SOME local staff at Hewlett-Packard are concerned about their jobs after the technology giant splits into two listed companies.

The United States company on Monday said it would separate its computer and printer businesses from its faster-growing corporate hardware and services operations, cutting 5,000 jobs worldwide in the process.

This comes after earlier HP announcements that 50,000 jobs would go.

The firm's Singapore office declined to comment on how the split would affect operations and jobs here. The uncertainty has caused some jitters among local staff of the company.

A 34-year-old employee in the finance department, who wanted to be known only as Adrian, told The Straits Times: "The announcement painted a broad picture, but we are still hanging in terms of where any cuts will be - which country, which business segments. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen."

Employees at the HP facility in Alexandra Technopark said they learnt of the move through news reports and a company-wide conference call yesterday morning.

They also noted that some staff here have been retrenched over the past two years.

A major restructuring of HP's operations would have consequences here given that the US firm is one of the earliest and largest multinational investors in Singapore.

It began here with a humble office in 1970 employing 62 staff, but now has an estimated headcount of about 8,000 and various properties, including a design centre, a research and development facility and factories in Depot Road and Tuas.

Its employees over the years have included former home affairs minister Wong Kan Seng, former Singapore Airlines, SingTel and DBS Bank chairman Koh Boon Hwee, and Venture Corp's chief executive Wong Ngit Liong and chief information officer Han Jok Kwang.

Mr Han, who is president of the HP Singapore Alumni, noted that the firm has contributed a lot to the development of Singaporean talent over the decades, many of whom have moved on to become corporate managers and successful entrepreneurs. Much of this is due to HP's belief in developing talent, he said.

"In my time there, I was allowed to switch to a new function every two years or so. Within 10 years, I benefited from working in five different roles. I started as a technical programmer and left as a manager in a business unit involved in sales and marketing."

Data Terminator founder and managing director David Ong, who left HP in 2007 after 20 years to start his own company, said HP was always good at motivating employees to do their best.

"Once you are in, they take on that responsibility to make it happen. You may be hired as a technician but it will be a role that will help you transition to a bigger engineering position, and further up the ladder," he said.

Mr Ong started as a technician and climbed the ranks to become an engineer. He then moved into business development, became the marketing manager of HP's imaging and printing group for South- east Asia, and then rose to become general manager of the same division for emerging countries.

Former HP engineer Stephen Ng, now the Singapore chief executive of financial service firm China International Capital, said: "HP's vision and culture enables the company to attract talent and it provides the environment to further develop those talent."