General Motors recruiting 10,000 to fill IT outsourcing void is actually bad news for IT pros

Back in July General Motors (GM) announced plans to bring outsourced IT work in-house and create about 10,000 in-house IT jobs in the process.

GM’s CIO Randy Mott recently announced plans to bring 90% of outsourced IT back in-house.

The news itself is incredibly significant in the world of outsourcing because GM was not only one of the biggest IT outsourcers on earth but it was also an IT outsourcing pioneer. GM acquired a company known as EDS and turned it into its internal IT department before selling it off as a separate company, which HP bought for $13.9bn.

But when I say the creation of 10,000 internal jobs is bad news I mean it just shows how in-house IT roles, which help train people up and define careers, are few and far between if the big corporates outsource.

OK GM is an extreme example but imagine the total number of IT job vacancies that would be available if all the big banks for example brought work that is outsourced in-house. Thousands of jobs would be created.

So whilst the move by GM is an opportunity for 10,000 IT pros it is also confirmation of the lack of opportunities for IT workers to get in-house jobs. In the long run this can be damaging to IT pros opportunities and also the businesses that are outsourcing.

John Harris, chair of The Corporate IT Forum and chief architect and head of IT strategy at pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), for example told Computer weekly in a recent interview that years of outsourcing commodity IT skills means young people are not being given a chance to come into the industry.

“Yes, it may be more economical to outsource to India, but such a job may be the type of work that gives an apprentice a real grounding [in IT],” he says.

By developing skills in-house young IT apprentices who progress into future IT architecture experts will have a thorough grasp of the businesses. It may be regarded as a long-term game, but Harris believes clear career planning and progression can ultimately deliver high value to a business.

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Not sure I follow your logic in saying this is bad news for IT professionals.

Those of us still struggling to hang on in the industry know perfectly well how damaging the outsourcing/offshoring of work from large companies has been to the career prospects of existing staff in the industry and those seeking to join the industry, not to mention the quality of service to the end customer (RBS being the most recent example of the calamitous impact of "cheap-sourcing").

Unfortunately, I doubt many short-term-obsessed UK-based companies will follow GM's lead or the logical conclusion of John Harris's comments by "insourcing" jobs again, so the deliberate and cretinously self-destructive hollowing out of the UK IT sector will continue to remove opportunities for UK-based IT professionals at all levels of the industry.

Hi Matt X

Yes perhaps the way I wrote it was confusing. I was trying to make the point that the GM case reveals just how many in-house opportunities are outsourced by big business.