Merger's NZ layoffs to meet open arms

Despite huge layoffs worldwide, few local redundancies are expected as a result of the Compaq-Digital merger, and recruitment agencies say those that are let go should quickly find new positions. The details of what will happen in New Zealand are still a week or two away, but most in the industry feel redundancy numbers won't be high. Meanwhile, Compaq has announced its existing Asia-Pacific chief, Paul Chan, will retain his position at the merged company. Details of the new company's Australia and New Zealand top management are still in the pipeline.

Despite huge layoffs worldwide, few local redundancies are expected as a result of the Compaq-Digital merger, and recruitment agencies say those that are let go should quickly find new positions.

The merger of the two IT giants is resulting in 17,000 redundancies worldwide, about 15,000 of them coming from Digital — about 28% of its workforce — while Compaq's 2000 redundancies amount to about 6% of its worldwide workforce.

The details of what will happen in New Zealand are still a week or two away, but most in the industry feel redundancy numbers won't be high.

Digital media relations manager Hugh Scott expects most redundancies to occur in the US and Europe, where he says many organisations tend to be fatter and more heavily unionised than in New Zealand.

He says that in New Zealand both companies are very flat and very lean in numbers. Digital went through restructuring four years ago.

Staff from both companies will know restructuring details in the next week or so, after the heads of the Asia-Pacific, Australian and New Zealand operations are named. The likely location of the merged company is not known at this stage.

Recruitment agency Andrews Partners Auckland general manager Kevin Moultrie says he would be surprised if the New Zealand operations made equivalent numbers of people redundant. However, he believes any redundant workers will have little problem finding work because of the high skill sets of people from both organisations.

"Compaq and Digital are very well recognised for supplying the appropriate training and skills in both the technical and the sales environments."

Gary Collier of recruiters Candle agrees. He says Compaq and Digital have a history of employing very good, competent people and that should stand them in good stead.

He says any redundant workers coming out with networking, communications or sales-type skills would have no problems finding work, as those areas are very buoyant in New Zealand.

He also believes, because of the nature of the two organisations, that there won't be a significant number of redundancies.

Compuforce general manager Ian McTavish says there are a reasonable number of positions out in the market at present.

"Y2K has really gobbled up a lot of the people that might normally be out in the market."

Meanwhile, Compaq has announced the appointment of Paul Chan to the position of vice president and managing director for the Asia Pacific region. Chan held the position prior to Compaq's acquisition of Digital.

"Compaq aims to be the undisputed No. 1 IT solutions provider in the Asia Pacific," says Chan.

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