Careers: What's it really like inside - IBM

Are IBM marketers computer nerds?

Didn't you know that geek chic is in? Like all self-respecting marketers we're up with the trends. You might find the odd one of us with a pen-protector in our pocket, but most of us are everyday marketing folk.

What is the main marketing challenge you face?

Making sure people know we don't just do computers and that IBM is focused on innovation and helping businesses transform to meet today's market and customer needs.

Is there a dress code?

You could wear anything from a gorilla costume to your Sunday best.

In the office it's generally business casual and when visiting clients we tend to mirror their dress code.

What are the hours like?

Many of us work in teams with colleagues across the world, so occasionally you'll have a conference call start at 7am or end at midnight, but most of us work standard hours in the office, or vary the hours if we're working from home. As long as the work gets done, IBM is very flexible.

What's it like for training and career progression?

We put together individual development plans based on discussions with our management about where we want to take our careers and the support we need to get there. Training can range from traditional or virtual 'classroom'-style courses to on-the-job training, occasional international assignments or working with our agency partners.

What about salary and benefits?

They are linked to both the company's performance and your own contribution.

We also have a recently refreshed benefits package and stock ownership schemes. Our benefits and discounts cover everything from computers and software to magazines and phones, home insurance to helicopter lessons.

Any downsides?

'Vanessa Mae shoulder' due to holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder while typing on a laptop for long periods. Conference calls are inevitable, so it's either that or Madonna headset time.

Anything interesting about your office in terms of decoration?

Many of us work both from home and in a range of offices in different locations, some with 'so retro it's back again' brown carpets and similar colour schemes, through to glass and chrome open-plan loveliness.

CAREERFILE

- IBM UK has about 20,000 employees.

- IBM's UK adspend in 2004 was just over £20.2m, according to Nielsen Media Research.

- The company's UK general manager is Larry Hirst. Brendan Dineen is director of marketing for UK, Ireland and South Africa.

- IBM UK's headquarters are at PO Box 41, North Harbour, Portsmouth PO6 3AU.

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