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2/23/2006
05:51 PM
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Offshoring's Impact On Future Tech Jobs Is Overrated, Says Study

Savings from offshoring allows companies to invest in new business opportunities, creating new jobs.

Despite offshoring, new IT job opportunities will grow, says a new report released Thursday from the Association for Computing Machinery, a professional organization focused on "advancing computing as a science and profession."

"[G]lobalization of, and off-shoring within the software industry will continue and, in fact, increase" over the decade, according to the study conducted by ACM's job migration task force, whose members included computer scientists, labor economists, and social scientists.

However, while that trend continues, the cost savings companies achieve by outsourcing will help fuel new business opportunities and create new jobs at those organizations.

The annual job loss attributable to offshoring is about 2% to 3% of the IT workforce, says the study. However, "the number is small compared with the much higher level of job loss and creation that occurs every year in the United States."

"The number of jobs being created is going up, so the belief by many high school and college students that all computers jobs are going to places like India is inaccurate," says ACM's president, David Patterson. While offshoring has also increased over the last five years, the study cites Bureau of Labor Statistics data that also indicates that "more IT jobs are available today in the US than at the height of the dot.com boom."

But there are also some cautionary footnotes in the ACM's report. In order for "the next generation of domestic IT innovation and invention to flourish," there needs to be an infrastructure in place that strengthens technical training and education, increased investment in research and development, and also governmental policies that "eliminate barriers to the free flow of talent," according to the study.

The study suggests that IT pros can improve their long-term employment in technology if they keep a number of factors in mind. That includes keeping their skills up to date throughout their careers, learning the technologies used in global software, improving their communication skills, and familiarizing themselves with other cultures. In addition, the study suggests IT pros manage their careers to avoid work in industries or occupations that are most likely to be automated or sent to low-wage countries.

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