IBM spinoff Kyndryl looking to hire hundreds for new Montreal hub

The 350 new hires over the next five years will join the 150 employees already working for the company in the city.

A new name in tech is expanding in Montreal.
Kyndryl begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 4, 2021.Kyndryl begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 4, 2021. Courtesy Kyndryl
Kyndryl, the former managed-services business that IBM just spun off , plans to hire about 350 people in the city over the next five years to staff its new cloud innovation centre. New York-based Kyndryl expects to sign an office lease downtown before the end of the month, said Xerxes Cooper, president of the company’s Canadian unit.
IBM cut ties with Kyndryl in November after deciding to focus more on software following its US$34 billion acquisition of Red Hat two years ago. A US$19-billion business, Kyndryl has about 90,000 employees worldwide, including about 2,000 in Canada. Key customers here include airlines, banks, insurers, aerospace companies, the federal government and several provincial governments.

“This new centre is about building capability and building bilingual skills because the federal government is a very large client of ours,” Cooper, a 20-year-IBM veteran, said in an interview. “We’re going to be hiring from different demographics and partnering with universities to bring in young talent that we can train and develop.”

About 150 people already work for Kyndryl’s Montreal cloud centre, Cooper said. The company is looking to add information technology professionals with skills in cloud computing, cyber, artificial intelligence and development operations, he said.

“Our clients need the cloud architectural skills,” said Cooper. “Managing all of the systems, helping to secure those systems and helping to transform them, especially with the cloud — that’s basically our business.”

Kyndryl’s expansion drive comes as Quebec grapples with an unprecedented workforce scarcity , especially in information technology. Half of all IT professions currently face labour shortages, a trend that is likely to stretch into 2023, according to Emploi Québec projections.

Despite the ultra-competitive marketplace, Cooper is unfazed.

“We’re the largest IT service provider in this country, and that in itself is attracting a lot of talent,” he said. “Our employees like the scale. They like the fact they can be working on very complex programs. When they work for our firm, people have a chance to work on multiple industries and multiple technologies. You get a chance to build your skills.”

Kyndryl’s cloud centre will be located “within a few blocks” of Place Ville Marie, where IBM recently moved its Montreal offices, Cooper said.

“Place Ville Marie was a good hub, so this is the vicinity that we’ll be looking at,” he said. “We’re very close to making a decision.”

In keeping with the times, Kyndryl plans to emphasize a flexible work structure , with a significant remote component.

“This location is not going to have 500 desks, not even close,” said Cooper. “That’s just not a need for our people. It’s going to be a collaboration space. People are very receptive to that model. Work used to be where you put your picture on your desk, but the workplace of the future is going to look a lot different. It’s going to be smaller. The No. 1 priority is where your clients are, and what you need to do to be able to support them.”