IBM Reviews

Updated March 27, 2015
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  1. IBM had provided me a great 25 year career but in the last 10 years, IT Outsourcing became too cut-throat.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Advisory Project Manager
    Former Employee - Advisory Project Manager

    I worked at IBM

    Pros

    Good benefits, good people to work with. Work from home option was terrific.

    Cons

    No work-life balance. The last thing the company wanted was employees. Too many lay offs. Lack of salary increases. The environment was heinous. Majority of people working there are now contractors.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful

    IBM Design: a place for people who like talking about design

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in Austin, TX

    I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Decent pay, good vacation and benefits, great work/life balance. Your peers are generally friendly and competent, but the best people are leaving and nepotism is rampant. Which brings me to...

    Cons

    If you're being recruited to IBM Design, you'll probably be told about all sorts of amazing projects you can work on at IBM. You will be wined and dined and told how you are going to be part of a major movement to bring design to the forefront of this formerly iconic company. If you accept their offer, you will participate in a 3 month long Design Camp which is supposed to prepare you for working in one of the big projects at IBM. At the end of Design Camp comes "Deployment," which reminded me a lot of the sorting hat scene from Harry Potter. Basically, the senior leadership locks themselves in a room for a week and secretly decide your fate (I kid you not, they even put big pieces of paper over the windows so nobody can see what's going on inside). At the end of it all, they read off people's names and which projects they are being deployed to as part of a big public event. You have NO input on where you will be placed and, unless you are really good at sucking up to the leadership, most people get put on horribly dysfunctional teams working on boring projects they certainly didn't mention when they were recruiting you.

    Once you are on a project it is virtually impossible to leave before you've put in a full year at the company. At that point, people are faced with the choice of schmoozing their way into a better project or leaving IBM altogether (I chose the latter and could not be happier).

    IBM Design, which was started with the goal of changing the culture at IBM, is really just a microcosm of what's wrong with the company in general:
    -Rampant nepotism and favoritism in hiring and project placement (I've seen people review their own friends in the hiring process)
    -Total lack of meritocracy (people are judged not on their design talent but instead their talent to talk about design)
    -Seniority and cliques being more important than skills and talent (those who stay for more than a year or two are either totally risk-averse, more interested in being schmoozers than designers, or completely delusional)

    The only "culture" being created at IBM Design is one of sycophants and charlatans.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you believe even half the things you say, then I have little advice for you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful

    bad

    Former Employee - Associate Partner in San Jose, CA
    Former Employee - Associate Partner in San Jose, CA

    I worked at IBM

    Pros

    nothing good to say about IBM

    Cons

    everything bad to say about IBM

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    horrible

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 4 people found this helpful

    Great ambitions, poor execution.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Designer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Product Designer in Austin, TX

    I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    If you're looking to escape to Austin and the middle of Texas for cheap, go for it.

    Cons

    Lots of omissions and lies about what the state of company actually is. It hasn't been the era of the Eames for decades and even when those legend designers were hired, they were brought on as famous contractors with a blank check, not the for-cheap designers that are being hired en masse as a work force. You won't have their impact.

    Workplace is dull and tired. Terribly designed office, despite the aim of the organization it supports. Most startups with mediocre incomes can support better perks, benefits, salaries... and cool projects. Some IBM offices are thrilled to offer free coffee for an hour a day! Meanwhile smaller companies offer free lunches, gym memberships, cleaning services, and higher salaries. Don't sell yourself short on a nice interview dinner.

    Austin is great, but Texas is only for some. Don't move here from a big city, unless you're looking to settle down.

    The management is more of a survival class than a meritocracy. Most people expect respect because of how long they've lasted, not because of what they can do — that makes for a corporate culture that is overwhelmed with bureaucratic, safe, risk-averse behavior and very little desire to follow even brilliant design ideas.

    There are challenges in your career that will build character, growth, and fortitude in a designer.... and then there will be challenges like IBM that forever remind you what not to do ever again.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get out.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful

    No regard for employee's welfare and career life.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at IBM

    Pros

    Big company. Competitive salary if you can keep your job.

    Cons

    No job security. Only cares about profits.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Care about the people who work for you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful

    Losing traction

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at IBM (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    They have great methodologies. However, they get wrapped up within them.

    Cons

    Management only looks at billable hours and volunteering time back. Lack of supporting staff to succeed, unless in IBM office. Management is clueless about current technology.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Become current and listen to fresh ideas. Stop defining the company by its past.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful

    It got worse every year

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Communications/Marketing
    Former Employee - Communications/Marketing

    I worked at IBM

    Pros

    They have a core of incredibly competent people.

    Cons

    Continuous flow of lay-offs that have been going on for so long, pretty much the only people left there are good, intelligent, hard-working people.
    The executive team is completely out of touch with the average worker and, frankly, they don't care.
    All of the lies and half-truths in corporate messaging, both external and to employees. It is truly amazing what IBM gets away with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hard working, loyal people were what made IBM great. You've forgotten that.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful

    IBM Design, not for designers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - User Experience Designer in Austin, TX

    I worked at IBM full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I can not think of any long term pros. The honey moon phase will be nice. You'll be wined and dined and promised the world but those are empty promises.

    Cons

    Low compensation based on the degree you were able to afford not talent, lack of direction in leadership, false promises to get you through the door, technology is of very low quality or mis represented to press and outside organizations and very young immature new hires. Feels like a college dorm room a lot of times.

    In the beginning you'll get a phone a call and you'll hear a lot about how IBM Design "will change the world". You'll work on projects "that will change the world". Unfortunately, this will not be the case. There is a lengthy 3 month processes called design camp. It is to prepare you for what is like to work at IBM, it is not. It is for those coming directly out of college who have 0 work experience but have somehow gotten through the hiring process and need some type of real world experience.

    This creates chaos amongst those who have 1-2+ years of experience coming to IBM. There are dedicated recruiters to help find the 1,000+ designers they plan to hire but they bring in the new hires (those are the college students) to also help. They are now judging, commenting and deciding the fates of potential candidates that they are clearly not qualified to do. Immature remarks and fear of working with individuals who are more skillful and qualified make it so great candidates are over looked and passed on. Lots of MFA candidates with no prior job experience just one degree obtained after another.

    You'll be promised the world and receive very little. When being deployed to your project your told by leadership that "hours, even days! went into the process". The process is bias, haphazard and is never explained to you in the least. Nothing about your skill set being a match or what the logic was behind it. If your lucky you'll work on Watson. Not because it's a good project but it makes it easier to speak about to others outside the company because of the press and name recognition. 80% of the designers in Austin are trying to maneuver their way to that team because they have 0 interest in their current project.

    The Watson tech is weak and not artificial intelligence as it is often described. It does have some advantages and in some ways could be very powerful but there is no magic behind it, not a super computer there are no such things as super computers. Leadership running Watson is weak and unpredictable. Pitching tech to potential clients and partners that does not exist and is years possibly even decades from being a potential working product. Even going to the extent as to lie about whether or not a product is actually using a Watson service.

    It is unfortunate that IBM Design has glossed over so much of what IBM company culture is like. Once your in the door and have your sign on bonus you hear how this is a "long term mission", "the road will be tough". Any good designer has no problem working hard but reaching for an impossible goal is demoralizing. The GM of IBM Design will tell you "how they will write books about the success or failure of IBM Design one day". I'm sure they will write a book about this one day. I have an idea which one it will be.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest in your recruiting. Don't sell college students the world and hire more experienced designers. The idea is to retain talent not push them away. Your compensation for junior - mid level designer is low for Austin and NYC. Rank compensation on talent not the degree they were able to afford. Stop trying to hire a 1,000 designers and focus your efforts on steering the Titanic (IBM) away from the iceberg. Be design evangelist to development leaders in the company and not the design police who force feed it down their throats when they won't cooperate.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 3 people found this helpful

    Cluster F

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Field Sales, Software Group in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Field Sales, Software Group in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at IBM full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    best reasons: room for unqualified advancement due to high attrition

    Cons

    No executive leadership. Incompetent CEO who is nearly invisible to customers, the public, and the employees. She's like the Obama of IBM - under qualified, no ability to call shots or strategy then execute, and generally disconnected from having any direction for predictability / steering. Uncertainty all the time, annual re-orgs, rotations, reassignments.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Replace yourselves with competent people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful

    Working environment varies from group to group, but it is rapidly deteriorating across the board.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member in Yorktown Heights, NY
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member in Yorktown Heights, NY

    I have been working at IBM full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    - work with very smart people
    - flexibility in work schedules
    - wide range of projects and technical areas

    Cons

    - opportunities for career development are scarce
    - minimal raises, vanishing bonuses for non-executives
    - employees come last; sinking morale

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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