IBM plans to hire 25,000 "new collar" positions over the next four years -- 6,000 of them in 2017 -- and invest $1 billion in training and development of US employees, CEO Ginni Rometty said in an editorial in USA Today Tuesday afternoon.
The statement came as Rometty and other tech CEOs plan to meet with President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday, with jobs reportedly at the top of the agenda. (See Change Agent Orange? Tech to Talk to Trump.)
"This is not about white collar vs. blue collar jobs, but about the 'new collar' jobs that employers in many industries demand, but which remain largely unfilled," Rometty says.
Employers just can't find people to fill jobs, Rometty says. For example, there are more than half a million open jobs in tech sectors in the US, according to the Department of Labor, Rometty says. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has thousands of open positions at any time.
She name-checked data science and the cloud as two areas where need is particularly acute.
IBM has identified the cloud as one of a cluster of emerging technologies on which it's staking its future -- "strategic imperatives" which also include analytics, mobile, and security. Those businesses are growing even as IBM's traditional business declines. (See Cloud Rises But Overall Revenue Down for IBM.)
"We are hiring because the nature of work is evolving -- and that is also why so many of these jobs remain hard to fill," Rometty 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."
While some of these jobs require advanced education, others don't require a traditional college degree, Rometty says. She gives IBM credit for "a new educational model that many other companies have embraced -- six-year public high schools combining a relevant traditional curriculum with necessary skills from community colleges, mentoring and real-world job experience."
IBM had nearly 378,000 employees at the end of 2015, and has been shedding US workers, according to Reuters.
Jobs will be at the top of the agenda for the meeting with Trump, which includes Rometty, Tesla's Elon Musk, Alphabet's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Apple's Timothy Cook, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Oracle's Safra Catz, Intel's Brian Krzanich, and Cisco's Chuck Robbins.
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud