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IBM Reviews

Updated May 28, 2017
27,958 reviews

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3.4
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IBM CEO Virginia Rometty
Virginia Rometty
10,161 Ratings

27,958 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • You have to manage your work life balance or you'll end up doing the work of 2 or more people (in 838 reviews)

  • There is an expectation to work long hours to progress within the company (in 414 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (424)

    "Advisory Engineer in STG, IBM"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Advisory Engineer in Hopewell Junction, NY
    Current Employee - Advisory Engineer in Hopewell Junction, NY
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at IBM full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Disclaimer: A lot of what I'm writing below of course depends on the work area and management chain. But I found this to be fairly pervasive policies in IBM in my 9+ years with the company.
    1. IBM's policies and management are very flexible when it comes to working remotely or accommodating various life situations (sick days, doctor visits, etc.). Management is encouraged to measure an employee by their work and impact, and not by hours spent at their office.
    2. Great colleagues! Though unfortunately, many have been leaving due to the instability of IBM's HW development business.
    3. At least in my area, there's a high level of flexibility on which projects should I undertake based on my and my management assessment of business impact.

    Cons

    1. Unfortunately, IBM still uses the "normal distribution" rating system, where at the end of the year each employee is ranked as a top contributor (5%), above average contributor (15%), average contributor (~75%), and bottom contributor (5%). This curve is difficult to apply in the R&D world, where you may have many members of the team working long and hard hours, and end up being "average contributors" at the end of the year, because there just isn't room for all to be top contributors.

    2. The above may not be so disturbing, if only IBM didn't practically cancelled all raises, performance bonuses and incentive for the non top-performers. I've had a consistent "above average" rating in the last 4-5 years, and my raise and performance bonus were ridiculous mere 1.5-2% of my salary. Were I rated "average contributor" I would have gotten NOTHING. So you can imagine that people can go year after year without any raise to their salary.

    From talking to manager friend, this is IBM's way to eliminate the non-top-performers without having to fire them, as part of its direction of reducing US manpower.

    3. Hiring freeze in many areas - again, as part of IBM's attempt to reduce its workforce across North America and Europe we see many jobs move to the India and Far East markets. This is of course upsetting to see local teams shrink and disappear, especially when many great local IBM colleagues and experts begin to drop out. From my experience thus far working with India SW teams - they are still very far away from the standards I would have expected from US and Europe based teams.

    4. Poor top down communication about company's and divisions' future. Employees learn from rumors and news websites what's about to come...

    Advice to Management

    Management must keep in mind that it today's world, which is saturated with brilliant companies that hire top talent, IBM must remain competitive to attract great talent and hold on to it. In the meanwhile, we're seeing the opposite trend, where great people leave IBM for other companies, be it because of a more competitive package, dropping morale and many other reasons.

    IBM Response

    Feb 12, 2016 – VP Human Resources

    Thanks for sharing your experience, and we're glad that you've had a positive experience working with talented colleagues and taking advantage of IBM's programs. IBM is in the midst of a major ... More


  2. Helpful (26)

    "Good News / Bad News"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in New Brunswick, NJ
    Current Employee - Manager in New Brunswick, NJ
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    1) Scope of company means you can do many things - lots of opportunity to learn new skills, if you're willing to relocate and learn.
    2) Interesting work and a variety of people and cultures
    3) Good benefits
    4) Cutting-edge technology

    Cons

    1) Direction at the top of the company is poor. Not much confidence in the top execs.
    2) Too much focus on cost-side of the equation, a result of poor revenues for many quarters.
    3) Shoemakers children with technology for employees - i.e., 4-year cycle for laptop replacement, not a lot of internal Mac support, poor local support for IT issues.
    4) Push for 'co-location' after years of allowing work-at-home means many people are commuting long distances to a few sites to keep their jobs.

    Advice to Management

    1) Apply reasonable rules for co-location - if you support a global team, does it matter where you work?
    2) Minimize the cost-cutting, especially of good people. At some point it has to stop. It's a terrible morale hit.


  3. Helpful (56)

    "Short-sighted company does not value its employees"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The pay is not bad, nor are the benefits. IBM does not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment at the workplace. For the most part, my first-line managers have been people-oriented and tried to look after their employees. The company works on a wide variety of things, and it is sometimes possible to move around to different areas if you want to try something new.

    Cons

    Working at IBM is something like an eternal game of Russian roulette, except with layoffs instead of bullets. I survived the layoffs for almost 20 years, but eventually my luck ran out (despite never receiving a bad rating). I am still with the company as of now, but my last day will be in the next 3 months. I have seen this happen to very talented employees many times during my years at the company. The layoffs are often determined by what project you happen to be working on at the time that the layoffs are done, rather than being determined by your skills or value to the company.

    Up until recently, IBM was very good about giving employees the flexibility to work from home or even to work purely remotely from other cities. Recently it was announced that this policy had ended and all employees were expected to be on site for all working hours. For some employees, there was no local IBM office where they could work. Those employees were told they would have to relocate closer to an IBM office or they would not be able to stay with the company. This was another case where very talented employees were essentially forced out of the company.

    For the past 10-15 years, it seems like the company tries to reinvent itself and entirely change directions every couple of years. But IBM never sees any of these strategies through. It tries them briefly, and if they do not pay immediate dividends, something new is attempted. On top of this, IBM has had a habit of always being late to the party. Only once cloud computing was well-established by IBM competitors did IBM start trying to get into the market, for example. It is very frustrating as a worker to feel like the company has no real direction or sense of strategy.

    It also often feels like the executives making the strategy decisions are too far removed from the reality of the business. IBM has many layers of management between the regular employees and the executives that make the decisions.

    Finally, and I imagine this is probably true of many large corporations, IBM treats its employees in a very schizophrenic manner. When a project is behind schedule or high priority, IBM management tells its employees that we are a family, a team, and we all should pull together, work extra hours, go the extra mile, etc, to see the project to completion. However, when IBM decides that they need to cut costs, they'll have one of their frequent layoffs (except they will only refer to them as "resource actions", the same way downsizing to them is "right-sizing"). And when the layoffs happen IBM management makes it clear that this is a business and these things happen. Wait, what happened to being a team and a family?

    Advice to Management

    First, realize that one of your greatest assets is your talented and knowledgeable employees. Treat them that way.
    Second, stop floundering when it comes to the company's strategy. Stick with an idea for longer than a couple of years.
    Third, rethink the misguided decision to forbid working remotely.
    Fourth, try to remove some of the layers of middle management.
    Fifth, don't try to have it both ways. If you expect your employees to feel like members of a family or a team, then treat them that way.

    IBM Response

    May 4, 2017 – Communications Engagement Professional

    Thank you for your comments. As with any transformation, we’re prioritizing investments in areas that are aligned with client demand. For example, we’re investing $500 million in employee ... More


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  5. Helpful (4)

    "Very happy with my decision"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Columbia, MO
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Columbia, MO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at IBM full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I just recently on-boarded with IBM in Columbia, MO and I couldn't be happier with my experience thus far. The opportunities are endless, the energy is vibrant, and everyone is incredibly welcoming and helpful. IBM seems very "fluid" in their approach to different areas of business, and I find that refreshing because it allows for employee's to share their thoughts/suggestions. I am very excited to see where things lead with IBM.

    Cons

    I'd say the one drawback I have come across is the multiple apps/programs that are used. Not the end of the world -- just an improvement opportunity I have noticed.

    Advice to Management

    Continue doing what you're doing! Management is very approachable and helpful in getting you the answer to your question(s).


  6. "Cloud Channel Sales Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Middleware Channel Sales Manager in Boulder, CO
    Current Employee - Middleware Channel Sales Manager in Boulder, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    International Company with long term success record. The rapid pace of change with requisite continuous learning is enjoyable.

    Cons

    Rapid change causes higher than normal levels of stress. IBM is focused on closed deals at the end of every month when this deadline does not align with partners and clients.

    Advice to Management

    Expand implementation of Agile techniques to field sellers and channel reps around the world


  7. "Direct contact with customers analyzing issues and helping to provide solutions for customer success."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Technical Support in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Customer Technical Support in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Teamwork atmosphere, resources for the work at hand, benefits

    Cons

    Perhaps greater interaction among teams and developers for cloud operations


  8. "Financial Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Dallas, TX
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at IBM full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Competent smart employees. Flexible work life balance in offering remote office work opportunities unless recent changes impact this.

    Cons

    Internal processes sometimes are never reevaluated and changed or eliminated.

    Advice to Management

    Reduce executive ranks and overlap.


  9. "Enterprise Level company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Devops Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Devops Engineer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    A lot of opportunities to strengthen your knowledge. IBM is a HUGE company, you can move around to a division/job that you like. It is more a ''SILO" kind of work. You will become Subject Matter Expert (SME) in your area and everybody is looking for you for your advice in that area.

    Cons

    Good or bad, it depends. a SILO is good for somebody that want to master something but the lack of knowledge in other areas.

    Advice to Management

    For the company that just bought by IBM, it's better to quickly adopt IBM culture. IBMers will have difficulties to 'understand' you unless you behave the same way like others.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Self Sufficiency is key"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Account Manager in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at IBM full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great Pay and Benefits. Really smart co-workers. Good Work/Life balance by way of Remote Work option. Opportunity to move around within the company and experience different positions.

    Cons

    IBM stands for I've Been Moved or I'm By Myself. Manager changes every 12 months. Sales coverage (territory) changes every 12 months. People come and go in your ecosystem rapidly so it is hard to develop long term working relationships. Mentor(s) will change as people leave. A lot of layoffs have affected morale. Sometimes you get a manager or find a mentor that will help you think through how to grow your career. Sometimes it seems like no one cares about you and your growth. I felt like every time I got a new manager or territory, I would have to start over again to develop my reputation as a high performer. Most of the time, I suffered from new guy syndrome. A tenured rep was laid off for a low performing territory and IBM would give me the crap territory and 12 months to turn it around. Hard to make a lot happen in a short amount of time. My colleagues told me not to be so hard on myself. If a tenured rep couldn't make the territory perform, there was not a lot more that I, the new guy, could do. But I tried my damnest, and after 4 or 5 restarts with new territories, IBM finally gave up on me.

    Advice to Management

    Reorganizing / Restructuring the sales team every 6 to 12 months is not going to stop the 20 consecutive quarters of negative growth. Customers are tired of IBMers showing up saying "I'm your new sales guy, let's met" Because they know that 12 months later, someone new will be saying the same thing. Pick a strategy and stick to it. You have fallen so far behind in cloud, mobile that I think y'all should just move on. If analytics (Watson) is the next big bet, then drop the price and start getting some wins. Work harder on what happens after the sale. Getting kicked out of MD Anderson and State of Texas are a major embarrassment.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "I had ups and downs while working for IBM. I think it's a good company but not quite the right fit for me."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineering in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Hardware Engineering in Austin, TX
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    IBM offers great flexibility both in terms of work schedule and position. They help you find what works for you.

    Cons

    It can easy to fall through the cracks if you are not proactive. Some tools and workflows are pretty outdated. Also, there was quite a long hiring gap, which means there are basically two cohorts of engineers and it can be hard to bridge that gap in terms of experience.


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