IBM CEO Arvind Krishna appears be in a state of damage control following recent controversial comments about AI-related job losses. From a report: Speaking at a US event this week, Krishna said IBM had no plans to lay off technical staff, such as developers or programmers, and instead planned to accelerate hiring for positions in these fields. “I don’t intend to get rid of any of them,” he said. “I’ll have more.” Krishna added that the company aims to increase the number of software engineers and salespeople over the next four years to meet the increased focus on generative AI. Instead, the hammer will fall largely on staff working in back-office operations, which aligns closely with what we’ve heard previously from the executive branch.
Earlier this year, IBM announced plans to cut nearly 8,000 human resources positions in an effort to automate roles. The move means up to 7,800 jobs in the tech giant’s HR division could be cut, equating to around 30% of the unit’s total workforce. IBM also announced at the time that it would stop recruiting for positions in the division due to job automation.
Krishna has been among the most vocal big tech company executives about AI job losses in recent months. While leading figures in the industry have repeatedly evaded the subject, Krishna, to his credit, has been outspoken on the subject. In an interview with CNBC in August, Krishna suggested that “we should all feel better” about the influx of generative AI tools, much to the chagrin of critics worried about its impact on the job market. Krishna also told the broadcaster that organizations can significantly improve their productivity through generative AI, but it will come at the cost of human roles.