So apparently we interpret the data differently, but we agree on one fact: IT offshoring is a highly controversial topic. Emotions run high on the topic, especially among workers whose livelihood is threatened by offshoring.
As if to invite more controversy, the professor states what he believes is one of the reasons for offshoring:
There are not enough people with the appropriate skills in the [domestic] marketplace, he says. So to me, if youre an IS executive and you have demand for resources and they dont exist here, youve got to get it from someplace.
His statement defines one side of the core disagreement. On one hand, Ive heard numerous execs say they cant find the talent here, and conversely, Ive heard countless tech workers says this is just an excuse to undercut wages, that the talent is here, its just cheaper to hire it from India.
Luftman is well aware that IT workers dont want to hear that sufficient talent cant be found among US ranks.
Thats controversial because youre going to have people say, Gee, Ive been in IT for 10-15 years and Ive been out of work for a year. And the answer is: What have they done, what are the skills they offer? Those people might have very good technical skills, but those skills might not be the specific technical skills that a company is looking for.
More and more, he says in a view strongly correlated by tech hiring agents IT department want workers who are well rounded. They want business and interpersonal skills.
If you look at the skills that companies are looking for, for entry level positions as well as mid level positions, technical skills arent high on the list. Its as if technical skills are a given, and now, according to the SIM survey, employers want strong written and oral communication, critical thinking, creativity and innovation, project leadership, and good collaborative skills.
But this list of skills muddies the core argument about offshoring. The US customers who buy IT services from overseas arent looking for creative problem solving or good oral communication. Theyre looking for the lowest possible price for competent work. Inarguably, US buyers are willing to put up with weak communication skills and cultural cluelessness to shave 25 percent off the price of a development job.
So the debate rages. The offshoring of IT is driven either by 1) the lack of talent in the US, or 2) profit-driven execs who are eager to look overseas to save money.
Or, depending on how you look at the SIM 2008 survey, perhaps offshoring is essentially insignificant, a fledging trend thats too small to be concerned about.
Whats your view? Comment below.