14 Pros and Cons of Working at IBM

IBM

International Business Machines (IBM) is an industry-leading major tech corporation headquartered in Armonk, NY with business operations in more than 171 countries.

The company first set up shop in 1911 as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company but was renamed in 1924 to IBM.

This titan of industry sells and produces computer software, hardware, and middleware, as well as provides hosting and consulting areas in a variety of tech-related areas ranging from nanotechnology to mainframe computers.

For the past 28 consecutive years, IBM has held the record for the most annual U.S. patents.

If you are looking into working for a major tech company like IBM, keep reading to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages!

Pros of Working at IBM

Many advantages exist for working at IBM, with the leading seven:

1. Better Status

Like graduating from Harvard can be a badge of academic prestige, working for IBM can prove to future employers that you have what it takes to work at the highest caliber.

Getting into a major organization like IBM is highly competitive, so beating out the competition and earning a job spot speaks volumes regarding your unique talents, skillset, and credentials as an employee.

IBM looks great on your resume if you ever choose to leave the company in the future.

2. Countless Opportunities

One of the best aspects of working for IBM is the countless opportunities that exist.

As the company has grown, the need for additional employees to fill new roles allows for many openings across a variety of functions.

Having access to a larger network can pay major dividends down the line.

Also, most employees report that their career paths are clearer due to the specific set of rules for promotions, raises, and evaluations.

You generally know what is needed to advance to the next level of your career.

Furthermore, if you want to try a different job or location, you may have the opportunity to move positions and work at another facility.

3. Defined Structure and Order

IBM has an excellent structure and an order of operations.

Therefore, for those who thrive in a structured environment with clear-cut roles, IBM may be an excellent fit.

This company has set training programs in place, so you learn everything necessary to get the job done and who to interact with during the process.

Policy manuals and training help guide you to be successful within the organization and clear-cut procedures exist to aid in the decision-making process.

4. Great Stability 

With IBM being around for over 110 years and generally experiencing continuous growth (the company saw year-over-year growth of 14.89% from the first quarter of 2021 to 2022), stability is a major benefit.

While all companies have found themselves on the wrong side of the economy, large companies are generally more stable.

The odds are in your favor that your role will not disappear one morning when you walk in the door.

Even if it does, you will likely receive an excellent severance package if laid off.

5. Many Perks

One of the most obvious advantages of working for IBM is there are many perks including a variety of insurance options, wellness programs, vacation and sick days, bonuses, and stock options.

For insurance and wellness programs, large corporations like IBM can negotiate better deals for their employees, which means you pay less out of pocket or have access to free wellness benefits.

Other perks include tuition reimbursement and access to a restaurant, dry cleaner, gym, or daycare.

6. Vast Resources

Given IBM’s continued growth and revenue of $57.35 billion, they can offer more to employees because they have more resources.

For instance, IBM may offer a higher salary and bonus than a smaller company or kick in more for insurance.

Also, employees have access to more resources, such as an in-house support team to assist with activities ranging from IT to mental health, wellness, and nutrition.

IBM also is more likely to invest in your development to help you move up the ranks than a smaller company.

7. Work Closely with a Core Team

IBM is set up into numerous functions in a variety of locations around the world, each with different tasks and goals.

This means you are working regularly in smaller groups with the information being fed upwards.

Within your core group, you can collectively make decisions that impact your part of the business and learn how to work with different personality types, which improves your overall business skillset.

Cons of Working at IBM

Like with any company, there are some disadvantages to working at IBM, including:

1. Big Company, Big Inbox

When working at a major company like IBM, one major drawback is that you will be added to a ton of emails that have nothing to do with you or your role.

These could range from corporate emails regarding new executives to projects you are not working on.

There is always at least one person who believes they need to CC the world on every email.

While email filters exist, for this reason, it can still be a challenge to manage your inbox.

2. Can Be Difficult to Get Ahead

While many opportunities for advancement exist at IBM due to its size and growth, it does not mean they will come easily.

In many instances, challenging work simply is not enough to get ahead.

Success has a specific definition and while you may have countless accomplishments to report during a performance review, if they are not listed as part of the company’s goals and objectives, then they may not count.

Working for IBM means you also work with numerous others across a variety of functions, so there’s competition everywhere, all the time.

For instance, when a manager is deciding which salesperson to promote, they begin with those who hit the goals to earn that promotion.

3. Less Creative Thinking

“Thinking outside the box” used to be a major trend within the corporate world.

This idea encouraged free-thinking and original thought to aid leaders and employees with uncovering innovative solutions to issues, instead of doing things as they have always been done.

Unfortunately, at major corporations like IBM, if you are not in a creative role, then they do not like to think outside the box.

Most major companies are risk-averse and therefore less open to change.

4. Less Transparency

As one of 345,000 employees, you will likely be far removed from strategy conversations regarding the company’s direction.

All market positioning decisions occur behind closed doors where heads of departments and C-level executives discuss the future of IBM.

As a lower-level employee, you will be fed information on a need-to-know basis.

Therefore, if you are the type who wants to have a say in the company’s direction, then this could be a major drawback for you.

5. Major Competition

Given the prestige of IBM within the tech industry, there is major competition to get in the door at any level and in every function.

While IBM looks great on your resume, that can only happen if you get your foot in the door and differentiate enough from other candidates to get the job.

Within the organization, competition for promotion continues and can become incredibly political when numerous internal and external candidates are vying for the same position.

6. More Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy and red tape as the other side of the coin when considering defined processes and procedures.

While having well-documented operations is critical to success, it can be detrimental to employees.

Accomplishing tasks that need multiple levels of sign-offs can take significantly longer than at a smaller firm before getting approval.

Everyone has an opinion that must be thoroughly documented.

Even the simplest actions like changing a laptop can take hours of paperwork and signoffs.

7. You’re Just a Number

At large companies like IBM, you are just another employee number in a database.

Therefore, it can be challenging to feel like you’re being seen as a person or heard as an employee since there are 345,000 employees that work for the company globally.

Similarly, it can be difficult to feel like your efforts are making a difference at a company this size.

However, this may not always be the case when you work for a good leader who regularly makes you aware of your value.

Pros and Cons of Working at IBM – Summary Table

Pros of Working at IBMCons of Working at IBM
1. Better Status1. Big Company, Big Inbox
2. Countless Opportunities2. Can Be Difficult to Get Ahead
3. Defined Structure and Order3. Less Creative Thinking
4. Great Stability 4. Less Transparency
5. Many Perks5. Major Competition
6. Vast Resources6. More Bureaucracy
7. Work Closely with a Core Team7. You’re Just a Number

Should You Work at IBM?

Working at IBM is a prestigious career choice where you can reach your goals and objectives, with stability.

However, getting your foot in the door may be a major challenge given the stiff competition within the tech industry.

Determining whether you want to work for IBM comes down to your ability to deal with politics, red tape, and bureaucracy versus the endless perks you have by working for a leading organization!

Jamie Willis