Lost in Translation

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Have you ever seen a set of “facts” that left you guessing? I’m there now.

I’ve been looking at some offshoring/outsourcing research, and a clear picture is emerging: There is no clear picture.

According to the Meta Group, key IT jobs are staying in the United States, and the furor about offshoring is being blown out of proportion. Meta Group also reports that only 20 percent of companies are currently sending IT work across the water. (The same survey, by the way, said you’re being paid as much as 20 percent more than non-technical personnel.)

Then there were the studies from Forrester Research and the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), cited in more depth in this issue’s cover story, “Career Strategies for the Age of Global Outsourcing,” starting on Page 16. In May 2004, Forrester projected that 830,000 positions will have moved offshore by 2005. Meanwhile, the ITAA expects that the total savings from global sourcing will climb from $6.7 billion to $20.9 billion between 2003 and 2008.

Confused yet? Don’t be: The true differentiation here is in scope. No matter in which report you place your faith, it’s clear that offshoring is happening and IT is being affected.

The Meta report sees education as the solution. Expecting a labor crisis in five to eight years, Meta Group suggests U.S. businesses do a better job making technology accessible and attracting more younger workers to IT fields.

ITAA, meanwhile, is expecting 500,000 new jobs to be created between 2003 and 2008, with half of those located stateside. Those jobs, by the way, could grow because of offshoring, under the theory that the increased savings will ripple back into domestic job creation and growth.

With me so far? Then consider these two divergent views: The American Electronics Association expects higher-end technology jobs to stay home, while lower-end work will go abroad. The New York Times, however, reported that from March to June of last year, lower-end industries, which make up 22 percent of the workforce, accounted for 44 percent of new hires.

OK, does all this mean anything? Maybe Homer Simpson was right when he said, “You can use facts to prove anything even remotely true.”

Let’s move past faceless reports. Our editors have thrown open their e-mail boxes and are ready to receive the information directly from the horses’ mouths. Has offshoring affected your career yet? Are those changes all bad? Do you expect more changes to come? What are you doing about it?

E-mail us at editor (at) certmag (dot) com. We’ll compile your opinions and share some representative samples in future issues. Even if there is no clear consensus.

Tim Sosbe

Editorial Director

tsosbe@certmag.com

 

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