Rochester IBM head count: 2,740

IBM remains Rochester's second-largest employer, although the number of workers there has fallen in recent years. This summer, Ahmed Aybakar, in the General Manufacturing Operations of Rochester IBM, completed the assembly of a Pure Flex computing system.

IBM's presence in Rochester, which topped out at more than 8,000 employees in the 1990s, has been whittled down by layoffs and attrition to 2,740 today, according to calculations based on internal company documents.

The Armonk, N.Y.,-based computer giant has been in Rochester since 1956. For most of that time, it publicly has reported its employees numbers at the end of each year. That practice came to an end in 2009, as the company cited competitive concerns.

The last official IBM tally was 4,200 Rochester employees as of Dec. 31, 2008.

An IBM insider recently took a different approach by filtering the internal company-wide employee directory from the "Bluepages" intranet through a spread sheet.

Independently, two other people familiar with the internal directory have said such a calculation should result in an accurate local worker count, and they also ran the numbers and came up with similar results. All three asked to remain anonymous to protect their jobs.


An unofficial data "snapshot" taken on Tuesday found 2,740 full-time IBM employees, 244 contractors, 239 supplemental workers, 348 vendors and 30 part-time employees. The full-time tally includes eight people assigned to work from here for a site outside the U.S., two people outside the U.S. assigned to work for IBM Rochester and one "pre-hire who is not on board yet."

The full-time number is 64 percent of the 2009 workforce that worked at IBM's campus at 3605 U.S. 52.

IBM officials declined to comment when asked about the calculation.

"IBM does not comment on the authenticity of any alleged internal documents provided by an unnamed source, and we do not disclose employee numbers of our IBM locations, for competitive reasons," stated IBM spokesman Doug Shelton in an email response this week.

He cited IBM's charity work and donations locally as well as the high number of patents issued to IBM inventors in Rochester.

"IBM is proud of the contributions made through the diversity of skills from our Rochester employees," he said. "IBM has achieved five decades of technology innovation & transformation. In 2012 more than 550 patents came from IBM Rochester inventors."

Recent developments demonstrate IBM's reduced presence:

• In October, IBM leased two buildings on its campus to the cable-television provider Charter Communications.


• IBM cut a number of Rochester jobs during a company-wide layoff in June. Estimates puts Rochester's losses at about 200 people.

• In April, it moved the final IBM employees out of the last 100,000-square-foot space it had leased in the "White Buildings," also known as the 41st Street Professional Campus. The 435,000-square-foot 41st Street campus, which is near IBM's main site, originally was built to house Big Blue's employees, but they were no longer needed as IBM's employee count shrunk.

• In March, it announced that the manufacture of the Power Systems, PureSystems and PureFlex Systems are being moved from Rochester to Guadalajara, Mexico. The company would not say how many jobs Rochester will lose. That shift is not expected to be complete until mid-2014.

The number of regular employees in the list sounds right compared to what we know," said Lee Conrad, the leader of the New York-based pro-union group Alliance@IBM. "Clearly the IBM regular employee population in Rochester and the U.S. has shrunk dramatically as jobs are cut ,offshored, and contractors replace regular employee job positions."

Alliance@IBM has unofficial nationwide employee numbers on its website.

It lists 66,251 full-time workers, 12,087 contractors, 2,959 supplemental and 6,853 vendors employed by IBM in the U.S.

On the local level, IBM's contraction means more commercial and industrial buildings becoming available.

"It's a large footprint out there (at the IBM campus). We know it's not occupied like it was," Gary Smith, the president the Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. "We've had a number of conversations about it and are meeting with them at this point to discuss the future."


However, Smith says he isn't really concerned about the possibility of Rochester's second largest employer completely leaving any time soon.

"As of today, I don't see it going away. There are still a lot divisions represented out there," he says. "When I'm really going to be concerned is when I see the inventiveness decrease. It's not so much the number of employees, but the capacity to innovate."

IBM was the city's top employer for much of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1966, Mayo Clinic tied it, when each employed 3,600 workers. Mayo pulled ahead in 1967 with 3,850 employees compared to IBM's 3,800.

Today, RAEDI says Mayo Clinic has 33,500 employees in Rochester.IBM remains the second top employer, and Rochester Public School system is third at 2,367.

• 2002 - 4,600

• 2003 - 4,500

• 2004 - 4,400


• 2005 - 4,400

• 2006 - 4,400

• 2007 - 4,400

• 2008 - 4,200

Independent calculation

• 2013 - 2,740

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