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Merrill Lynch confirms IT job cuts

How many coders can you get for $7bn?

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Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain has confirmed that the search for $7bn in cost cutting was likely to mean thousands of job cuts at the firm following its takeover by Bank of America.

Thain said the integration process had already begun after the $50bn bail-out.

"Most jobs will go on the infrastructure side - IT, finance and operations, where there is overlap between the two companies," Thain said. "We've not mapped it out in actual numbers of people but we're looking for $7bn in savings ... so it will be thousands of jobs," Bloomberg TV reports.

Once upon a time IT smarties could have expected to walk out of one employer, and straight into the arms of another. However, with Lehmans casting thousands into the wilderness, and other top end finance firms handing out pink slips the omens are not good.

A move into more mundane areas of finance is also unlikely. The merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS is also expected to result in many redundancies for IT and support staff. A similar pattern is unfolding in the US.

HP, EDS and eBay have all announced job cuts in recent weeks, meaning industry is not likely to be a safe haven either.

Of course, if all else fails you can go work for the government. Except in the UK that is. Ministers have already outlined plans to streamline the Civil Service even as government revenues are hit by the economic slowdown. And local councils have got problems of their own, given that they have buckets of cash marooned in Iceland.®

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