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U.S. Tech Firms Dabble Offshore, But Keep Most Workers Here

About half of CEOs at "fast growth" tech firms say their companies are recruiting talent outside North America, according to the new Deloitte 2007 CEO Survey.
Where are the fastest growing tech companies in North America looking for workers? They're going overseas for some talent, but the bulk of their workforces will stay here, according to new report by technology consulting firm Deloitte.

About half of CEOs at "fast growth" tech firms say their companies are recruiting talent outside North America, and 55% say they plan to offshore talent in the next five years, according to the new Deloitte 2007 CEO Survey, in which 125 CEOs participated. For the poll, Deloitte surveyed executives among the 500 fastest growing tech companies in North America based on revenue growth over the last five years.

Despite the hunt for offshore talent, most CEOs expect the majority of their workers to be located in North America. Still, 30% of the CEOs predict that within five years, 10% of their workers will be offshore; 27% will have 20% of workers offshore; 19% expect to have 30% of staff offshore; and 15% project that 40% of their workers will be outside North America.

Tech companies are going overseas for talent for three key reasons -- availability of educated talent outside the U.S; lower costs; and 24-hour services that companies can provide customers by having a global workforce, says Jeff Alderton, principal of Deloitte Consulting's human capital advisory services. "This is a very motivating point for offshoring," he says.

So what type of offshore talent are these employers hiring?

"Tech companies are primarily looking for deep technical expertise and high analytical skills for jobs in data analysis and assessments," he says. They're also looking for "burgeoning client interface skills, which you see with shared services and customer service support," he says.

"A lot of great customer service skills are being sought outside of the U.S." Among those customer skills being sought are "problem resolution skills" for product and customer relationship-based jobs, like tech support and order support, he says.

In hiring offshore talent, tech companies are setting up new facilities overseas, adding to their existing overseas operations, partnering with other companies, and bringing people to the U.S. on work visas, he says.

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