Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Offshoring: Yea or Nay?

The globalization of increasingly high-skilled jobs is one of the main big-picture job issues affecting Generation Debt. Here's an interesting exchange between an Indian entrepreneur and a high-tech union organizer, Marcus Courtney of Washtech, who I quote in my book.

Soota: Globalization and technology enable every nation to sell globally and source globally. This is not without transitional pain. The pain is equal for a small retailer in India edged out by a global giant and an American whose programming job may go to Bangalore.

But no nation is as well-equipped to take advantage of the emergent phenomena as the United States, because it is a champion of free markets and has a large immigrant workforce with global connections. And Americans are by nature more adaptive, a strength that provides timeless resilience.

Courtney: But there are consequences for that shift. The drivers of the global economy are focused on lowering wages and benefits of U.S. employees. Our high-tech industry has seen little job growth in the more than four years since the recession. If outsourcing is so great, why aren't more jobs being created?


Rob Anderson said...

Speaking as someone whose excellent job with one of the ten biggest software firms in the world was off-shored less than six months after I started, I must that I am used to Indian propagandists spouting tripe about the "transitioning global economy." A lost job is a lost job. Certain support jobs, such as network-level IT and technical writing (my profession) are simply disappearing from the United States. It's a slow motion disaster.

Incidentally, I caught your interview with Salon today, and your letter in response to the other letters. Well said.

Anonymous said...

For better or worse, many businesses are starting to learn that offshoring will not save them much money. This is especially true since people in other countries are now demanding hugher and higher salaries.

It sucks that many US companies are offshoring, but, due to increased offshoring costs, this trend may soon reverse, and some jobs may come back to the US.

Anonymous said...

I posted about this a while ago: http://www.mooreds.com/weblog/archives/000047.html

It's a hard situation, and most of the advice I've seen is to move up the food chain. In the case of programmers, don't just be a coder, but understand the business and higher level development (like architecture). I think this is a good idea, but in my experience, you have to start off coding first before you can deal with some of the higher level stuff. That means that by depriving workers of being 'mere' coders, we're cutting off the younger workers who won't have a chance to grow into larger roles.

On the other hand, check out this article by Salon, where we see a company that has American employees but just could not have survived without Indian programmers: http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2004/04/01/collabnet/