IBM is laying off an unspecified - but significant - number of employees across the world.

The first job cuts under the new CEO Arvind Krishna come amid a global pandemic and deepening recession.

If you know of a job opening, reach out to them

IBM pilgrimage
– Sebastian Moss

IBM did not confirm the number of job losses, nor did it release a company-wide internal email explaining the strategy or rationale behind its move.

The layoffs come after several such moves in the past, including in 2016, 2017, 1,700 jobs in 2019, and 268 earlier this year.

Usually, the company has said that it focused on 'realigning' less profitable divisions, with a focus on bolstering its Cloud and AI divisions. This time, however, anecdotal evidence from employees on Reddit and Facebook paints a different picture.

"Got whacked this morning from Cognitive Applications," one user said. "Also hearing Watson Health and Research are being hit hard, along with the perennial classics, GBS and GTS."

Another, working in Watson Health, said: "A LOT of us got the boot."

IBM Research-Almaden campus is thought to have been hit, along with other IBM Research groups.

"Power [CPUs] got hit hard," yet another said. "I think that architecture is effectively dead for all but legacy support."

"This is the biggest round of [layoffs] in a decade," one user claimed.

One commenter shared their thoughts on what the layoffs meant for IBM's cloud strategy: "I got let go, and was in a NA cloud team. But I'll be honest. IBM has been struggling to get new contracts because their perceived value is low to clients.

"And for them to pivot to cloud when not only their cloud is 4th, but also few new clients will pay IBM's rates for what they get in return. I suspect they're depending heavily on existing clients and lack of inertia."

A company spokesperson said that the highly competitive marketplace IBM operates in "requires flexibility to constantly remix to high-value skills." Given the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, and the lack of free healthcare in the US, the company said it would offer "subsidized" medical coverage to affected employees in the US, through June 2021. DCD has asked for clarification on the extent of the subsidy.

IBM, which it is believed has steadily reduced its severance package over the past few years, currently has no plans to cut its shareholder dividend of five percent.