President & CEO
Harvey Nash USAPAC
- Debunking the “IT Offshoring Costs U.S. Jobs” Myth
- Tony Blair for President?
- In Admiration of London Cabbies: The Self-reliant Talent Factor
- CEO Blogs: Bring Them On
- Economics and Hiring: These ARE the Best of Times
- Sure Things: Death, Taxes and the IT Labor Shortage
Debunking the “IT Offshoring Costs U.S. Jobs” Myth
There is a growing wave of concern that America is turning inwards, becoming isolationist and protectionist. It’s something we Americans cannot let happen.
What drives this irrational, isolationist push? It’s a number of news and media sources misrepresenting offshoring and its effects. The message often conveyed by the media is that American jobs are being taken overseas, which is causing significant job and economic loss here in the States.
However, the marketplace facts do not support these claims. For example, there is Lou Dobbs, CNN anchor, who writes, “…so-called free trade has come at an inordinate cost to working men and women in this country. We've lost three million manufacturing jobs as a result of these so-called free trade agreements that enable corporate America to export plants, production and jobs to cheap foreign labor markets. Millions more American jobs remain at risk of being outsourced.”
To that, I would ask Mr. Dobbs to go back to school and review the basic macroeconomics of “comparative advantage” to understand how he is misleading the public. It’s a widely accepted understanding that the world benefits when there are no barriers to free trade. Every nation should seek the lowest prices for comparative goods and services as it benefits the world economy. Adam Smith espoused this concept in The Wealth of Nations, and our forefathers saw the wisdom in the model, making it a core principle in building our market-driven economy.
But what if you are someone who doesn’t care about the rest of the world? What if you only want to focus on what is good for America (as some in the media seem to suggest is the best approach)? Then, I invite you too to get in the offshoring game as well because its impacts have proven to be good, good, good for the USA.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that during the push to offshore IT jobs, IT unemployment rates have fallen. In 2004, the unemployment rate for computer and mathematical occupations was at 4.2%. It fell to 2.9% in 2005. In the second quarter of this year, the unemployment rate for computer programmers was at an incredible 2.1%. Contrary to the “job loss myth” so many would have us believe, corporate America and IT jobs opportunities are expanding at a steady rate.
My hope is that cooler, forward-thinking heads prevail when it comes to offshoring and the World Trade Organization’s Doha Development Round negotiations. Lowering trade barriers around the world will result in better business and work opportunities across the globe. Whether you’re an isolationist or a fan of the growing global marketplace, offshoring is here to stay. With strategic offshore solutions in place, the U.S. will succeed, the world will succeed and all our boats will rise together.
Tony Blair for President?
This week I attended (on 11/28/06 and 11/29/06) what was truly one of the most impressive business symposiums of my career: the CBI Interactive Conference held in London.
Being an American, I was truly awed by both the prestige of the speakers and the high-level business executives in attendance. It was a most remarkable compilation: some of today’s most renowned CEOs intermingled with UK’s highest levels of politicians and government representatives…all in one forum. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and our own U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry 'Hank' Paulson, were just a few of the headliner politicians.
I was most impressed by the caliber of the business panelists who spoke about issues of monumental importance to us all, such as globalization and the rise of new economic giants like China, India, Brazil and Russia. Presentations were designed to be intelligent exchanges of ideas and stimulating debates on whether these countries present threats or opportunities. Other topics of the conference included free trade, protectionism (during which a few shots were levied at us Americans), energy security, global warming and more.
While the topics were weighty and broad, the atmosphere was intimate and approachable. The audience and speakers interacted on a level playing field, discussing and debating with spirit, graciousness and reciprocity. I for one don’t know of an equivalent forum here in the U.S. that provides such an open platform for business and government interaction.
And on a personal note, I was thrilled to have Albert Ellis, the CEO of Harvey Nash, introduce me to Tony Blair. He presented me as the President of the U.S. (as I am president of Harvey Nash, USA), which I think momentarily took Mr. Blair back. Maybe he thought President Bush had shrunk and taken on a serious tanning regime. But he recovered quickly and asked me what state I was from, to which I replied New Jersey. I could see him mulling over in his head whether he was going to zing me with a cheap quip about NJ, but fortunately he spared me. I then asked him if he would come to the U.S. and run for President. (I believe he’d win in a landslide.) He just smiled. We were both probably thinking the same thing, but he’s too much a polished politician to jump on the softball I tossed him!