International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has not announced the plan, named "Global Sourcing," details of which were contained in company documents, the Wall Street Journal said on Monday.

  

IBM issued a statement saying it planned to boost hiring in the United States next year.

  

But the group did not confirm or deny the story.

  

New contracts

 

"While we do not comment on internal presentations or projections, the vast majority of the growth in application services that will occur in markets like India, China and Latin America will result from winning new contracts," IBM said.

  

"We expect our hiring next year in the US to equal or increase over 2003 levels. In fact, on a percentage basis, our forecast is for hiring across the Americas to outpace the hiring in the rest of the world," it said.

  

The Wall Street Journal said IBM had already hired 500 engineers in India to take on some of the work.

 

"We expect our hiring next year in the US to equal or increase over 2003 levels"

IBM statement

IBM had informed its managers in mid-October of the plan to replace workers at IBM in Southbury, Connecticut; Poughkeepsie, New York; Raleigh, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; and Boulder, Colorado, the paper said.

 

Scheme

  

The scheme would affect people in its Application Management Services division, part of the global services operations, which employ more than half of IBM's 315,000 staff, it said.

  

In the first stage, about 947 people would be told in the first half of 2004 that their jobs would be handled overseas. Up to another 3,700 jobs would move later but the timing was uncertain, it said.

  

Some workers would be informed by the end of January, after which they would be expected to train a foreign replacement in the United States for several weeks, the Wall Street Journal said.

  

Affected workers would have 60 days to find another job within the company, it said.

  

The plan was reportedly still being developed.

  

It was unclear whether all of the jobs targeted - most involving updating and improving software for IBM's own operations - could be performed overseas.