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State Street cuts IT staffers, shifts work to IBM, Wipro

State Street cuts IT staffers, shifts work to IBM, Wipro

But tech hiring nationally is up so far in 2011

State Street Corp. is laying off 530 IT workers and transferring another 320 to IBM or Wipro Technologies, part of a shift in its approach to IT operations.

This Boston-based company, which employs 4,000 IT workers, is turning to IBM and Wipro, the India-based outsourcing company, to manage "support components of its technology infrastructure, and application maintenance and support systems."

State Street is focusing on development and investing "in the things that differentiate us as a company versus more of the support type functions that don't offer us competitive advantage," said Alicia Curran Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the financial services firm.

It expects to eliminate those 530 IT jobs over the next 18 to 20 months.

In November, State Street announced a broad business transformation effort that included changes to IT and investment in new technologies, such as development of private clouds. As part of the initiative, the company told investors that it expects to recognize restructuring costs of approximately $400 million to $450 million over four years.

The restructuring was expected to result in layoffs of approximately 1,400 employees and lead to some real estate consolidations. A majority of those layoffs have already occurred and are separate from the ones announced Tuesday, the company said. While some IT workers were included in the earlier layoff, the company isn't providing a breakdown.

Elsewhere in the IT job market, things have been picking up.

TechServe Alliance, which tracks U.S. Labor Department hiring data month to month, said that just over 4 million people are employed in IT, up 3.39 per cent from a year ago.

But that hiring uptick has varied by month. In April, IT added 22,000 jobs by the Alliance's count, while in May, 20,000 IT jobs were added. And in June, IT hirings were virtually unchanged from May, registering a 0.01 per cent decline.

Nationally, the Labor Department said that only 18,000 jobs were added in June across all job categories.

Technology firms have announced layoffs of approximately 14,300 workers in the first half of this year, a 60 per cent reduction from the same period last year, according to an ongoing job cuts count kept by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. But that figure doesn't include Cisco Systems' announcement this month that it is cutting 6,500 jobs.

There are limitations to Challenger's data. It only reports announced layoffs, which means that smaller layoffs may go unreported. But the data does help illustrate the broader trends.

At this point last year, Challenger had tracked 35,375 job cuts; for all of 2010, Challenger tracked 46,825 cuts. That was down sharply from 2009, when it reported nearly 175,000 job cuts in the tech industry.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

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