Offshoring IT can wreck someone's life

I had a meeting with an IT professional who is now unemployed after losing out in an outsourcing deal.

This guy was working in IT before I was born and I am not that young (37).

It really brings home the impact a decision made by a business to offshore IT can have on the lives of workers.

So somebody who has worked for over 40 years and paid tax all the time now can’t even get benefits because he has over £6000 savings and his wife works.

But then you have to think about the loss of over 40 years’ experience doing IT in a very niche sector.

You cannot replace this over night.

Big businesses are outsourcing the responsibility to make job cuts to service providers. I always feel the suppliers get the most criticism but te employers know what is going to happen to many of their staff when they transfer to a supplier. It can but rarely does benefit their careers.

I am sure no business takes lightly making people redundant but are short term cost gains really worth it?

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Unfortunately as the world becomes flatter and connectivity becomes faster outsourcing to lower cost locations is inevitable and will increase.

For experienced IT professionals in the UK we need to raise our game to ensure we are still valid and new roles are actually being created because of outsourcing and there are still roles for experienced near-shore on-site professionals due to the need to work closely with the business users (if these are in the UK?)

The worry is the lack of entry level IT jobs and organisations such as e-skills are trying to lobby the government to make them aware along with well known brand names (although these still outsource a lot of IT to India and beyond)

So I think the biggest issue facing the UK is the lack of entry level jobs due to these going far-shore, but Snr Roles should still be available but not just sitting programming code in front of a terminal unfortunately, unless you can prove your value...

Thanks Dominic

Thanks for your comments. Very constructive.


Dominic mentions 'roles for experienced near-shore on-site professionals due to the need to work closely with the business users (if these are in the UK?)'.

This sounds like my previous role, now being done by Indian staff here on an ICT.

Dominic is right to warn about the lack of opportunities for new entrants to the IT industry. But I fear he is far too complacent about the impact of outsourcing, offshoring and onshoring on opportunities for more experienced IT staff.

In my experience and that of many former colleagues, offshoring is laying waste to a whole tier of experienced roles, which are being downgraded and offshored as fast as possible. This eliminates current IT jobs, removing experienced IT staff from the industry, who then have a very limited time to find new jobs before their skills/experience are regarded as obsolete.

Meanwhile, there is a strong trend towards a production-line approach to software development, treating software as just another commodity that can be churned out by poorly skilled production line workers. Development roles are downgraded to "coding monkey" level, precisely in order to fill them with cheap but inexperienced onshored staff (or offshore them to equally inexperienced staff in the programming barns of Bangalore).

A few more senior roles may be retained and glorified with new technocratic titles like "solutions architect" etc, and given responsibility for all the technical decisions that can no longer be trusted to the inexperienced development staff on the production line. Unfortunately, this bone-headed approach of de-skilling the process of software creation does not necessarily yield a high quality product, and in many cases these senior technocrat roles are filled by people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, surviving repeated waves of outsourcing by sheer luck, rather than by those with the skills and experience to take on these responsibilities. And those with the skills/experience are busy rotting on the dole queue instead.

The result is that many projects I have seen in recent years could best be characterised as "coding monkeys led by donkeys", scarcely a formula for success in the 21st century. The problem is that we are losing our experienced IT skills base so fast that the UK IT industry may never be able to recover.

Contrary to Dominic's optimism, I fear UK IT workers may soon follow UK steel workers and coal miners into the industrial heritage museums of our post-industrial economic wasteland.

Offshoring to the wrong company will very much wrecked someone's life. Outsourcing works both ways. It provides jobs to people who need it. But honestly, these jobs came from people who already have it but were taken away from them.

I completely agree with the above comment, the internet is with a doubt growing into the most important medium of communication across the globe and its due to sites like this that ideas are spreading so quickly.