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IBM vows to hire 25,000 staff as tech chiefs meet Trump

Ginni Rometty Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty is advising Donald Trump on jobs

Technology giant IBM has promised to hire about 25,000 professionals in the US over the next four years.

Writing in USA Today, chief executive Ginni Rometty pledged to spend $1bn (£0.8bn) on training and developing new US employees.

She and other A-list tech industry executives are due to meet President-elect Donald Trump later on Wednesday.

The meeting may prove confrontational. On the campaign trail, Mr Trump was highly critical of the industry.

Many tech sector executives supported Mr Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton. And Mr Trump called for boycotts of firms manufacturing overseas, accused some of tax-dodging and proposed reforming immigration. Many tech companies recruit talent from overseas.

It was unclear from Ms Rometty's article how many of the new hirings would be offset by reductions among current staff, or how much of an increase the $1bn represents compared with current expenditure.

The senior executives expected to attend Wednesday's meeting in Trump Tower are expected to include Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Apple's Tim Cook, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, Google/Alphabet's Larry Page, Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Image copyright AP
Image caption During the election campaign, Donald Trump was critical of technology companies, including Amazon

IBM was one of the firms singled out for criticism by Mr Trump on the campaign trail for shifting jobs overseas.

But immediately after his election victory, Ms Rometty wrote an open letter to the president-elect, outlining suggestions on how to make it easier to employ US workers.

She is now a member of Mr Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, an advisory council focusing on boosting growth and jobs.

"We are hiring because the nature of work is evolving - and that is also why so many of these jobs remain hard to fill," Ms Rometty wrote in USA Today.

"As industries from manufacturing to agriculture are reshaped by data science and cloud computing, jobs are being created that demand new skills - which in turn requires new approaches to education, training and recruiting."

IBM has cut thousands of jobs over the last few years, but remains the US's largest technology company.

Originally established as a manufacturer of computer hardware, the company, also known by the nickname Big Blue, has made a name for itself in artificial intelligence.

It is developing quantum computing and sells software, hosting and consulting services.

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