Photographer: Ariel Jerozolimski/Bloomberg

Hewlett-Packard Steps Up International Hiring

More savings, R&D

Hewlett-Packard Co. is hiring more people abroad as the company prepares to embark on a new round of restructuring, in a move that will save cash and bolster research and development.

About 4,700 positions are listed for international jobs or internships, compared with around 2,500 in the U.S., on the Palo Alto, California-based company's website. That's in line with Hewlett-Packard's own business, which gets about 65 percent of its sales overseas. It also indicates the future of Hewlett-Packard’s employment strategy, with more people being hired abroad in faster-growing markets as the company seeks savings of around $1 billion through restructuring and the potential for an additional $2 billion in cost cuts from trimming the services business.

"We have to have a cost structure that allows us to compete," Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "We needed to take more people out of the enterprise services group because of the change the IT outsourcing market, so that is one place which will over time have less people. But we hope we'll have more people in security, big data and the transformation area to a hybrid environment."

A few locations stand out, based on open positions, forming a set of regional hubs. These include well-established places such as the U.K. (about 250 jobs) and India (1,400), as well as emerging ones such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil.

"Emerging markets tend to be faster growth markets than the United States," Whitman explained. "We need to have people where we are going to grow."

Photographer: Graham Crouch

Hiring more people in emerging markets — India, China, the Philippines, Latin America and other places — also helps to keep costs down, letting Hewlett-Packard compete with other providers "from IBM to Huawei, from EMC to Lenovo," Whitman said.

These regional hubs will become more important as Hewlett-Packard's reshapes its workforce. A restructuring program that started in 2012 will eliminate about 55,000 jobs. While it's not clear how the hires and fires will be divided between HP Inc. and HP Enterprise once the company separates under a planned split this year, the services business (part of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise) will be mostly affected. 

"There might be a slight movement to more locations outside the U.S.," Whitman said. This is already evident in Hewlett-Packard's troubled services business, which has been "exiting high cost labor in high cost countries," according to Mike Nefkens, head of enterprise services.

"We have aggressively done that," Nefkens said.

It’s not all just cuts, though. Hewlett-Packard conducts a lot of research outside the U.S., particularly in China, India, Bulgaria and Costa Rica. That helps to attract talented, loyal engineers, since the company is often the only major Western technology company hiring for cutting-edge R&D positions in these regions.

"That’s a part of what we can do as a big company," Whitman said. "We can attract the very top talent from what I would call secondary markets."

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