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IBM Declares 1,800 AI, Blockchain, IoT Based Jobs in France

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International Business Machines Corporation (IBM - Free Report) recently announced its plans to create around 1,800 jobs over a span of two years on the back of new investments and initiatives it will undertake in France.

New graduates and experienced technical professionals will be hired for emerging technology roles pertaining to data science, cloud computing, Internet of things (“IoT”), artificial intelligence (“AI”), cognitive business, cybersecurity and blockchain. These skills have been termed “new collar” by IBM's chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty.

The newly announced jobs include the 400 hirings IBM had announced in AI-domain for research at the French AI for Humanity summit in March.

The investment and “new collar” recruitment news comes in the wake of the Tech for Good summit in Paris, hosted by the president of France, Emmanuel Macron. At the summit, Macron met IBM’s Rometty, Microsoft’s (MSFT - Free Report) Satya Nadella, Facebook’s (FB - Free Report) Mark Zuckerberg, to mention a few.

Tech Crunch revealed that Le Monde, French daily, noted that IBM had been reducing its team since 2012 in France. The new hirings roughly bring back the previous head count.

Expanding Foothold in FranceBodes Well

IBM’s client base in France comprises Orange Bank, Crédit Mutuel, national state-owned railway company, SNCF and Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, LVMH. A majority of these clients leverage IBM’s Watson to accelerate their respective business processes.

Furthermore, IBM intends to develop more “local competitiveness hubs” with the help of domestic public and private partners. Notably, it currently operates two hubs in Lille and Strasbourg.

The company also announced partnership with the French government on its P-TECH (Pathways to Technology Early College High School) education model. This project empowers disadvantaged young people in securing skilled jobs.

Moreover, the company plans to introduce IBM France Academy, “supported by online courses”, to train IBM’s France employees, partners and clients to build skills at par with the AI-era.”

The research on emerging technologies and empowering the youth with such skills is likely to drive innovation. We can say that transforming the work to a more-skill oriented one will drive costs down considering the broader outlook.

Blockchain Capabilties: Long-Term Driver

IBM is slowly but steadily gaining ground in blockchain technology. The companyhas been winning deals in multi-line insurance, bank guarantee, automobile industry and global food supplying industry among others.

Per MarketsandMarkets report, Blockchain technology is projected to reach $2.3 billion by 2021 from $210.2 million in 2016 at a CAGR of 61.5%. We believe IBM’s increasing investment and developments in this space poise it well to capitalize on growth opportunity.

Zacks Rank & Key Pick

IBM carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A better-ranked technology stock gaining foothold in blockchain is Akamai Technologies (AKAM - Free Report) , carrying Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

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