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IBM United States News

IBM Stops Disclosing US Headcount Data 377

Posted by kdawson
from the but-everybody's-doing-it dept.
theodp writes "ComputerWorld reports that IBM has stopped providing breakouts on US employees, closing a door to data that provided insights into the bellwether company's employment shift. In its latest Annual Report, Big Blue only provides its global headcount, and an IBM spokesman confirmed that disclosure of US headcount is a thing of the past. The Rochester Institute of Technology's Ron Hira called the US workforce data critical for policymakers trying to understand the dynamics of offshoring. 'By hiding its offshoring, IBM is doing a disservice to America — through omission the company is providing misleading labor market signals and information to policy makers,' Hira said. Ironically, CEO Sam Palmisano's Letter to Shareholders, which accompanied the Annual Report, touts how IBM's Analytics and 'Smarter Planet' efforts are empowering US government decision-makers. Nondisclosure domestically and abroad seems to be the new rule of thumb for Big Tech, sparking calls for government intervention." IBM laid off about 10,000 US workers last year, and 2,900 so far this year, according to the Alliance@IBM, a labor union.
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IBM Stops Disclosing US Headcount Data

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  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:01PM (#31453136) Homepage
    It would be trivial for those policy makers to order GSA to drop IBM from its vendor list...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720)

      It would be trivial for those policy makers to order GSA to drop IBM from its vendor list...

      Trivial? I'm not sure that's the right word to describe it. Sure, it may be trivial to remove them from the list... but far less trivial to disengage IBM from current projects and bring in new contractors. How much would that cost?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It would be trivial for those policy makers to order GSA to drop IBM from its vendor list...

        Trivial? I'm not sure that's the right word to describe it. Sure, it may be trivial to remove them from the list... but far less trivial to disengage IBM from current projects and bring in new contractors. How much would that cost?

        Not much. I've seen any number of projects where the company hired in all the service provider's employees, and fired the service provider. It's happened to IBM and every other outsourcer in the book, many, many times already. Essentially all that changes is the name that signs the paychecks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Amouth (879122)

          and hardware? sorry but IBM is the source for big iron.. and they aren't going to be able to walk away from that easily

          • Almost every critical government contract requires hardware and software based on open standards to avoid exactly that situation. Unless you're talking about mainframes, which are largely legacy systems, replacing an AIX box with a Solaris, Linux or HPUX box is no big deal.

      • Probably less expensive than switching all their desktop computers from Windows to Linux.

    • by reporter (666905) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:31PM (#31453566) Homepage
      IBM is clearly trying to hide its US headcount for the purpose of hiding its replacing American employees with foreign workers in other countries.

      IBM is one of the few companies that remained consistently profitable during the worst recession since the Great Depression. This profitability was accomplished by replacing high-wage Americans with low-wage foreigners in India, China, etc. Seeing the writing on the wall, IBM management has decided to accelerate the reduction of the American workforce.

      The shareholders love this strategy since it maximizes their return on investment. The only problem is a political one: Washington will retaliate against IBM if IBM drastically reduces its American workforce in favor of cheap overseas labor. Hence, IBM has ceased reporting the size of the American workforce.

      Dirty? Disgusting? Yes. Good business strategy? Yes.

  • by Third Position (1725934) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:06PM (#31453202)

    ...then why are you hiding it?

    Big Blue only provides its global headcount, and an IBM spokesman confirmed that disclosure of US headcount is a thing of the past.

    Companies that operate contrary to the national interest of the countries they operate in, shouldn't be allowed to operate in those countries.

    Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.
    --Thomas Jefferson

    • by dunezone (899268)

      Companies that operate contrary to the national interest of the countries they operate in, shouldn't be allowed to operate in those countries.

      Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains. --Thomas Jefferson

      Doesn't your statement and the Thomas Jefferson quote contradict each other?

      • In what way? Jefferson was acknowledging the intrinsic disloyalty of merchants. Why would he object to checking their activities when those activities became harmful to the national interest?

      • by Amouth (879122)

        no.. the Quote says that a Merchant is more loyal and care for the well being of whom they draw their profits - which isn't always where they housed them selves

        his comment says that i the merchant is in our soil and is doing things that are bad for us we should kick them out - aka one that is more loyal to another nation - let them go there

        • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:38PM (#31453636)

          If Microsoft and IBM likes chinese and indian labor so much- how about making the executives move there.

          Then if they cross the government, they can simply disappear at night (in china) or perhaps be killed by some random extremist (india).

          But no... they stay in the u.s. reaping the benefits of our legal system, police, military protection, democracy and "relative" safety (i.e. our government does bad things too- but not to the wealthy much any more).

          If IBM has 1000 employees in the US and 90000 employees overseas- then why should they get us government work any more.

          Seriously-- this is going to fix itself. Rampant inflation in china and india (over 100% on the low end of society) combined with deflation here and the retiring baby boomers should give us some relief in under five years.

          Likewise, it's reached a point where the u.s. consumer isn't willing to spend future money any more because that future money is increasingly dubious.

          Overseas capitalism wouldn't be so bad if it resulted in cheaper prices here. But it doesn't. Laws protect the right to sell drugs for 1/50th of the cost there and forbid importation here. To sell movies for $2.50 there and $20.00 here. You can't have it both ways. You can't ship the jobs over there AND keep charging 10 to 20 times as much for products in the U.S.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eht (8912)

      They're not hiding anything, they're just not telling people information for free anymore.

      Last I knew companies weren't legal or socially obligated to disclose this kind of info.

    • by linhares (1241614)

      Companies that operate contrary to the national interest of the countries they operate in, shouldn't be allowed to operate in those countries.

      So you support Iran's and NK's and China's blocking of youtube/twitter/google, etc? If you don't, watch out for your double standards. If you really think companies shouldn't be allowed to exist while annoying their governments, please go work for the gleat leader. I hate IBM but I must say this; they're on their right not to disclose what isn't required.

      Principles (free market, free speech, etc) are only meaningful if you stand by them when they are inconvenient.

      • Companies that operate contrary to the national interest of the countries they operate in, shouldn't be allowed to operate in those countries.

        I hate IBM but I must say this; they're on their right not to disclose what isn't required.

        Principles (free market, free speech, etc) are only meaningful if you stand by them when they are inconvenient.

        Sure they're within they're right. But what are they hiding, why are they hiding it, and who are they hiding it from?

        Sure, you have the right not to testify against yourself. That doesn't necessarily mean you have a right not to be convicted.

  • Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190)
    Stop with the federal and state contract with IBM. And when they give up the data, then it is time for contracts to be tied to the nations monetary difference if the nation fixes their money. In particular, since a lot of IBM hardware is made in China, then we should determine the true difference on their money, and then their contracts should be adjusted accordingly. So, if it is determined that money should be 1 to 1 with Yuan to Dollar, rather than the currently fixed 7 to 1, then the contract needs to b
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:09PM (#31453240) Homepage

    I think ceasing to disclose U.S. employment sends a very clear labor market signal: The off-shoring will continue, probably at a rate much higher than you were thinking or are comfortable with. What more does a policy maker really need to know than "IBM is shipping jobs over seas so fast they don't want to talk about it"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The main thing is to what extent the taxpayers are subsidizing IBM and will be asked to cough up in the future. Also any Government consulting contracts, especially military related issues, are important.

      Other than that, I would say it is a truth in advertising issue. Corporations lie a lot.
  • by poet (8021) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:10PM (#31453264) Homepage

    I run a small company. The reality is, off shoring especially with the Open Source market makes entirely too much sense from a business perspective. I can have 4 United States based people, and another 12 strategically located throughout the world. The cost of the 4 is the same as the 12. It is better for my customers, and frankly my pocket book. Also, to be honest Open Source expertise is easier to obtain off american shores.

    The downside to the largest economy in the world is that it is also ridiculously expensive. Of course not as bad as western Europe but still...

    • See. Evidence that open source won't eliminate software development jobs - as long as you live in a third-world country.

  • it's an indian company

    its' time for the usa, and especially new york state, to stop granting ibm special favors. all ibm has done for new york is slowly kill the hudson valley technology employment sector, including entire cities. ibm has betrayed its birthplace

    fuck ibm, treat it like a foreign entity with questionable and dubious agendas. because ibm most certainly treats the usa like that, while the usa still coddles and mollifies it, like a deluded lover. ibm's betrayal of the usa and especially the hudson valley is longstanding and obvious, and now it is just passive aggressive, like a cheating spouse who has gotten away with countless crimes and is now embarrassed at how thoroughly he has duped their spouse

    its a charade. fuck ibm, ibm only deserves scorn and hostility, unless you're in bangalore

    • by Amouth (879122)

      i personaly think NO company should be given special favors. sorry i know that when a data center or a manufacturing plant is being built that it will bring jobs to a community BUT having communities fight over them by giving tax breaks or cheap land is just wrong - if nothing your stealing jobs from another community. And it isn't fair at all to the smaller or mid sized companies that can't offer 1,000 jobs but rather 50.. the smaller ones end up paying a higher premium and there for it is harder to com

      • ibm gets obscene special favors in the midhudson valley politically and economically on the national, state, and county, and city levels

        and all the while ibm slowly moves everyone out

        so its getting special treatment to TAKE AWAY jobs. how the hell does that work? i know new york politics is fucked up, but come on, this is blatant, long standing and insanely obvious

        ibm is getting special treatment, and it serenely smiles while it stabs new york in the back

        i have nothing for ibm management except burning hatred. i spit on ibm. as for new york politicians, they're so fucking retarded and dysfunctional, hate has no use

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jerrry (43027)

          " as for new york politicians, they're so fucking retarded and dysfunctional, hate has no use"

          No, they're just well-paid (by IBM) and don't dare bite the hand that feeds them.

    • by Attack DAWWG (997171) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:36PM (#31453616)

      fuck ibm, treat it like a foreign entity with questionable and dubious agendas.

      You mean, allow it to spend unlimited funds in U.S. political campaigns?

    • by jonpublic (676412)

      can you explain your comment further? i'm curious why you say ibm's screwed the hudson valley and the special favors that new york state has given it.

      • binghampton, to be exact

        it used to be a major employer in hudson valley towns like kingston, poughkeepsie, fishkill, westchester, and new york city, and all the rust belt cities along the thruway corridor to buffalo

        but this started shrinking as it went international, and accelerated as the political center of gravity within the company has shifted to bangalore. hey, it makes sense economically, and its good for india. but ibm has shafted its birthplace, and as someone from the area, so i say fuck them for the betrayal

        as a historical major and influential employer, it has developed relationships with new york state and the feds for decades. therefore, the story of ibm is a shining burning example of how corporate money destroys my country

        if you want to start your own ibm hate machine, and you should, start here:

        http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=background.view&backgroundid=00434 [niemanwatchdog.org]

        dear frothing at the mouth tea party morons:

        stop listening to your demagogues who redirect your rightful anger at your government. the people robbing you blind are corporations, not your fellow poor citizens who just need healthcare. money influence in our government and our congress is destroying our nation. stop focusing your hate at your poor brothers and sisters. focus your righteous anger at the corrupting influence of corporate dollars that pay for the propaganda that fools you, all the while stabbing you in the back with a smile

        stop hating your fellow man who just needs healthcare, your anger's direction is paid for by healthcare companies and their demagogues for hire

        don't focus your anger on your government. focus your anger on the assholes in your government who are supposed to represent you but instead sell you out to the highest bidder. you need to reform government, not destroy it

        and finally, focus your anger on the corporations themselves, who take away your job, defy your rights, and destroy your country with their special interests, all the while paying demagogue assholes to tell you that it is your poor neighbor who is to blame, because he needs healthcare and unemployment benefits, that they deny him

        if this is too michael moore for you, recall that what motivated him to initially make films like roger and me was hatred for gm for destroying flint michigan. dear tea party right winger: you get poorer, and you get angrier, and they get richer, and they take your lifeblood out of this country. you want to talk patriotism? go ahead and hate michael moore for his left leaning beliefs if you want, but don't hate him because he fights for YOU: the future third world residents of the formerly great country known as the usa

        know the real villain: corporations, not the government. the government is only the villain insofar as corporations have paid them to be

    • by diamondsw (685967)

      As an IBMer, I can say the parent speaks the truth. Every time I see Sam Palmisano with another government official, my blood boils. That man has destroyed an excellent company.

  • Regulate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by homer_s (799572) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:12PM (#31453282)
    The govt should pass a new law that forces companies of all sizes to provide a breakdown of where they do business and where they hire. They should punish companies that do not hire where they make and sell things.

    Every business should be forced to hire in the locality where they make money. This should be done not only countrywide, but statewide, citywide and blockwide.

    Forget about stupid things like 'comparative advantage' - we will follow Mao's great leap forward. That will create a lot of wealth.



    For the truly stupid, I'm being sarcastic.
  • Should be law... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thinine (869482) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:17PM (#31453364)
    All companies, especially publicly held ones, should be forced to report their labor figures every quarter along with their financial information. Just like we should track capital flowing in and out of our country, we should be able to track jobs as well. Remember, the more you know...
  • ...let me show you it.
  • by toriver (11308) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:38PM (#31453634)

    Did anyone expect anything else from "International Business Machines"? They are not "American Business Machines".

  • The headcount probably went below that on IBM computers :-)
  • IRS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@NoSPAm.gmail.com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:39PM (#31453648) Homepage Journal

    If one hand in our hopelessly inefficient government knew what the other hand was doing, they wouldn't even have to ask IBM for these numbers, they could just use tax information from the IRS.

    This is a non-story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:40PM (#31453664)

    We're projected to have more Indian employees than American in the next year or two. We already have over 100k in India, and we're ramping up in Argentina and Brazil.

    Meanwhile, internal outsourcing has been an absolute mess. Our Indian-based helpdesks are reviled, both inside IBM and by our customers who use them. Indian technical resources are likewise extremely difficult to work with, and it has nothing to do with language or timezones - they refuse to speak up (from what we're told, "it's cultural", meaning don't make an issue of it or you'll get sent to sensitivity training). A solution can be completely wrong - as in, the contract says we were supposed to start work two months in the past or numbers literally don't add up, yet they won't question blatant errors, and won't respond if you question them. Apparently questioning someone else is deeply frowned upon, and makes them next to useless as anything but strict, brainless order takers. They have no initiative whatsoever, and seemingly no capability of independent creative thought. Maybe it's "cultural", maybe it's poor training - I don't know. I do know it's not working, but all executive management sees is that they cost a fraction to hire as western workers. You get what you pay for, and all that...

    None of this applies to the many Indians I work with who are based in other geographies. But for whatever reason, Indians in India are just extremely poor replacements for western workers.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:46PM (#31453764)
      Totally true. We had a UK manager go to India and deliberately give them an impossible task to do. For 2 weeks he kept asking on progress and was told everything was going fine. On delivery day they said it was all going great. Nothing turned up. The day after he asked where it was 'nearly there'. Eventually he confronted them and asked if they had made any progress at all. They said yes. Even after he told them it was impossible they said they had got something. That particular cultural quirk is very hard to work with and requires very careful questioning in a way that allows them to tell the truth but make it sound positive. It very rarely (IME) gets spoken of as a problem though in outsourcing circles though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gtall (79522)

        Your response was modded down for no valid reason, I repeat it here:

        "Totally true. We had a UK manager go to India and deliberately give them an impossible task to do. For 2 weeks he kept asking on progress and was told everything was going fine. On delivery day they said it was all going great. Nothing turned up. The day after he asked where it was 'nearly there'. Eventually he confronted them and asked if they had made any progress at all. They said yes. Even after he told them it was impossible they said

    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday March 12, 2010 @01:56PM (#31454646) Homepage

      Indians with any talent get the hell out of India. You will never get good employees by outsourcing to India, because good employees won't accept a lifestyle of disease, pollution, and waist-high piles of garbage everywhere while earning $5/hour.

      Want to hire talented Indians? Look for them in Europe or North America.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Also speaking as an IBMer, and can totally agree with this.

      Indians working in IBM ***IN INDIA*** appear to be essentially useless without any ability to do anything on their own. If you've not asked them to do something specific, they'll happily sit doing nothing for the 5.5 hours before you get into the office, instead of acting on their own initiative and doing something that needs doing (even when its obvious, e.g. a list of defects that need fixing, tests that need running etc). Curiously, if they are

    • We already have over 100k in India,

      IBM's internal company cricket team is like totally going to trounce the competition!

      and we're ramping up in Argentina and Brazil.

      Yo, and in soccer (US), football (rest of the planet) as well!

      I guess IBM sees these sports as "growth potential."

      Maybe the world's governments need to investigate IBM's plan for world domination of sports.

  • as if they ever understand what they are doing either way? what a laugh.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:45PM (#31453748)

    There are only money corporations. Those who run multinational organizations care nothing about whether their money comes from China, India, the USA or Mars. They have no loyalty to the USA or its people, and as the government and people of India and China will soon discover, they have no loyalty to them either. The wealthy can live anywhere. It's all one world to them. Only the sets and the local operating environments change.

    The poor of the world have no enemy but the wealthy. Loyalty to "country" or political affiliation is just a con for the rubes.

  • Thank you Slashdot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:54PM (#31453876)
    As a soon-to-be IBM ex-employee caught up in this latest round of layoffs (or "Resource Action" in IBM corporate lingo), I'm glad that IBM's total disregard for its own country's workforce is finally coming to light. IBM has been engaged in this behavior for years now, yet it has done such a good job burying the information so it gets little to no coverage by the media. In fact, according to a leaked management-level PPT posted on the Alliance@IBM site, IBM upper management is actively implementing a policy where even employees rated by their managers as solid contributors are artificially given lower ratings in subsequent years if their salary is deemed too high so that there is a pretext to push them out of the company and re-hire cheaper labor abroad. While I truly hope that the government would provide much needed intervention, I sincerely doubt any meaningful action will be taken. The best thing we can do is ensure as much media coverage as possible.
  • Good Thing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:55PM (#31453884) Homepage
    Good thing they go by their acronym anyways. Now they can be "Indian Business Machine" and don't have to spend a dime updating their logo! How convenient.
  • Numbers (Score:5, Informative)

    by nkovacs (1199463) on Friday March 12, 2010 @01:05PM (#31454032)
    At the end of 2009 IBM employed 399,409 employees worldwide.

    IBM U.S. labor force numbers.

    2009: 105,000
    2008: 115,000
    2007: 121,000
    2006: 127,000
    2005: 133,789

    Where IBM hired in 2009:

    Asia/Pacific: 13,376
    CEEMEA: 3,988
    Europe: 2,923
    India: 18,873
    Japan: 868
    Latin America: 7,112
    USA: 3,514
    Canada: 820

    Here are the detailed numbers from the IBM March 1st, 2010 layoffs (2,901 cut so far)

    STG Technology Development: 24
    STG Sales Support: 80
    CIO Application and infrastructure: 160
    Software Group WPLC: 50
    Software Group Information management: 99
    GBS Global Account: 98
    GTS Security Systems: 41
    ITD Transition, Quality & Service Mgmt: 276
    ITD Application Hosting and Database: 158
    ITD Service Management Delivery: 66
    ITD Storage Management: 178
    ITD Distributed Server Management: 318
    ITD SSO (IDMM): 120
    GTS North America East IMT Region Maintenance & Technical Support: 66
    Sales and Distribution Headquarters: 73
    ITD Complex Engagement Services: 34
    Tivoli: 51
    SWG Application & Integration Middleware: 119
    ITD Shared Services, Security & Risk Management: 216
    Sales and Distribution Global Sales: 57
    Human Resources Global Administration: 124
    STG Global markets: 12
    CIO Client Value Tranformation: 76
    Corporate Marketing & Communications: 48
    CIO Operations & Enterprise Portfolio Management: 8
    STG Software Development & Lab services: 39
    GBS Financial Services: 24
    GBS AIS: 84
    GBS ASAA: 202
    Total cut so far: 2901

    Source: http://www.endicottalliance.org/ [endicottalliance.org]
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Friday March 12, 2010 @01:11PM (#31454108)

    A lot of posters are saying "IBM should be able to hire whoever" and "IBM should not have to give any information that IBM is not legally required to give."

    Okay fine. But, if IBM wants to enjoy all the lavish benefits of being a US company, such as: stimulus money, tax breaks, and preferential treatment in obtaining government contracts; then shouldn't IBM actually be a US company?

    IBM is saying "the US government should be especially kind to us, because we provide all these jobs for US citizens" and "helping IBM is a good value for US taxpayers because those tax dollars come back to help the US."

    But, are those assertions true? Should the US taxpayers be forced to give IBM special treatment if those assertions are not true? And how do we really know what is, or is not, true; if IBM refuses to tell us?

    Seems to me that if IBM wants special treatment from the US taxpayers, then IBM needs to tell the taxpayers what is really going on.

  • by sackvillian (1476885) on Friday March 12, 2010 @01:19PM (#31454198)

    It's old news but it should be stressed that corporations are legally obligated toward their shareholders to maximize profits, and this leads to countless sad and ironic situations like this one. Corporations are thus legally obligated to use lobbyists to bend laws, corporations are obligated to outsource jobs even if those are currently held by shareholders themselves, corporations are obligated to maximize externalities which usually wreaks havoc on the environment, etc. Hell, assuming that releasing their headcounts would hurt their business (as it would!), they are basically legally obligated not to do so.

    That is totally fucked up and backwards, plain and simple. Like American drug laws, it seems inconceivable that any group of reasonable legislators would ever design this current system. We have historical quirks and abuses to thanks for this.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Friday March 12, 2010 @01:34PM (#31454366)

    Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this. IBM is a huge tech giant, similar to Oracle or maybe even HP. They produce rock-stable, less-than-exciting products that run the back end of most businesses. Microsott is even heading this direction. The problem is, when you get that huge and have shareholders/executives constantly demanding lower costs, eventually the offshoring lever gets pulled. It's awful that these large companies are contributing to unemployment in the process, but do you really think they can be stopped?

    I'd call myself left of center, and would support measures to at least discourage companies from moving jobs offshore. This wouldn't be appropriate in most cases, but when you have 300 million people competing against a huge labor pool that costs 90% less, the stabilizers need to be kicked on. However, I know it's not realistic. Why? Most IT people I know are incredibly conservative/Libertarian/Ayn Rand followers. Mention a union, professional organization, or other stabilizer to these people, and most go off into a Fox News-style tirade about socialism or how unions are evil and corrupt.

    If our own profession doesn't stand up for itself, we can't expect anyone else to. (My opinion: People need to get out of this "rugged individualism/entrepreneurial" fantasy that they seem to have. You're not a superstar, you're not going to start a business and become an overnight billionaire, and you're never going to be one of the outsized celebrities or business tycoons that you celebrate. It just isn't a realistic dream to base your life around. But that's my opinion.)

    Another problem is this - the computing and IT workforce has still not decided on a direction. Do we want to be a profession? If so, then we need to start standardizing education of new members, and do a better job at defining fundamentals of development, systems engineering, etc. Do we want to be a skilled trade? If so, then we need to set up an apprenticeship-style training system that gives new recruits a decent broad background, consider a union ^Ubargaining unit ^U^Upolitical influence committee and think about a real career ladder that doesn't end at age 40. Or, do we want to be a branch of traditional engineering? That's almost like a profession - and I'm all for the idea of people being responsible for their work like PEs are.

    I would definintely go for the traditional-engineering or profession route, but there's another problem. Skill sets in IT vary wildly. I've worked with absolute geniuses and...umm...less-than-geniuses. It drives me nuts when less-than-geniuses get hired as contractors for triple my salary and I wind up having to tell them how to solve something. Since there's no set way to validate skills, people can fake their way through interviews and wind up on staff causing havoc while they learn. Same goes in reverse...someone who's really smart but bad at selling themselves can wind up not getting a job, or a much lower salary than they're entitled to.

    Anyway, back to the offshoring problem. Everyone's still in love with cheap goods and cheap labor, and hasn't learned much from the recent economic downturn. People are still spending way too much, even though the contraction in the credit markets has helped a lot. So we have a choice - either cut back the spending so we don't have to demand raises of our already-high salaries, or find some way to differentiate ourselves. That's never going to happen - too many IT problems get buried by lower-level managers before the decision makers ever see them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Most IT people I know are incredibly conservative/Libertarian/Ayn Rand followers. Mention a union, professional organization, or other stabilizer to these people, and most go off into a Fox News-style tirade about socialism or how unions are evil and corrupt.

      I think you misunderestimate the power of cognitive dissonance. In my experience, most libertarians are all for protectionism when their own jobs are on the line.

  • by geber22 (1342241) on Friday March 12, 2010 @02:07PM (#31454800)
    It's funny how all these companies that are laying of U.S. workers talk about globalization. As a shareholder in many companies, I wonder why they don't outsource the Executive jobs? I mean why should I pay some U.S. CEO a billion dollars, when I can pay a similarly talented, if not more talented individual, from anywhere else in the world a million dollars to do the same job. People want globalization and capitalism for others, and they want protectionism and socialism for themselves. When they start outsourcing executive jobs and quit giving corporate America bailouts, I'll believe that everybody wants globalization and capitalism. Furthermore as a U.S. taxpayer, I have no problem with IBM offshoring every single last one of their jobs, just don't come to my government asking for business when you do. In fact feel free to move to these other countries that are so great for business, good riddance!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Renraku (518261)

      I think the big problem with publicly traded companies is that the shareholders demand an increased return no matter what. If you, the CEO, won't outsource to India, they'll vote you out and hire someone who will. It won't be a long search because a few million a year can cause people to do a lot of less-than-ethical things.

      Also, another problem is that companies want to remain American, with all of the benefits of being an American corporation, but none of the responsibilities. That is, they don't want

Loan-department manager: "There isn't any fine print. At these interest rates, we don't need it."

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