ITAA: Don’t Overreact on Outsourcing
In testimony before Congress on Oct. 20, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) said, “the flow of jobs offshore is not as pervasive as policymakers and the public fear.” The ITAA recommended that rather than implement trade barriers, the United States must respond to increasing competition from abroad with a New Competitive Reality Program.
Harris N. Miller, president of ITAA, said in his testimony that a lot of IT companies are torn between competitive pricing available offshore and preserving a pool of IT talent within the United States.
“The U.S. cannot legislate or regulate its way out of this perplexing situation,” Miller said. But to do nothing, he added, “is to risk an ever-increasing number of knowledge worker jobs disappearing overseas.”
Miller explained to the House Committee on Small Business that the challenge U.S. IT software and services companies are facing is real, but the challenge is not as difficult as many “inflammatory headlines” would have you believe. A trade war in IT services would be harmful, Miller said. The real solution is in “running faster and jumping higher”—in other words, become more competitive. How? Through a collaboration between industry, academia, government and IT workers to create a New Competitive Reality Program in order to meet the challenge of making U.S.-based companies and workers more competitive in the global marketplace.
Miller said, “The trend toward offshore outsourcing is a cloud on the horizon, not a hurricane sweeping everything in its midst. We should keep our eye on how the weather pattern is changing over time, but we should not start boarding up our windows and stashing the patio furniture. The U.S. IT industry is facing new challenges, but it’s not disappearing.”
Let me add my own voice to Harris’ not-so-gloomy outlook. With recent signs that the struggling economy is starting to see a turnaround, maybe we should be looking more hopefully toward that horizon. As the economy gets better, U.S. companies may add back jobs lost to hard times.
For more information on the ITAA, go to http://www.itaa.org.
Emily Hollis is associate editor for Certification Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.