Readers React on How Offshoring May Be Hurting IT Workers

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-09-14

Readers of the recent eWEEK article "How Offshoring May Be Hurting U.S. Technology Workers" has garnered many comments expressing a wide of range of emotional and economic anger, frustration and confusion.

Here's a look at some of the comments.

From contributor "Mike" with the subject "Per Capita Productivity":

The ugly truth no American wants to admit is that we've long been over-paid for a spectrum of worker tasks. As long as there is a task that can be done by an $8/hr Indian, then the task is only worth $8/hr, whether an Indian does it or not. If an American worker once got $80/hr for the same task, then he should have saved some of that money before the last Gravy Train left the station. There was no chance those economic profits would last forever, off-shoring or not. Competition is not just an abstraction for corporations; it applies at a per-capita level as well. Asking for protectionist policies from the gov't will not save anyone. The only thing that will save the American worker is elevating our own game -- we have to work smarter, harder, faster than our competitors, or be annihilated by them. No one is going to save you, no one will bail you out for humanitarian reasons.

In response, "Anonymous Readers" replies:

How can you blame Americans for not saving.. You cannot raise a family in America on $8 an hour unless your working 80 hour weeks. It's the fault of our politicians that jobs are being outsourced not companies. Government needs to step in and strictly outline what can and cant be done outside of America.

Another poster, "Jay Mikam" tries to set the record straight on Indian rates of pay:

Indian firms are using new graduates in IT jobs for $22.00 per hour. The average US IT worker makes far less than $80.00 per hour, more like $40-50 per hour and this rate is falling fast. US workers are called lazy as an excuse by those who can't explain what is really happening. US workers are near the tops when measured by actual productivity. And Indians who work here indicate the work environment in the US is quite hostile thanks to all of the job slashing and carnage in the works, and the job environment is much more humane in India though lower paying. They will tell you they are here for the money and thats it. The US job market will continue to be brutal until the carnage is over and there is nothing left.

Another poster, who labels himself in the post as "David Filwood, Prinicipal Consultant, Telesoft Systems," brings up the issues in how Indian call centers operate and the issue of fair trade:

While Globalization and Free Trade are here to stay - along with the potential to outsource Call Center functions to offshore, low-labor cost locations such as India - I think it's important to consider the difference between "Fair Trade" and "Free Trade".

As currently practiced, "Free Trade" means that offshore Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs) pay substantially less in taxes to compete and do business in the U.S. and Canada than North American companies do. It also means that offshore-based BPOs are free to ignore the most basic aspects of US & CDN Labor Law - for example, India's labor standards are low or non-existent. Indian Call Center Agents are treated as 21st Century 'cyber-coolies'. They work graveyard shifts - under high pressure - in work environments where liberal attitudes to sex and club drugs are encouraged and thriving. "Blacklist" data bases - containing the details of all those employed in the Indian Call Center industry have been set up - so that "negative insider elements" can be detected by employers at the recruitment stage. Workers in their hundreds are fired without so much as one cent in severance pay.

On whether offshoring saves money, poster "Dan" says:

Offshoring does not save one single broken penny to the companies that sends the work overseas. Between the umpteen layers of intermediaries that are inserted into the development chain, and the "broken telephone" syndrome where what gets produced is a vast distortion of the original work, the reduced hourly cost is wasted ten fold by having to rework and repair the terrible product arriving from India, China, Russia or the Ukraine.

What I completed with a team of onshore engineers using less than 80,000 hours has taken the equivalent ofshored engineers 1,600,000 hours to complete. So their "blended hourly rate" of $60/hr compared to ours $120/hr resulted in an expediture of nearly $100 million to do the same thing that we did onshore for 1/10th of the price.

Offshoring is a buzz that all the ignoramuses at the CIO level and above are caught in, not an economically justifiable direction, and in the process it depletes our capabilities as a nation to remain the technology leaders of the world.

Soon all the jobs that will remain here are in road construction, built from prefabricated components from China.

Want to weigh in on the debate?.

Rocket Fuel