Offshoring: Not so bad after all

Could there really be more software jobs now than during the dot-com boom?


Andrew Leonard
February 24, 2006 1:49AM (UTC)

For How the World Works, this is a bombshell. By way of Slashdot, we are informed that the Association of Computing Machinery has released a major study of the impact of offshoring and outsourcing on the IT industry. This is a huge piece of work, hundreds of pages long, and clearly a landmark event in the debate on globalization and the software industry. I am currently working my way through it with all due speed.

But for the moment, chew on this: The study argues that, far from disemboweling the American software industry, offshoring has contributed to a healthier -- albeit more competitive -- job market than ever. Here's a substantive quote from the executive summary:

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"As an example, the U.S. and India have deeply interconnected software industries. India benefits from generating new revenue and creating high-value jobs; the U.S. benefits from having U.S.-based corporations achieve better financial performance as a result of the cost savings associated with offshoring some jobs and investing increased profits in growing business opportunities that create new jobs. This theory is supported to some extent by data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to BLS reports, despite a significant increase in offshoring over the past five years, more IT jobs are available today in the U.S. than at the height of the dot-com boom. Moreover, IT jobs are predicted to be among the fastest-growing occupations over the next decade."

More to come, as I plow my way through the entire report. One obvious question, right off, is, does "more IT jobs" equal "better IT jobs," or are salaries and benefits being depressed by competition in this sector as they are in manufacturing? Stay tuned to this blog channel.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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