Is IT Offshoring an Overhyped Myth?: Page 2


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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 you’re an IS executive and you have demand for resources and they don’t exist here, you’ve got to get it from someplace.”

His statement defines one side of the core disagreement. On one hand, I’ve heard numerous execs say they can’t find the talent here, and conversely, I’ve heard countless tech workers says this is just an excuse to undercut wages, that the talent is here, it’s just cheaper to hire it from India.

Luftman is well aware that IT workers don’t want to hear that sufficient talent can’t be found among US ranks.

“That’s controversial because you’re going to have people say, ‘Gee, I’ve been in IT for 10-15 years and I’ve 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 aren’t high on the list.” It’s 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 aren’t looking for creative problem solving or good oral communication. They’re 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 that’s too small to be concerned about.

What’s your view? Comment below.

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Tags: software, management, outsourcing, Enterprise, offshoring IT

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