U.S. IT professionals project less-than-stellar attitude amid outsourcing
April 23, 2010
Though U.S. tech giants like Microsoft and IBM have dominated the IT scene for a number of years, there is a dubious question haunting IT professionals in America. With the advent of outsourcing and rising joblessness, it is no wonder that the young graduate in computer science or information technology has much to worry about.
With much of IT work outsourced to web design companies, web development firms, and software development firms in faraway destinations like India, the job market for the young American IT worker is getting more and more competitive. Though companies like Google still enjoy a large presence in the IT landscape with big concepts and big money, the challenges for IT professionals are mounting as offshoring has taken precedence.
The downturn in the economy, stemming from the weakness in housing and the ensuing subprime debacle coupled with the credit crisis has made companies reticent in hiring permanent workers. For the most part, wages are not improving and foreign workers on H1B visa have no qualms of working for less. As one analyst puts it, the multi-year trend towards IT outsourcing reveals that emerging market talent may be accessed with a touch of a finger or an email for that matter. So, what is the American IT professional to do with in the wake of such monumental competition?
The word in town (mostly folklore) is that the young IT graduate in the U.S. is not very loyal to a single company and is looking to get rich quick. Some analysts agree with this picture, while others are more optimistic. This may be more of a stereotype about American workers in general than reality itself.
According to lore, the U.S. tech professional has an educational background from a dysfunctional schooling system and is part of an indulgent and sometimes-decadent lifestyle – this is sometimes the image portrayed in the media as well. On the other hand, the Indian counterpart concentrates intensely on his job and undergoes unending training rituals in an attempt to please his employer. This too may be the stereotype of the overseas worker.
CEO of Indian outsourcer, HCL Technologies, Vineet Nayar captures this attitude in a nutshell when he said, that most of the U.S. college graduates are ‘unemployable,’ because they are not as patient as their global competitors in terms of acquiring critical IT processes.
Robert Dewar, a professor emeritus in Computer Science at New York University reiterates the sentiment by saying that the college computer science programs are filtered down – so much so that the graduates are incompetent.
However, Robin Borough, EVP of IT consultancy firm Omnikron Systems disagrees with the prevailing sentiment: “These guys were so sharp, and so eager and well mannered – they were phenomenal,” she said in an online report by earthweb.com.
She added, “I’m not finding an attitude of entitlement and says that the new grads are socially conscious. “They have no desire to make money – they all want to save the world,” explained Borough. Many of the graduates are interested in learning foreign languages to obtain international careers.
For the most part, the less than stellar attitude put forward by today’s graduates may reflect the lack of opportunity in today’s market. At one time, a job meant a permanent position and stable income, which translated into loyalty to the company. But with so much uncertainty in place in the wake of the recession and the trend to outsource to reduce costs, jobs are temporary and deserve little space for loyalty in the minds of young graduates. With mergers and acquisitions, downsizing and restructuring a common phenomenon in the marketplace, the IT professional is navigating an exhausting path and the limitations in the marketplace are far too many. It is no wonder that a young graduate is typically not able to muster an attitude of humility and gratitude in this working atmosphere.