Lordie, if this isn’t disingenuous, I don’t know what is. From the Financial Times:
US universities are producing too few engineers to meet industry demand, Indian outsourcing companies say, leaving such businesses little choice but to hire foreign skilled workers to fill jobs in America
And why are there so few students studying computer science? Because there are no (well, more accurately, hardly any) entry level jobs. I’ve been reading about this on Slashdot for YEARS, about the utter dearth of anything resembling a career path in IT. Yes, there are no doubt ways to brute force getting trained, but that cold reality is not the sort of situation that encourages college students, particularly ones that have student loans, to pursue a technically-oriented field of study.
And the proximate cause is that companies only want to hire people that they don’t need to train (the cliche is that they can “hit the ground running”), and that they can get away with it because a lot of junior level work is farmed out to outsourcers.
But you’d never glean this from the FT, which takes the outsourcers’ complaints at face value:
“If you look at the core of what we do, the technology work, the US simply doesn’t have the talent base today,” said Francisco d’Souza, Cognizant president and chief executive. “Although unemployment in the US today is high, IT unemployment is still very low.”
Yves here. Yes, IT unemployment might be very low now, but for how many years was it higher than in other industries? My sample (high end IT consultants, the sort that can build mission critical systems and do cutting edge Web and apps development) is admittedly biased, but lots of high end shops shuttered, and another I know went through a Chapter 11. Things have gotten much better for them lately, but most of the last decade was pretty grim. So if the guys who weren’t competing with outsourcers had it rough, how was it for the rest of the industry?
Indian outsourcing companies usually keep a small portion of their workforce in the US to work closely with clients, supported by the bulk of their staff in development centres in India.
But the protectionism move – a senator who sponsored the legislation described Indian outsourcing companies as “chop shops”, a reference to garages that dismantle and sell stolen cars – may have little impact.
About 70 per cent of US PhD students are foreign born and are often hired in the US, making their way into Silicon Valley or government agencies such as Nasa, said Partha Iyengar, of Gartner, the consultancy.
Yves here. I’d like some reader comment, but the idea of a PhD as the proxy for talent in this space sounds questionable. The one highly regarded systems architect I know who does have a PhD has it in physics, not computer science.
Mr. Iynengar does comment on the real problem now that the horse has left the barn and is in the next county:
“The bigger challenge for the US is, if they start to lose this talent at the lower end, the innovation engine that has been driving the economy starts to dry up,” Mr Iyengar said.