IBM is to hire 15,000 additional employees worldwide, reinforcing its prediction of IT recovery this year.
The announcement comes just days after the company reported a 9.4% increase in fourth-quarter revenue to $25.9bn, and predicted that 2004 would herald the return of the IT industry growth cycle.
A UK representative for the company declined to say where the jobs would be added. IBM has 315,889 employees worldwide, and the new hires will bump it up to almost 331,000.
Jamie Snowdon, research director for IDC in the UK, said that the announcement means that not only is IBM happy with its fourth-quarter performance but that it expects positive recovery in the first quarter of this year as well.
"When vendors aren't coy about saying things like that it means that they won't have a bad first quarter," he said.
Snowdon predicted that most of the new jobs would be created in the software and services divisions, and particularly in client-facing positions.
"IBM is ramping up its business consulting so there may be some very high-end consulting jobs being created in the US," he said.
In reporting its quarterly results last Thursday, the company said that it had strong growth in its services and personal systems group worldwide.
Earlier this month IBM cut 400 jobs in software and services jobs. Although the job cuts came in the same areas where Snowdon predicts the new positions will be created, he does not see a contradiction.
The recent job cuts were most likely lower-paying positions that could easily be outsourced or moved overseas, whereas the new positions are probably in high-end or customer-facing areas, he said.
Scarlett Pruitt writes for IDG News Service