IBM’s AIX Team Moves to India, Sparks Debate on Age Discrimination in Tech

IBM's redeployed staff are senior folks on the verge of retirement
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Software tech IBM has reportedly relocated about 80 US-based AIX (Advanced Interactive eXecutive) to the Indian office. The shift, which began in the third quarter of 2022, saw AIX development split evenly between the US and India before the entire group relocated to India soon as 2023 kicked in.

According to sources, the employees were “redeployed” and given an indefinite time period to locate a new position within IBM. The staff in “redeployment” are old, senior, eligible-for-retirement. While most of them found jobs at IBM, some were still stuck with no jobs at IBM or elsewhere. 

We reached out to IBM for confirmation but have not received a response from them yet.

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Age Discrimination at IBM

Age discrimination in the tech sector was brought to light in September 2018 after it was revealed that IBM had fired over 20,000 American workers over 40, accounting for about 60% of all job losses made in the US during that time. IBM aimed to replace the older staff with younger force. However, several lawsuits claimed that IBM laid off their older staff due to ageism. In a federal court in Manhattan, attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of three former IBM employees claiming that the Big Blue fired them based on their age.

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IBM’s chief human resources officer, Nickle LaMoreaux, refuted claims that the business discriminates against older employees, a conclusion made by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. India, according to her, is a crucial market for business in terms of skill, innovation, and customers. Additionally, the tech giant’s talent pool now includes tier-2 Indian markets in addition to metropolises.

To make matters worse, IBM ceased disclosing age-specific demographic data about terminated employees in 2014, since access to that information would make it simpler to determine the median age of those subject to resource actions and redeployment. Reports revealed that IBM favoured millennial employees over ‘dinobabies’.

Numerous of these lawsuits have been resolved confidentially and without admission of guilt. For example, eight former employees who had sued IBM for age discrimination settled with the company a week ago while the terms were kept confidential. Redeployment aims to push employees toward another internal role, which may include relocating, to save costs and bureaucracy for the business. They may also persuade staff members to leave on their own.

IBM withholds redeployment data from staff members and does not detail how internal jobs were filled via internal searches, with management’s help or without, or by employees who opted to quit rather than wait.

Meanwhile, the company is actively hiring people with about three years of experience and fresher for positions like Risk and Compliance Analyst, Developer, Finance Lead, Package Consultant, Planning Analytics Consultant, Sailpoint IIQ professionals, and so on, among 3000+ positions in India. 

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