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U.S. Tech Workers In Hot Demand Despite More Outsourcing

So much for predictions that outsourcing would turn the United States into a nation of burger flippers. A new survey shows that most tech professionals are too busy working to worry about competition from low-cost labor in India. And here's the most stunning thing about all this.
So much for predictions that outsourcing would turn the United States into a nation of burger flippers. A new survey shows that most tech professionals are too busy working to worry about competition from low-cost labor in India. And here's the most stunning thing about all this.IT employment in the United States is growing even as more businesses outsource tech work overseas. Hudson, a professional staffing firm, reports in their July survey that hiring and pay in the tech sector is up, as is worker confidence. At the same time, India's revenues from outsourcing are climbing--up 32% in the second quarter, according to an Indian trade group.

How can these seemingly contradictory facts coexist? If more tech work is going to India, shouldn't U.S. tech workers feel squeezed? Is this some kind of stagflationary, reverse Laffer curve, voodoo economics thing?

I think the answer is a bit simpler. Outsourcing proponents have long argued it's a win-win for both businesses and workers. Businesses cut costs by sending routine work offshore. Some of the money saved is then invested into more advanced projects that require higher skills, kicking off a new cycle of hiring.

This may be what we're seeing now. The Hudson survey notes that the skills most in demand--Web services, .Net, and Java programming--are those most applicable to the buildout of cutting-edge service-oriented architectures. In English, SOAs allow computer applications to more easily, uh, talk amongst themselves.

The upshot: "It's hot out there right now for tech pros," says Hudson VP Kevin Knaul, in an interview with my colleague Marianne Kolbasuk McGee. And that heat they're feeling isn't wafting up from a McDonald's grill.