IBM to move jobs overseas

  ARMONK N.Y. - IBM Corp. plans to move up to several thousand skilled software jobs from the United States to India, China and other countries, which could amount to one of the biggest such actions yet in the technology industry.
  IBM documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal said about 4,700 programming jobs could be shifted overseas to save costs, a growing high-tech industry trend known as "offshoring."
  More than 900 people are scheduled to be told of the move in the first half of 2004, and 3,700 more jobs have been identified as having the "potential to move offshore," the Journal said yesterday.
  IBM already has hired 500 engineers in India, the Journal reported.
  The division affected is IBM's Application Management Services group, part of Big Blue's technology services division. The IBM facilities where workers could be replaced include offices in Dallas: Southbury, Conn.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y; Raleigh, N.C.; and Boulder, Colo.
  IBM spokesman James Sciales noted that most of IBM's work force, which now totals 315,000, has been overseas for years. Sciales also released a statement saying IBM expects that U.S. hiring next year will match or exceed 2003 levels.
  While companies long ago began moving blue-collar work to Asia, big business is now increasingly shifting skilled work there as well. According to International Data Corp., foreign workers performed about 5 percent of information technology services for U.S. companies this year, but by 2007, that share will grow to 23 percent.
  Often, the U.S. workers being replaced are called upon to train their overseas - replacements. The same will be expected of IBM employees whose jobs are being transferred, said the Journal.