IBM in the United Kingdom and South Korea. Essay Example

Published: 2023-02-15
IBM in the United Kingdom and South Korea. Essay Example
Type of paper:  Term paper
Categories:  Company Branding Asia Europe
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1757 words
15 min read

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American company with its headquarters in New York. The corporation is a multinational information technology firm operating in more than 170 countries globally, including the United Kingdom and South Korea. The main products and services offered by the corporation include computer software, hardware, middleware and consulting and hosting services. IBM in the UK is a massive entity with various subsidiaries to meet the technological needs of the British. It has four branches amongst them Bristol, Bedfont, Cambridge, and Belfast. In this scenario, the comparative analysis will focus on Bristol. IBM in South Korea is a single entity based in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul.

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IBM in Bristol, UK

IBM in the UK provides information technology services, including integrated communication, infrastructure outsourcing, business analytics and optimization, security, risk management services, and data mobility. IBM UK and its branches have a wide range of operations to sufficiently cover the needs of the clients as a single entity. The popular categories include accounting, IT operations, human resource, customer service, marketing, management, software development, information design and documentation, project management, and installation and maintenance (IBM UK). Each of the department constitutes of many employees, with each having specific roles and duties.

IBM has more than 21,000 employees working in the four branches (IBM UK). Notably, the company has approximately 125 offices and creates sales amounting to around PS6 billion. For the past two years, the management has been trying to expand the service platform as well as becoming more dynamic. Based on a review conducted by the company, the employees have a relaxed attitude since it addresses them casually. The company promotes a culture of openness, and 76% of the staff revealed to be treated fairly and equally irrespective of their position within the company. IBM in Bristol offers employees equal opportunities for growth and development regardless of gender. Women who have served for more than five years have a chance of service as part-time workers to take care of their families without a downgrade of their job. The subsidiary aligns to the IBM UK work policies and practices including the maternal and paternal leaves.

The salaries of the employees vary depending on performance and other variable components related to compensation. IBM UK operates as a single entity, and therefore, the compensation strategy and structure is uniform throughout the subsidiaries. Based on a review including more than 600 employees in the UK, the salaries of the popular jobs were estimated. The following is a general overview of the average wages of the employees within the UK regardless of their job locations, including those in IBM Bristol (IBM UK - Salaries).

IBM in Bristol is likely to face economic challenges due to the slowed economic growth experienced in the UK. According to an economic review, growth has slowed down since the 2016 Brexit referendum. For instance, in 2018, the GDP grew by just 1.4%, which is less than the growth experienced in 2017 (1.7%) (The economic context of the United Kingdom). The slowed growth has been impacted by the enormous uncertainties of the Brexit negotiations and the future of the country. The Brexit negotiations also have implications on the political environment for the business. The political environment includes the political system that would affect the stability of a company. It also extends to tax laws and trade policies of an industry. Brexit created a hazardous political environment for businesses due to the turbulences of uncertainties (Hilton). The unfavorable environment is likely to continue, and therefore, IBM would face more challenges in case there are no improvements regarding the Brexit negotiations.

IBM in South Korea

IBM in South Korea provides e-business and information technology products and services. The most common products offered include information technology financing and consulting, integration systems, servers, outsourcing services, computer software, and hardware and storage services. The subsidiary was formed in 1967 and had 2,350 employees (IBM South Korea). The subsidiary has a wide range of operation to meet the diverse needs of the clients. Similar to the other subsidiary organizations in the UK, the branch has the following categories and departments accounting, IT operations, human resource, customer service, marketing, management, software development, information design and documentation, project management, and installation and maintenance (IBM South Korea). IBM in South Korea is a single but large entity located in Seoul. It serves the entire country.

IBM South Korean employment has faced significant challenges due to the sluggish Korean IT market. A business review by Business Korea indicated that IBM is one of the global IT giants operating in the economy to carry out downsizing policies (Jin-young). Consequently, between 2016 and 2017, approximately 8.94% of the employees were retrenched. Moreover, the salaries for the same period dropped from 155.3 billion to 144.2 billion. Therefore, the restructuring process of IBM has significantly affected the compensation of the employees since such a process seeks to promote business sustainability by establishing a steady flow of income. The salaries of the employees vary compared with those of IBM UK.

South Korea has a unique economy that prospered even at the helm of the financial crisis. For the past few years, GDP growth stagnated between 2.8% to 3.1% thereby indicating a favorable economic environment for doing business (South Korea: Economic and Political Outline). The economy has notable improvements in fiscal and monetary stimulus measures, growth in household consumption, and investments due to favorable economic policies related to taxation and trade (South Korea: Economic and Political Outline). However, the political environment in South Korea is not favorable for the business due to political conflicts, lack of leadership, high levels of corruption, poor governance, lack of consensus on major issues and volatile public opinion (Roy). Therefore, IBM South Korea may experience challenges whenever political instabilities rise, thereby affecting their operations.

Living Conditions in the IBM Cities

IBM Bristol is located in No. 1 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol City. Bristol is a middle-sized town and one of the best places for living. It has access to efficient transport, residential areas, sports facilities, education centers, a stable internet connection, and the entertainment industry. The median age of the inhabitants is 33 years compared to other regions in Wales and England which are 40 ( Therefore, Bristol is a favorable residential area with access to the majority of human needs.

Transportation into the workplace is a concern in most of working environments since workers have to travel each day to and from the business premises. There are many mediums of transport that IBM workers in Bristol can use, including road, train and even air. Transportation by train appears as the most effective alternative since the nearest British Rail station is located near British Temple Meads which is adjacent to the IBM office. Therefore, it would be easy to use the railway rather than by care because there is limited parking lot around the offices. Moreover, trains are faster than cars within the city. Air transport is also an option. However, one would need a taxi to connect to the airport, which makes transport expenses high.

Life at Bristol is cheaper compared to the rest of the residential areas such as London. For instance, house price in Bristol is around PS274,361 while in London it is PS481,200 (O'Malley). Bristol is an awesome place due to the high range of hip restaurants and hip cafes. It has many world's best festivals with tons of parks, great music scenes, epic nightlife, globally known educational institutions, and green spaces amongst others. Notably, Startup Cities Index 2015 ranks the city as the best city for entrepreneurs, top EU's Green Capital, and the best place to live in Britain. Therefore, it is a fantastic place for living and working.

Based on the internet information and reports, I can suggest that Bristol city is a desirable place for habitation. There is access to education, healthcare, government services, and entertainment hubs to support a young family. I will have an easy time to commute from home to the place of work and back. I can take my kids to school before I board a train to the workplace since there are surrounding schools. I will help my children adjust to life in the city by collaborating with their educators so that we might offer them a smooth transition into the education system. As such, I would be creating more time for them as well as tour them in the city to assist them in adapting to Bristol life.

Yeongdeungpo is a district based in southwest Seoul in South Korea. IBM Korea is located in this region which is highly regarded as an administrative district. The district has a population of approximately 403,600 inhabitants where the majority of them are natives (Yeongdeungpo-gu Population Profile). The area is a business center, although financial institutions dominate it. Notably, Seoul has more than 290 head offices of which 91 are based in Yeongdeungpo (Yeouido International Financial Center Seoul). Therefore, the huge business base and the presence of giant companies within the locality proves that Yeongdeungpo has a favorable business environment for firms like IBM to prosper.

Based on the Expat Arrivals website with many reviews, life in Seoul is well explained. Korean employers have the practice of arranging accommodation for their expatriates, ideally in the suburbs and areas around. The residential neighborhoods are well furnished. The crime rates in the city are relatively low, although the apartments are expensive. The local communities are friendly, the city is a wealth of opportunities, and the cost of living is cheap unless an expatriate moves to the high-end residential areas. Additionally, there is access to essential facilities such as education, healthcare, entertainment spots, and transport network.

Adaptation to life in this city would take some time for various reasons. First, car transport is the most common method of transportation to and from work. Consequently, road congestions are frequent; hence, delays are unavoidable. Secondly, road transport is slow compared to the train or air transport found in Bristol, which is faster. Third, although education centers are accessible, South Koreans speak in Hangul as their first language. Therefore, my family and I might experience communication problems since learning another foreign language is a challenge, although some South Koreans are fluent in English.


An evaluation of the comparative analysis of the two subsidiaries IBM companies proves that IBM Bristol is more favorable for an expatriate than IBM South Korea. Although the two branches offer the same services, including the positions, I would prefer IBM Bristol. First, the salary is slightly high compared to IBM South Korea, which is lower. Second, Bristol has been voted as one of the best entrepreneurial centers by the EU in Europe.

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