Skip to comments.WHERE THE GOOD JOBS ARE....
Posted on 08/01/2003 8:36:08 PM PDT by ExSoldier
Little by little, Sab Maglione could feel his job slipping away. He worked for a large insurance firm in northern New Jersey, developing the software it uses to keep track of its agents. But in mid-2001, his employer introduced him to Tata Consultancy Services, India's largest software company. About 120 Tata employees were brought in to help on a platform-conversion project. Maglione, 44, trained and managed a five-person Tata team. When one of them was named manager, he started to worry. By the end of last year, 70% of the project had been shifted to India and nearly all 20 U.S. workers, including Maglione, were laid off.
Since then, Maglione has been able to find only temporary work in his field, taking a pay cut of nearly 30% from his former salary of $77,000. For a family and mortgage, he says, "that doesn't pay the bills." Worried about utility costs, he runs after his two children, 11 and 7, to turn off the lights. And he has considered a new career as a house painter. "It doesn't require that much skill, and I don't have to go to school for it," Maglione says. And houses, at least, can't be painted from overseas.
Jobs that stay put are becoming a lot harder to find these days. U.S. companies are expected to send 3.3 million jobs overseas in the next 12 years, primarily to India, according to a study by Forrester Research. If you've ever called Dell about a sick PC or American Express about an error on your bill, you have already bumped the tip of this "offshore outsourcing" iceberg. The friendly voice that answered your questions was probably a customer-service rep in Bangalore or New Delhi. Those relatively low-skilled jobs were the first to go, starting in 1997.
But more and more of the jobs that are moving abroad today are highly skilled and highly paid the type that U.S. workers assumed would always remain at home. Instead Maglione is one of thousands of Americans adjusting to the unsettling new reality of work. "If I can get another three years in this industry, I'll be fortunate," he says. Businesses are embracing offshore outsourcing in their drive to stay competitive, and almost any company, whether in manufacturing or services, can find some part of its work that can be done off site. By taking advantage of lower wages overseas, U.S. managers believe they can cut their overall costs 25% to 40% while building a more secure, more focused work force in the U.S. Labor leaders and nonunion workers, who make up most of those being displaced aren't buying that rationale. "How can America be competitive in the long run sending over the very best jobs?" asks Marcus Courtney, president of the Seattle-based Washington Alliance of Technology Workers. "I don't see how that helps the middle class."
On the other side of the world, though, educated Indian workers are quickly adjusting to their new status as the world's most sought-after employees. They have never been more confident and optimistic as Americans usually like to think of themselves. For now, at least, in ways both tangible and emotional, educated Americans and Indians are trading places.
Uma Satheesh, 32, an employee of Wipro, one of India's leading outsourcing companies, is among her country's new elite. She manages 38 people who work for Hewlett-Packard's enterprise-servers group doing maintenance, fixing defects and enhancing the networking software developed by HP for its clients. Her unit includes more than 300 people who work for HP, about 90 of whom were added last November when HP went through a round of cost-cutting.
"We've been associated with HP for a long time, so it was an emotional thing," Satheesh says. "It was kind of a mixed feeling. But that is happening at all the companies, and it's going to continue." Satheesh says that five years ago, computer-science graduates had one career option in India: routine, mind-numbing computer programming. Anything more rewarding required emigrating. "Until three years ago, the first preference was to go overseas," she says. Nowadays her colleagues are interested only in business trips to the U.S. "People are pretty comfortable with the jobs here and the pay here"--not to mention the cars and houses that once seemed out of reach. Employees in her group earn from $5,200 a year to $36,000 for the most experienced managers.
And as American companies have grown more familiar with their Indian outsourcing partners, they have steadily increased the complexity of work they are willing to hand over. Rajeshwari Rangarajan, 28, leads a team of seven Wipro workers enhancing the intranet site on which Lehman Brothers employees manage personal benefits like their 401(k) accounts. "I see myself growing with every project that I do here," Rangarajan says. "I really don't have any doubts about the growth of my career."
Her experience with a leading brokerage will probably help. Financial-services companies in the U.S. are expected to move more than 500,000 jobs overseas in the next five years, according to a survey by management consultant A.T. Kearney, and India is by far the top destination. U.S. banks, insurance firms and mortgage companies have been using outsourcing to handle tech support for years. Now these firms are using Indian workers to handle the business operations say, assessing loan applications and credit checks that the technology supports. Kumar Mahadeva, CEO of the thriving outsourcing firm Cognizant, explains the appeal: "It becomes logical for them to say, 'Hey, you know everything about the way we do claims processing. Why not take a piece of it?'"
The next logical step, says Andrea Bierce, a co-author of the A.T. Kearney study, is jobs that require more complex financial skills such as equity research and analysis or market research for developing new business. Evalueserve, a niche outsourcing company in Delhi, already performs research for patent attorneys and consulting firms in the U.S. In April, J.P. Morgan Chase said it would hire about 40 stock-research analysts in Bombay about 5% of its total research staff. Novartis employs 40 statisticians in Bombay who process data from the drug company's clinical research.
But as educated workers in India are finding new opportunities, those in the U.S. feel the doors closing. Last week Bernie Lantz drove 1,400 miles from his home in Plano, Texas, to begin a new life in Utah. He is 58 years old, a bachelor, and had lived in the Dallas area for 24 years. "I'm leaving all my friends," he says with a sigh. "It's quite an upheaval." Lantz used to earn $80,000 a year as a troubleshooter for Sabre, a company based in Southlake, Texas, whose software powers airline-reservations systems. But over the past two years, Sabre has gradually standardized and has centralized its software service. As Sabre began to outsource its internal IT services, Lantz says, he became convinced that jobs like his were becoming endangered. He was laid off in December. (A company spokesman denies that Lantz's firing was related to outsourcing.)
Discouraged by a depressed job market in Dallas, Lantz realized he would have to do something else. In the fall he will begin teaching computer science at Utah State University in Logan, and in the meantime he has learned a lesson of his own: "Find a job that requires direct hands-on work on site," Lantz advises. "Anything that can be sent overseas is going to be sent overseas."
Pat Fluno, 53, of Orlando, Fla., says she, like Maglione, had to train her replacement a common practice in the domestic outsourcing industry when her data-processing unit at Germany-based Siemens was outsourced to India's Tata last year. "It's extremely insulting," she says. "The guy's sitting there doing my old job." After 10 months of looking, she is working again, but she had to take a $10,000 pay cut.
To protect domestic jobs, U.S. labor activists are pushing to limit the number of H-1B and L-1 visas granted to foreign workers. That would make it harder for offshore companies to have their employees working on site in the U.S. "Those programs were designed for a booming high-tech economy, not a busting high-tech economy," says Courtney of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers. Courtney and his allies are starting to get the attention of lawmakers. Several congressional committees have held hearings on the impact of offshore outsourcing on the U.S. economy, and lawmakers in five states have introduced bills that would limit or forbid filling government contracts through offshore outsourcing.
Stephanie Moore, a vice president of Forrester Research, says companies are concerned about the backlash but mainly because of the negative publicity. "The retail industry is very hush-hush about its offshoring," she says. But within the boardroom, such outsourcing enjoys wide support. In a June survey of 1,000 firms by Gartner Research, 80% said the backlash would have no effect on their plans.
The advantages, businesses say, are just too great to ignore. They begin with cost but don't end there. Jennifer Cotteleer, vice president of Phase Forward, a Waltham, Mass., company that designs software for measuring clinical-trials data for drug companies, has for the past two years used offshore employees from Cognizant to customize the application for specific drug trials. Lately she has been relying on their expertise to develop even more-tailored programming. "I certainly couldn't have grown this fast without them," Cotteleer says. Her company is growing 30% annually, on track to reach $65 million in revenue this year. "What I've been able to do in very tough economic times is manage very directly to my margins," she says. "I'm providing job security for the workers I do have."
Creative use of offshore outsourcing, says Debashish Sinha of Gartner Research, offers benefits that outweigh the direct loss of jobs. In an economy that has shed 2 million jobs over two years, he contends, the 200,000 that have moved overseas are less significant than the potential for cost savings and strategic growth. But he concedes that "when you're a laid-off employee who can't find a job, that's hard to understand."
Perhaps some will follow the example of Dick Taggart, 41, of Old Greenwich, Conn. After 18 years in financial services, most recently at J.P. Morgan Chase, he now works for Progeon, an affiliate of the Indian outsourcing giant Infosys, as its man on Wall Street. One week out of every six or seven, he takes securities firms to India to show them the savings that are possible. He knows the transition is painful for the workers left behind, but he has seen it before.
"It was the same thing when we moved from Wall Street to New Jersey and then to Dallas," he says.
"Guess what? This is next."
Globalism infects both major parties and most of the left wing minor parties. You can't really identify any more as either Republican or Democrat, I fear. I have been a Republican as long as I've been a voter, near to thirty years....and I'm only now making this as a public pronouncement. The time is rapidly coming when you're going to have to identify as a Constitutionalist and be willing to DIE to prove it, or you just let that little bar code be inserted under the skin of your arm and forehead. I'm not being "Chicken Little" here, either! This is not even the "beginning." In fact, we're rather near the "end game," as it were. I only hope the rest of America wakes up enough in time to stave the inevitable off, at least (I selfishly state) for the remainder of my lifetime and for that of my children. The end is a foregone, Biblically foretold conclusion.
Everything else seems to flow from this especially the issue of Gun Control and the United Nations, because this is the major end product of all of that. Time to choose.
While this isn't strictly a BANG type item, it does tie in with our cause, would you not agree?
I could go on but other threads have documented many many more abuses.
For the rest of you a ping. Anyone who wants on or off my ping list let me know.
Get ready to live in a mud hut or a gated community if you are a CEO. Of course the one thing that can not happen is to allow the the new peasents to be armed.
I support the war on terror. Americans trust in government in such perilous times. Lousy economy makes them seek refuge in "government" via welfare and government employment schemes (socialism). Meanwhile the ruling class takes advantage of this fear, upheaval to become richer.
Another plus for the ruling class is military retention and recruitment become much easier when the economy sucks. Thus easier to make war and rally the American people to your side.
Well, ok. I just pinged y'all, I didn't also post this to the list....did I? I realize that list is crowded already. If anybody keeps a "PING" list for UN stuff, please put me on it!
I am presuming you want on my economy/offshoring/OPIC/H1B ping list unless you state otherwise.
He may or may not realize that Elvis is dead also..
(LOL! Harpseal, at this point, I think even animal and plant life realizes that this is one of your hot button issues! The sun rises in the east, and harpseal is a hawk on "outsourcing" Two constants you can depend on.)
Well I may be a little bit more of a hawk on the Right to Keep and bear Arms.
Well said. Post of the day material!
Push THAT button too far, and the response will not be letters-to-the-editor.
This line get's me of all.
Some here just say that those 3 million will just have to retrain.
There needs to be fields open to retrain to! And if you retrain to a manufacturing education, ther eneeds to be jobs first, and those jobs were leaving years before IT was leaving!!
Makes me sick, I am going to drive a truck!