Skip to comments.Sprint plans to send hundreds of technology jobs overseas
Posted on 08/07/2003 5:25:07 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
Hundreds of Sprint Corp. employees may lose their jobs as the Overland Park-based telecommunications giant moves forward with a plan to send certain technology jobs overseas.
Sprint chairman and chief executive Gary Forsee on Wednesday said competitive pressures had forced the company toward "offshoring" -- the growing trend of U.S. companies relying on lower-paid computer programmers as far away as India and China.
Sprint put out a request for proposals from outsourcing companies earlier this year and has since narrowed the list to two offshore vendors. Forsee said Sprint is conducting site surveys and is in "serious discussions" with the two companies.
"At the end of the day, it's several hundred jobs that could be impacted," Forsee said. "But we don't know what the ultimate result is."
A final decision on how to handle sending the jobs overseas is likely within 60 days.
Layoffs would not be immediate, Forsee said, because moving work to the outsourcing companies could take six to 12 months.
Forsee also said the company hopes to ease the impact of sending jobs overseas by moving some displaced workers to other information technology projects within Sprint and replacing existing contractors with Sprint employees.
Sprint already was considering moving jobs overseas when Forsee replaced William T. Esrey as the company's top executive earlier this year. But Forsee said he made the final decision to go ahead with the request for proposals.
Sprint already uses an offshore company for some customer service jobs. The company has outsourced information technology jobs to U.S. firms for years. But it has resisted sending information technology jobs overseas.
That has changed as Sprint, like other telecommunications companies, struggles with weak sales in what continues to be a difficult economy.
For almost two years, Sprint has been on a campaign to lower costs to compensate for soft sales. Since October 2001, more than 18,000 jobs have been eliminated. Hundreds of contractors also have lost work at Sprint.
Computer programmers and other skilled technology workers have been among the hardest hit, and there remains a severe shortage of available technology jobs in Kansas City and elsewhere.
Sprint's move toward sending jobs overseas will make a bad situation worse, said Rick Kumar, a former Sprint contractor who last year founded a support group for laid off information technology workers.
"The market is where it was a year and a half ago," Kumar said.
Many people still are out of work or have abandoned their information technology careers for other work, Kumar said. But unlike many of his information technology colleagues, Kumar said he does not blame Sprint and the many other companies that have turned to cheaper labor overseas.
"They have to follow the model or go out of business," Kumar said.
That is precisely how Sprint explains its move toward an offshore vendor. When competitors began cutting information technology costs by turning to offshore programmers, company officials said, Sprint was forced to look at following suit.
"We've got to stay on top of our competitive position," Forsee said. Offshoring "has become a significant trend that we hadn't participated in, so we looked at that as a strategy that was important...because of the competitive aspects."
IBM, Microsoft and HP are among the U.S. companies that are sending information technology jobs overseas or reportedly plan to start. Sprint must lower its cost to keep pace, Forsee said. But he knows careers are at stake.
"When you take actions like that, you're doing that hoping to keep the company as a whole strong," realizing that there are "people and careers and jobs at stake," Forsee said. "We try to do that part very carefully. It's not without significant consideration."
Shares of FON closed Wednesday at $14.05, up 1 cent. PCS closed at $5.41, down 36 cents.
Needless to say, I changed carriers on Tues. Glad I did it since they are now sending American jobs overseas.
We get what we (don't) pay for. With price as our main consideration for goods and services, overseas competitors win. First it was manufactured goods, now the service industries are going.
It's getting a lot louder lately.
Management speak from the PHB.
The paleos here will argue that, because you did it they are now sending American jobs overseas.
Asia, India to be specific.
If the individual companies are being forced by the competition to eliminate American jobs, maybe the correct answer is to level the playing field by restoring the properly calibrated tariffs (and maybe reducing payroll tax in exchange)?
And that model, like Japan's template for their economic miracle that has failed, is suicide for America.
At this point I paint Politicians and Trial lawyers with the same brush. Guess they know that and it's one of the reasons they try to pass laws to disarm the American population.
Why not level the playing field by reducing America's fiscal burden of government to, say, Red Chinese levels i.e. a 2X reduction.
Or how about about a flat tax like Moscow?
Americans need to choose between a free market or a centrally planned one that provides free health care for Africa, free drugs for seniors, etc, etc.
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