Not only does automation help companies reduce their payrolls, the relentless competition among IT and telecom equipment and service suppliers - and the drive to ever-higher profit levels - is causing them to shed workers instead of adding them. So says the headhunters and employment analysts at consultancy biz Challenger, Gray …
Challenger, Gray and Christmas
Best company name ever.
On the substance of the story the key question is how many sufficiently similar jobs are being advertised by tech firms doing new things and growing.
Losing your job is stressful in any situation, but its much scarier (for person and macroeconomic outlook) if the job market itself is contracting.
Damned lies and Statistics
The problem is that often the numbers only tell part of the story. They say X number of "IT workers" laid off; but how many of those are people that just do data entry or spreadsheet analysis? (i.e. not IT technical workers)
Then how many of the companies are then hiring "consultants" to do specific jobs (quite often spending more per hour but less overall) instead of keeping staff on reduced hours. Or how many jobs are being "outsourced". These are figures that are needed in order to understand the real situation.
BTW, currently on the pointed end of a major problem caused by outsourcing - I can't believe that angry staff aren't storming the office with pitchforks and blazing torches. (I've tried to estimate how much time is wasted each day in the one office just on startup each morning - I've got a figure of 125 man hours) The quality of the IT provision has nose dived, but it's outsourced so it must be cheaper right?
Re: Damned lies and Statistics
"The quality of the IT provision has nose dived, but it's outsourced so it must be cheaper right?"
It's just the self-perpetuating fail cycle the IT profession has been in lately:
- Downward pressure on salaries by automation and outsourcing
- Further downward pressure from standardization + users willing to accept lower-end solutions for ease of use
- "Early retirement" of many experienced professionals, usually replaced by one of these service companies
- Fewer intelligent people entering the field as newbies
- Fewer people left to train the newbies and give them real world insight
- Further downward pressure on salaries due to poor perception of IT
Granted, this isn't true everywhere; I have a position at a reasonably enlightened company. But I do feel sorry for people who work at companies that treat IT as a commodity akin to janitorial service. And everyone's to blame for it. I don't know how many "professionals" I've worked with over the years that intentionally fail to document systems in an attempt for "job security" (which never works out long-term BTW...) I have also worked for more than a few people (and heard many stories) that just do not get the concept of paying someone to maintain computer systems. They're absolutely aghast that it might require professional help.
I don't know what's going to happen. Personally, I'd like to see the design side become a branch of engineering with a real professional organization behind it. What's probably going to end up happening is more of what's happening now -- armies of hacks propped up by a band of roving consultants who are never in the same place for a few months at a time.
Problem with IT is that the equipment is largely small and easily transported so jobs are routinely sent off to India, Brazil and China because some number shuffler thinks they can save tuppence. Unfortunately when they do so they lose not only the knowledge that was never written down properly but any hope that any of the rest of the company will trust them.
It is amazing how many companies require 'devotion', 'the extra mile' , 'dedication', 'determination' and decades of overtime from their 'loyal' workers ... only to ditch them to cut costs or in favour of someone at $5 a day less as soon as they can....
4 companies (all run by Americans) so far have done this to me... guess what, its 5 and I'm now off home.
The recession that never was
IT was only a "recession" for those employed in fields heavily targeted by outslavers and visa abuse.
Those at the top got evermore obscene compensation as the layoffs deepened.
I work for an outsourcer (but for how much longer I don't know) and like any organisation they have a mix of people of varying abilities. I see some pretty stupid things at times and wonder why I am cleaning up messes that could (and should) have been avoided both on a customer side and as the outsourcer.
We had 2 contractors recently let go simply because their contracts were up for renewal and some beancounter said we had to get rid of bodies. These guys were experienced and knew the customer's environment inside and out - in the mean time, we've got another 160 systems coming online that will need additional resources to provide support - the organisation is now attempting to hire replacements - based overseas.
Another thing that is happening is a global contracting company who supplies labour to my organisation is bringing in foreign workers by sponsoring them, housing them etc and paying them 40% of what the local contractors get paid - this is now putting pressure on the contractors when they try to renew their contracts.
What I really want to know.....
is when are CEO's jobs going to be outsourced. I'm damn sure that there are people out there who could do the same, if not better job, for less money.
The other thing I would really like to know from these 'outsourcing 'cause it's cheaper' CEOs is, who in hell do they think is going to buy their products, which are now made in the cheapest country at the cheapest price, if all the local workers are out of a job.
You can't sell to the unemployed.
I have no idea what icon I should put with this. I was going to go with the Joke Alert, but sadly, I don't think it is a joke anymore. I guess the local workers will just have to wait around until the current outsourcing darlings, such as China & India are in such a state that their workers are too expensive, and the cost of workers in <your country of residence> are cheaper than the the outsourcee countries.
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