Friday, September 3, 2010

The Great Job Heist... Offshoring

Special note: If you are visiting for the first time, or popping over from Karen's Labor Day blog party – welcome! If you are a regular visitor, I’d love to know how you like my new blog design. As always, thanks for reading.

call center

It started with the call center.

Corporations learned that they could take advantage of cheap labor pools overseas for lower skilled jobs. Before we knew it, it was rare to call a customer support number that didn’t land us in India.

It made sense. With constant pressure to improve profitability, companies needed to reduce expenses, and labor is a top expense. Having the ability to leverage cheaper skills gives the company flexibility and options in a tough economy.

But it didn’t stop with the call center.

In the past few years we have seen more highly skilled jobs moving overseas. Computer programmers, engineers, and accountants are just some of the professionals who have lost their jobs to offshoring. Some employees have even had the unenviable task of having to document their roles in detail, just so their jobs can be eliminated. Worse yet, some employees have had to train the overseas organizations that were taking over their roles, getting the pink slip upon completion.

Jobs in the IT industry appear to be among the most at risk.

The Times of India recently reported that IBM was now the country’s second largest employer. In 2007, IBM had 73,000 employees in India, a 43% increase from 2006. The Wall Street Journal estimates that IBM’s workforce in India could be as high as 100,000 today.

Earlier this year, IBM stopped reporting the number of employees by country, making it extremely difficult to know how many jobs are left in the United States. Nevertheless, data as recent as last fall suggests that of IBM’s reported 400,000 workforce at the end of 2009, only 105,000 jobs remained in the United States. It appears that soon – possibly very soon – IBM will employ fewer people in the US than in India.

Is your job safe from offshoring? I don’t think so. As long as there is someone willing to do the same work for less money, corporations will continue to look for ways to move jobs elsewhere.

The Institute for Policy Studies released a report this week that says, “CEOs of the 50 firms that have laid off the most workers since the onset of the economic crisis took home 42 percent more pay in 2009 than their peers.” This data clearly demonstrates how the CEO’s responsibility to their shareholders and their responsibility to their employees are in conflict.

Where has your job gone? And what message would you like to send to these CEOs?

Photo by Vitor Lima

36 comments:

Jayne said...

Hello - I came by via Karen G's blog party, and noticed I am now follower 'fifty' on your blog. :)

Love the title of this blog. As for jobs - I was a freelance writer and it became so much harder with the recession as all the jobs once out-sourced went in-house. I also noticed job ads would suddenly ask for one person to do everything (for the same money may I add!) - writer, editor, marketing, software programming - rather than before when these were seperate jobs. Talk about multi-tasking! So I decided to get a full-time job asap and leave those turbalent freelance waters behind.

Anonymous said...

My message for CEOs - please try to get the balance right between short and long term objectives.

Ensure you have policies including maintaining a work-force in country which will encourage customers to come to your company in future years.

At the risk of stating the obvious, if the only professionals who actually deliver stuff are off-shore, what's stopping customers going off-shore with their business.

Thanks for the blog - it always brightens my Friday

Peter

Colette said...

Jayne, yippee! Fifty has been eluding me for the last couple of weeks. Thanks for coming and following. I will be sure to check out your blog as well!

Peter, terrific suggestions! Yes, I fear there are potential long term consequences to this strategy.

One Womans Eye said...

I read that study matching most layoffs with highest paid CEOs and it infuriated me! They've contributed to the high unemployment rate and are compensated handsomely as a reward. Yet the blame on the high unemployment situation continues to point to the White House.

That said...I like the new design. Really pops!

Lisa said...

Hopping in from KarenG's BBQ hop. Have a great weekend!

Colette said...

Joanne, thanks for the feedback on my new design. Yes - the White House - I figure pretty soon the only people with jobs are going to be those that work for the government.

Lisa, welcome!

Anonymous said...

On the new design. Personally I like simple. Too much baggage distracts from the content, takes longer to load and makes my browser 'jumpy' until everything gets loaded. More is not always better unless we are talking about $, and even then a job is not always about money.

IBM gets 'around' the whole offshoring thing by saying it is a global company and that it's customers want local staff and developers. That I can understand but then they end up with teams that are spread half way around the world. Not quite sure how that makes them more productive, given the language and time differences and all.

As for offshoring my job, go ahead. I am sure they could find a half dozen people in foreign lands whose collective knowledge and experience equaled mine. They might even come out ahead financially but you know what? No one would really notice, things would just go on as always.
As for me. I'd farm pigs if it paid as much, probably less shit involved too!

Posted anonymously for obvious reasons!

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Colette, I remember my old company outsourcing programming projects to someplace in Russia. And we had to send software and equipment over to boot, and hello, it was a little Russian mafia-esque. Bottom line, we had to do the work over, because it's really hard for overseas worker's to get the concept of how to handle problems creatively. Most times those worker's are taught and educated in the concept of "black and white", which is not really how the technical field works.

Thanks for bringing the topic up!

Julie Musil said...

Hi Colette. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Karen's party is such fun!

Colette said...

Meg, so true -- I think the full impact of these programs hasn't caught up with us yet.

Julie, thanks for visiting!

Shellie said...

Hi Colette,

I work in the medical field which really can't be outsource to a foreign country. No, what they do is fly in foreign workers and pay them at lower scale. That's right, it makes it difficult to demand higher wages when they can replace you with the purchase of an airline ticket. Yikes, business is scary.

Great looking blog, BTW. Thanks for dropping in today. I look forward to visiting you often.

Colette said...

Shellie, funny -- I was thinking that medical providers (nurses, doctors, home health workers) would be careers that were safer than most. I hadn't thought about flying workers in -- that's scary!

KarenG said...

Your new blog design is so snazzy and jazzy, is this the same Colette from the corporate world or some spicy new version? Anyway, I like it!

KarenG said...

Oh yes and it cracks me up when some dude with a VERY thick Indian accent introduces himself on the phone as "Tom."

Colette said...

Karen, you're cracking me up.

I was actually trying to stick to a somewhat conservative blog design with the blue argyle. Too snazzy?

Liza said...

Hey Collette,

Thanks for popping over to Middle Passages. Yep, I was a victim of corporate cost cutting and yes, I could have a lot to say here...but I'll keep it to this. To supplement my freelance writing career and another fledgling business, I now have a part-time hourly-paying job for a family-owned company that prefers to source almost all of their product in the US. Somehow, that feels just right.

Clarissa Draper said...

Great blog. I'm a follower now from Karen's blog BBQ.

Clarissa Draper from Listen To The Voices

Carolyn V. said...

Hi Colette! I'm so excited to follow your blog! Even though I never saw your old design, the new one is fabulous. =)

Lynda Young said...

Visiting for Karen's BBQ blog party :) I didn't get the chance to see your old blog design, but I like the current one. Easy to read and welcoming :)

I used to work in corporate world in Australia. Long hours. I burnt out. I ended up accepting a voluntary redundancy... and now I write! Best thing that ever happened ;)

Jennie Bailey said...

Just popping over from KarenG's. This is very scary! I have a nonprofit so my job won't be outsourced, luckily. My husband is a pharmacist so his won't either. I worked briefly in the "corporate" world (for Warner Brothers and then Disney - hence the quotes because I'm not sure they really qualify as corporate corporate, if you know what I mean) and would never go back. My friends that do work corporate either love it or hate it. There doesn't seem to be an inbetween. It's very unnerving to think of how many jobs are going overseas.

I love your blog look, though I didn't see the old one so I can't compare!

Carol Kilgore said...

Thanks for visiting Under the Tiki Hut. Karen's party is a hit! Have a wonderful weekend.

Talli Roland said...

A new follower from Karen's blog!

I thankfully escaped corporate America (or Canada!) a few years ago. I must say I've never really looked back!

Linda Pelekoudas said...

Colette I love the way you keep us thinking about the impact this has all had! Keep up the good work.

It only took 8 months for me to train my replacement. And to my last day he called to beg me to walk him through the last deal reparation one more time - Can you find the database, the documents, can you open the attachments - then you have everything you need. Really!!!

IBM is not the only one and I have one regret - that I helped them win outsourcing deals. I have lived and learned.

Now 1.5 years into creating a new normal Strategy and Design Solutions is beginning to have the success we envisioned. I am proud to be part of creating a new normal and have a clear focus on creating new jobs for professionals left in the wake of a global redistribution of demand for skilled labor.

SteveB said...

New design is very attractive, but remember when given choices, always bias toward simplicity.

Anon_e_mouse said...

Ah, the joys of outsourcing... that's why I have spent over three of the past six years unemployed. Of course, it doesn't help when a US government agency - USAID (US Agency for International Development), headed by Dr. Rajiv Shah, announced grants last month of millions of dollars to the governments of Sri Lanka and Armenia to train workers in IT skills so they can become more effective outsourcers and take more American jobs away... our tax dollars at work.

As to the new blog design... let's just say that it's not easy on older eyes. Trifocals and dazzling diamonds just don't get along...

Colette said...

Thanks to all my new visitors! It's so cool to see so many comments on this post!

It's amazing how many people "used to" work in a large corporation.

Thanks to everyone for your feedback on the blog design -- and thanks to those for their honesty and hints that the background may be too busy. I'll see if I can tone it down a bit.

Nicole MacDonald said...

Ugh I really dislike it when companies do this. Here in NZ lots of people are boycotting Fisher n Paykel for doing this *bleah* I actually just popped over from Karen's BBQ, nice to meet you :)

http://damselinadirtydress.blogspot.com

Brenda Drake said...

Stopping by from KarenG's BBQ blogfest. Nice to meet you! :D

Jennifer Shirk said...

Hey, thanks for visiting from Karen's BBQ!

I'm a SAHM now, but my old job (pharmacist) is just one of those recession proof type of jobs, I guess. I still get job offers even though I'm not looking.

Colette said...

Welcome to more new friends!

Based on the template feedback, I kept the new structure, but have now chosen a simpler background (hopefully easier on the eyes) and made a few fonts a bit darker where I could (yeah, my old eyes need that too!)

Kaitlyn said...

Hi! Just stopping by from the BBQ and wanted to say hello. I'm your newest follower =D

-Kaitlyn
http://nocturnalreadings.blogspot.com

Talei said...

Hello, am over from Karens BBQ party too - its been amazing! Lovely to meet you!

KarenG said...

Came back to say hi and thanks for participating in the BBQ! Yes I like this background very much. It seems to fit with your persona more, classy yet with a bit of oomph. Anyway, that's how I see you LOL.

Jen said...

I'm visiting from over at Karen G's blog for the BBQ and now have become a new follower! I love your blog layout!

Saying things to CEO's is tough, I can see both positives and negatives in certain companies. For mine I understand why they did what they did, but there are other companies that I wish would listen to the employee's more, sometimes they know better.

Colette said...

Jen, welcome!

Liz Fichera said...

Hi Colette, Nice to meet you too! Dropped by from the Virtual BBQ.