IBM shows HP how it's done with hiring binge

19,000 and counting

Just as HP was alarming investors with a poor third quarter, IBM announced that it has bright prospects for the rest of 2004 and plans to hire 19,000 workers by year end.

Earlier in the year, IBM said it looked to add 15,000 staffers but has now upped that total to 18,800. It cited growth in consulting, grid computing and Linux-related businesses as reasons for the move, although a general improvement in IT spending would seem to be the main factor. IBM's optimistic outlook appears in stark contrast to that of HP, which earlier in the day shocked Wall Street with a sub par Q3, a management shakeup and word that its fourth quarter would come in at the low end of expectations.

It's safe to assume that IBM timed the hiring announcement to rub a bit of acid in HP's wounds. "We do see growth, unlike some of our competition," IBM spokesman John Bukovinsky told Reuters.

Close to one-third of IBM's hirings will take place in North America. The company did not say what other regions would benefit.

IBM has been one of the main targets for anti-offshoring campaigners. Workers protested outside of an IBM shareholder meeting in April, complaining about the number of workers IBM has hired outside of the US. IBM has said as many as 2,000 US jobs will be sent overseas this year, although that is down from earlier projections.

IBM now expects to exit 2004 with 330,000 workers - its highest total since it employed 344,000 staffers in 1991.

Elsewhere in the Big Blue kingdom, IBM agreed to clean up industrial waste in New York. IBM will install a transport system that sends water from wells in Endicott, New York to a treatment facility, according to the New York Times. IBM has admitted no wrongdoing in the matter and is the only business, out of several suspected of polluting, that is helping with the cleanup. ®

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