IBM is recruiting technical and sales staff for select business partners as it looks to increase its percentage of indirect business. But a leading recruitment specialist has warned the scheme will create a training ground for the vendor and may not provide long-term partner benefit.
Big Blue plans to fill positions within 30 direct resellers including ComputerCorp and Synergy Plus.
"Rather than hire people for our face-to-face force, we want to increase the capacity of partners and help them to achieve the growth we require," director of business partners, Scott Kardash, said.
Partners had been calling out for technical and sales skills, particularly in hunting down white space - or new business - opportunities, he said. But he denied the initiative was designed to tackle an industry skills shortage.
"Good skills are always hard to find," Kardash said. "We're happy with partner growth in the past year but we need more capacity.
"Two-thirds of our hardware business is done through business partners but we are looking to increase that. The software group also has a strong focus on growing channel contributions so we want to make it more attractive for partners to deal with us."
IBM posted ads for IT sales and technical specialists with employment sites, Seek and MyCareer, last week. It requested applicants with 3-5 years' industry experience, ideally with its server and storage products.
The vendor was looking to hire at least 100 people, Kardash said. Twenty partners had already offered to participate in the campaign by listing specific staffing requirements on a dedicated recruitment website. Those organisations would have the final say on who to employ. Although keen to get staff in place this quarter, Kardash said the campaign would run indefinitely.
Synergy Plus CEO, Perry Blackney, applauded the plan as an innovative way of helping partners strengthen in-house skill sets.
"IBM is in a strong competitive position with its rivals and [its products and services are] in great demand today," he said. "There will always be peaks and troughs [in skill sets] but we just want to bring more talent into Synergy."
ComputerCorp general manager, Mike Rickers, was also supportive of the scheme.
He said the IBM brand would be a major drawcard for potential recruits.
Managing director of national recruitment agency Olivier, Robert Olivier, said the plan was a smart way to generate a new breed of loyal technicians. But he questioned the long-term benefits for business partners.
"They [IBM] will be using a business partner's organisation as a training ground; people will end up working for them anyway," he said. "That's where the brand attraction is. It is a way of building for the future."
There were many cases in the financial sector of larger banks and institutions taking on staff after they had been trained up at a partnering firm.
Olivier cited Macquarie Bank recruiting from PricewaterhouseCoopers as an example.