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The Unstoppable Shift of IT Jobs Overseas 1084

514x0r writes "The spectre in the back of many of our minds is that in a few years we may be replaced by an underpaid programmer in India. is currently running an article about why this is unstoppable, that actually ends on a positive note...sort of." Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of OSDN.
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The Unstoppable Shift of IT Jobs Overseas

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  • by Sanga ( 125777 ) <> on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:20PM (#6829923) Homepage Journal
    Not entirely -- when you have a small enough group controlling the entire financial destiny of a huge enough population, then you could have a self sustaining system that does not fold because of the lack of buying power of the many.

    I am not suggesting that this could happen or is happening. But theoritically it is possible.
  • by jmccay ( 70985 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:21PM (#6829935) Journal
    Now, 8pm on Boston WGBH 2 on Bill Moyers show there was a segment on this. This is the information I recieved from WashTech:

    We have received numerous calls and emails about the PBS NOW with Bill Moyers show on outsourcing scheduled for tonight, Friday, August 29th. Here is an updated link to the NOW with Bill Moyers web site giving further details on tonight's show.

    NOW with Bill Moyers Home Page:

    In Depth Report on:
    Job Flight-NOW looks at the U.S. trend toward exporting white-collar jobs ml

    Check local listings for stations and times at

    Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

    If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for WashTech.
    If you would like to unsubscribe from WashTech, or update your account settings, please click here or respond to this email with "REMOVE" as the subject line.

    I highly suggest signing up for this email []. They notify people about people like this.

    I want to point out that this is not just Technology jobs! Accounting jobs are being sent to India, and also call centers.
    If this is not enough, the government is still allowing foriegners to take American jobs using L1s and H1-Bs.
    Also, states are sending their money to jobs overseas. ANY job that doesn't require a physical presence in the United States can be sent overseas to places like India!
    RIAA is nothing compared to the loss of our jobs to foriegners and overseas. We, that means everybody (tech and non-tech) need to make our Government understand we will not stand for jobs being moving overseas or foriegners taking our jobs!
  • by shdragon ( 1797 ) * on Friday August 29, 2003 @08:48PM (#6830096) Homepage Journal
    Click Here [] for the whole "Where the Good Jobs are Going" article.

    If you're going to try and start a new thread please link to something which everyone can read. :)

  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @09:27PM (#6830330) Journal
    They're mostly not underpaid. These are actually pretty good jobs in India. Even some of the jobs we consider pretty shitty here, like telephone technical support, attract well qualified in India who do very well.

    The value of something is a function of how much the seller needs the money and how much the buyer needs the something. There is no such thing as a fixed value independent of the buyer and seller. Someone in India may sell their labor for a lot less than someone in the US and still feel well recompensed.

  • Hearsay anecdote? []

    I'm almost offended. []

    Or maybe you've never heard of corporate welfare. That's understandable.

    Let me clarify my statement about taxes that wealthy individuals pay. []

    So, again. Corporations and the wealthy pay a far lower percentage of their income in federal tax than you or I do. Look into the percentage of federal revenue that comes from corporate tax and income tax from the richest 1% of the population. Compare it to the percentage of revenue from the middle-class' income.

    Never mind, I'll do it for you [].

    This one is purely informational [].

    How's that for hearsay?

  • Plagiarist! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:04PM (#6830530)
    This is taken from one of the comments on the linked article.
  • by hotsauce ( 514237 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:07PM (#6830545)

    You make good points about cost effectiveness but one of your paragraphs made me laugh:

    I'd still earn a lot more than the typical offshore worker due to excellent English skills. All I would need to do is learn how to communicate with them and I'd be in demand in the same way the Los Angeles auto mechanic head is. He typically gives instructions to the hispanics who do the real work. No different from my scenerio.

    English is easy. If excellent "English skills" bought you anything, Indian English majors would be making the big bucks. What they value is programming quality. Your image of being the American who is eagerly made chief by the illeterate natives is delusion. You would be as welcome in India as detroit autoworkers in Japan [].

  • Re:Bad? (Score:3, Informative)

    by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @10:20PM (#6830595) Homepage Journal
    Being pressured into low bids is worse than the suck. :P

    The problem is that if you don't somebody else will. So if you bid $4000 for a job that'll take 400 hours there is always someone that will bid $400 for the same job. Often as not the company doesn't care who will do the better job or that the $400 bid is unlikely to ever finish.. they'll just take the lowest bid. So then you end up either not getting any jobs or being one of the poor saps bidding $1/hr for work.

    Even $1/hr wouldn't be so bad (it's something for your resume at least) if the clients realized they were getting a deal and would cut you some slack but no.. they pile it on all the more if it's cheap. They don't seem to respect you if your working cheap. They know they have you by the balls.
  • by homer_ca ( 144738 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:06PM (#6830828)
    One place to start would be the CIA World Fact Book []. Scroll down to Economy. Some of the relevant stats are the GDP-Composition by Sector and Labor Force by Occupation.

    Just for example here's three countries:

    United States:
    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: 2%
    industry: 18%
    services: 80% (2002)

    Labor force - by occupation:
    managerial and professional 31%, technical, sales and administrative support 28.9%, services 13.6%, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and crafts 24.1%, farming, forestry, and fishing 2.4%
    note: figures exclude the unemployed (2001)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: 1.4%
    industry: 30.9%
    services: 67.7% (2001 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation:
    services 70%, industry 25%, agriculture 5% (2002 est.)

    GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: 12%
    industry: 40%
    services: 48% (2001)

    Labor force - by occupation:
    local trade and tourism 28%, manufacturing 27%, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries 16%, services 10%, government 10%, construction 9% (2000 est.)
  • Re:Exporting of Jobs (Score:2, Informative)

    by daniel_yokomiso ( 641714 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:28PM (#6830903) Journal
    I'm actually thinking it might be a good idea to move offshore myself. I'd earn less, but I might earn more when adjusted to the cost of living in, say, the Philippines or Brazil.

    I'm Brazilian and I can tell you that you won't earn more when adjusted. Even if counting the living costs.
    Let's do some math using your US$100,000 example. It's something like US$8,334 per month, which would give us R$24,167 per month. No IT worker in Brazil earns that much, the top salaries are around R$5~6k. So lets give you a R$6,000 salary. You decide to buy a 30 gb iPod (US$299) but you'll discover that it'll cost you R$2,000. That's right even with the 1/3 conversion of US$ to R$ it's more than twice the cost. Every other piece of technology you decide to buy will be expensive, unless you buy a "illegal" copy (without paying taxes). Rent will be around R$1,000, car costs between R$600 to R$1,000, broadband internet access R$100. Even CDs will cost relatively more (from R$20 to R$30).
    I'm sorry to give you the bad news, but living in a "third world" economy isn't cheap, unless you decide to live in a bad neighbourhood, move using a bus, ignore entertainment (including books) and computers. of course there are a few cheap things, but everything imported is costly.
    These costs are from Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. Other cities are cheaper, but the salary is worse.
  • Re:Green mustache? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:29PM (#6830906)
    Once again, I think at that "30 or 40 years ago" there was no IT INDUSTRY !!!

    There's been an IT INDUSTRY!!! since the late 1800's. Go look up the history of tabulating and sorting machines and mechanical calculators, along with companies like NCR and IBM. These were large companies providing means to use technology to manipulate information. Even the first half of the 20th century the economy would have been severely hobbled without the help of automated information processing equipment.

  • Fraid not (Score:3, Informative)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Friday August 29, 2003 @11:35PM (#6830940) Homepage Journal
    It's not any more difficult for an Indian to "sound American" then it is for an American to sound British. I know of one Indian chick that spoke with no discernable accent when I talked with her, but spoke with a very acute Indian accent when talking to other Indians.

    Lots of Indians grow up using English anyway, but speak with the same accent everyone else does. But they can drop or change theirs as well as any other native speaker.
  • Learn how to sell (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ryosen ( 234440 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @12:12AM (#6831081)
    This far in, this post will probably not get read but...I just landed a 4-month contract that will yield a considerable amount of cash. When I was going through the sale, the client told me that they saw similar applications for less than 1000. They wanted to know why I was asking for 30,000.

    The old line "you get what you pay for" is still very valid. You will find that companies are still very much willing to pay for good work. Granted, they're not paying $200/hr, but there is still money to be made. The bottom line is that you have to convince your potential client that you are offering them quality. Quality, support, and personalization in the development of the software. If you can show them why the job cost as much as it does (through a detailed Statement of Work), it'll be much easier for them to accept it.

    But this is not the true purpose of my post. To be sure, this is a very scary time for many people and I am very sympathetic. Finding new jobs is very difficult, but there are a couple of things that you can do.

    First, let me just say that I hate sales. I don't know anyone that enjoys selling, but you have to do it. Now, I have an edge as I have been an independent contractor for over 10 years. But anyone can do it on their own.

    The key to being successful is networking. Quick tip for those with a bit of free time. Pick up a networking book such as Masters of Networking []. Figure out who you know and who you can sell to. Put yourself in situations where you are forced to meet new people - preferably 10 a day. This is not selling in the pure sense. It's not cold calling. Just go and get involved in activities that involve other business people.

    A couple of thing that I have done recently:

    1) Join a business network group, such as BNI [].

    2) Join a social group that attracts business people. I recommend Toast Masters []. As an added bonus, you will learn to present yourself better.

    3) Every one is freaking out over the SoBig virus right now. Similarly, a lot of people want to go wireless in their homes but, with always-on broadband connections, are afraid of getting "0wn3d". Print up some flyers, walk around your neighborhood, *personally* meet with every neighbor, and offer, for *free* to help check their PCs for viruses (virii if you're so inclined), configure their firewalls, recommend a router. This will get you in front of people, generate goodwill, and let your neighbors know of your availability.

    One of the most powerful ways to find new work is through referrals. I haven't made a cold call in my life. All of my new clients come to me through referrals. Word-of-mouth and a personal recommendation can do a lot more for you than any marketing brochure or telemarketing script could ever do. Go over a list of people that you have worked for and with in the past 5 years. Call them up, catch up on lost time, work in that you're available, meet for lunch. Don't turn it into a sales pitch, just keep it friendly. They'll get the idea. And you'll get out of the house.

    Find ways to get yourself in front of people and let them know that you are here. It's not easy, that's true. I was extremely shy when I started. Now, I speak at tech conferences in front of more than 7,000 people. I carry a stack of business cards with me at all times. I find opportunities to start conversations with people.

    I didn't start out knowing how to "work a room" and I still have a long way to go. But, I am making a living. Not as much as a couple of years ago, but my bills are getting paid and I am sleeping at night.

    Consider this. When you see a job posting, there are over 1000 applicants that you are competing with. As you might guess, most HR/recruiters do not have the time to read through all of them. They'll go through the first
  • Re:Exporting of Jobs (Score:3, Informative)

    by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @01:46AM (#6831388) Homepage
    I normally wouldn't answer such a rude comment, and I apologise to my audience for feeding the troll. At the same time, I actually think the reasoning behind my decision is very interesting, and might help others. So I'm pleased to share it.

    * The Apple products use a different processor, which means a different machine language than mainstream systems. This means buffer overflow exploits aimed at Intel-based platforms can't be used without rewriting the machine language portions, which is beyond the abilities of the click-n-drool set. So even if a buffer overflow is found in, say, Apache, it will take quite a while before an exploit compatible with MacOS X is found and pushed into the wild.

    * The Apple products have a puny market share, which means relatively few people will bother making exploits and going to the effort to do that machine language programming. And they are way too rare to make worms likely to succeed. Can you imagine hitting millions of machines with exploit code just to get the few hundred Apple servers in the universe? People writing these things want more bang for their bandwidth, so they spend their time on high market share systems like Windows and Linux.

    * The Apple xserve has an automated update, just like Windows Update and Apt-Get. Because the hardware and software are integrated and well known, there are likely to be fewer issues with upgrading, which in turn means they are easier to trust. If I simply delay a day in running software update, I'm going to know if there are any issues. This strikes me as a HUGE advantage over, say, the Windows service packs which routinely disable servers.

    * The Xserve was $3,700, which is not much compared to roughly equivalent products from IBM and Dell.

    Hope that helps.


    PS My TiBook was $3,000. Now it's down to $2,600. Not so bad considering what a great machine it is. Apple products cost money, but so does anything else of high quality.
  • Re:Green mustache? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Skidge ( 316075 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @02:44AM (#6831552)
    Nope, what is hillarious is that all that is required to prevent this is legislation requiring any american company to pay any employee US equivalent wages for the job they do, regardless of the work they are doing.

    What are US equivalent wages, anyway? I think I should get paid what Silicon Valley programmers get paid while I live in Middle-of-Nowhere, Ohio. Sure, the cost of living is only a third of what it is in California, but it's only fair.
  • by polanyi ( 695506 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @02:44AM (#6831554)
    >Quoting John "Candy" Keynes. Sheesh.anything of the history of economics []?
  • Not quite. (Score:3, Informative)

    by rjh ( 40933 ) <> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @02:56AM (#6831583)
    During the dot-com boom, I was being paid $100,000 a year by a San Francisco dot-com. Of that, $50,000 went to Federal and California taxes, leaving me with $50K.

    Due to SF real estate being so grotesquely overpriced, rent for my modest apartment cost $2,700. Add in utilities and you're smack at $3K/mo.

    That left me with $14K/yr. to buy groceries, to make my car payments, to occasionally go out on a date, to... etc. It was a very unpleasant experience.

    During the dot-com boom, $100K in San Francisco was enough for someone to pay their bills and have a decent place to live. That was it. There was no money leftover for 401Ks, to throw in a savings account, to finance a wedding or a honeymoon, etc. While it's certainly a better standard of living than most of the world has, a $100K salary was not enough for someone to engage in the great American pasttime of "upward mobility".
  • Re:Not quite. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wavicle ( 181176 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @04:06AM (#6831753)
    Of that, $50,000 went to Federal and California taxes, leaving me with $50K.

    50K?!?! Was your tax accountant DRUNK? You should have been at most at a 40% tax bracket. I think the year I was single, had nothing to write off and made $96K my final tax bracket was 38%.

    rent for my modest apartment cost $2,700. Add in utilities and you're smack at $3K/mo.

    How modest an apartment are we talking about? I had some friends living in that area paying $2K for a reasonable two bedroom apartment... and I thought that was ridiculous.

    How inflated are these numbers? It sounds as though your discretionary income should have been at least double what you claim.

    While it's certainly a better standard of living than most of the world has, a $100K salary was not enough for someone to engage in the great American pasttime of "upward mobility".

    Mobility was available in the area to someone with that kind of salary...

    I had friends looking to buy a house in the bay area before things started to crash. One in Dublin, one in Hayward, one in Petaluma. In all cases 3 bed 2 bath houses could be found for $350K or less. With a 100K Salary, 350K of house is about the limit of affordability. It would have made your tax bracket plummet. There are programs to get you into a first home with little to no money down.
  • Re:Bad? (Score:3, Informative)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @07:39AM (#6832173)
    Actually, I don't have any clothes made in Thailand, China, or Indonesia.

    Unless you hand-loomed the cloth and tailored them yourself, you do. There are lots of clothing "manufactureers" in the US who contract out the bulk of the work overseas (China, Cambodia, Ceylon, etc). The goods are shipped back to the US, where a final label or button is sewn on, thus allowing a "Made in the USA" label to be affixed.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @08:08AM (#6832238)
    It's all a question of lifestyle. Cars factor into it; live without a car, and you salvage anywhere from $200-400 a month even at the low end.

    I know single men that get by on $500 month, but they live a lifestyle that few people would tolerate; buying 5 lbs hamburger at the wholesale club on sale and then eating hamburgers 2 of 3 nights for two weeks. Repeat cycle for pasta, etc.

    Never buy anything but the dingiest used furniture. Buy your clothes at the used clothing store. Don't update your house (paint, modernize/fix bathroom or kitchen). Drive the junkiest car you can.

    But they also largely live alone, no girlfriend or wife and they have few social activities. Add any of those in and you can't live like that.
  • Re:Not quite. (Score:3, Informative)

    by doktor-hladnjak ( 650513 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @09:25AM (#6832443)
    For some reason I think Sweden is one of the more expensive countries in western Europe (but I don't know this for a fact, it just seems I've heard that). However, I live in Germany right now and I lived in the SF Bay Area for 5 years before moving here. The cost of living here is MUCH lower: groceries (everything except meat seems to be about 1/2 the price) and housing (this varies widely, but where I live it's about 60% less than where I lived in Berkeley) being the main driving forces. Some things are more expensive, most notably gasoline and computer-related things.

    In general, though, I lead a similarly frugal student life here for around 500 euro/month as opposed to around $1000/month (NOT including $4000/year in tuition which became student loans) in California.

  • Underpaid ?? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 30, 2003 @11:55AM (#6833102)
    "underpaid programmer in India" You have to know they are not underpaid..infact they are paid pretty well for Indian standards and Cost of Living.
  • Re:Not quite. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Shrubber ( 552857 ) <pmallett&gmail,com> on Saturday August 30, 2003 @01:03PM (#6833523) Homepage
    I had to leave the San Jose area a year ago because living there with my $70k job was putting me more in debt, month by month. I'm not the only one, there was a mass exodus of people leaving the Silicon Valley. The cost of living is simply absolutely absurd. I completely agree with you that $2000 is far too much to pay for a 2 bedroom apartment, but two years ago you were LUCKY to find a 2 bedroom for only $2000. It's simply the way it was, and if you didn't like it you had no choice but to go elsewhere. Food was more expensive ($20+ for a single pizza delivery? I get 2 large pizzas delivered now for $12!), gas was more expensive, everything was more expensive. And it wasn't that it would be hard to find a house in that price range, such things didn't exist unless you were willing to commute an hour and a half each way. If you can make it from Dublin to San Francisco in less time than that during normal business commute time, you've got some magic going on. The Silicon Valley area was absurdly overpriced, and I can only hope it is starting to come back to reality.
  • He is right ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ex-MislTech ( 557759 ) on Saturday August 30, 2003 @06:42PM (#6835298)
    A piece of evidence to this fact is a "special" city
    that has been setup in California called the city of industry .

    It has special tax laws, and special inventory exclusion laws
    to provide corporations shipping entire cargo container
    ship loads of materials through that port .

    Other places like the "city of industry" in california are
    being setup in other states as well .

    So tax dollars corporations used to pay are now bypassed
    by some greased palms, and some sleazy government approved
    accounting .

    Meanwhile in the fallout of the DOT BOMB days the common
    man is going to be stuck holding the bill and we get to
    pay for what the Corps "used to pay" .

    You will see more and more of this as time goes on .

    Keep in mind in Norman Mattloff's speech to the house and
    senate, that he knows they were paid off to the tune of
    $22 million to up the H1-b visa limit after the economy
    was already seen going south .

    The Senate in one of the most lopsided votes in history
    voted like 97 or 98 to 1 in favor of doubling the h1-b
    visa cap .

    If you think that is bad, there are NO LIMITS on L1 visa
    workers, and ppl like Tancredo in colorado and a cpl of
    Reps out of Connecticut are about the only ppl raising
    hell over their voters losing their jobs, their homes,
    and their cars .

    It is one thing to tell ppl they need to change their lifestyle
    and sell off all their over priced garbage, but to spring
    it on them with no notice and bankrupt them is another .

    This bankruptcy burden has a ripple effect that will move
    thru the entire economy .

    You think it is bad now, just wait a few years if they keep
    flooding in millions of legal and illegal workers .

    In Texas construction workers are about 80% illegals and the
    government even knows it, and some of bushes staff even had
    some employed working for them .

    Tancredo from colorado is trying to fix it, but to be honest
    apathy is king in america these days .

    Nobody gives a damn anymore, because everyone feels no one
    gives a damn about them , maybe they are right .


Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?