writes that at the end of 2018, IBM’s global workforce stood at 350,600, marking a 19 percent reduction since 2013.