Wednesday, April 07, 2004

What comes after offshoring?

There's an interesting story today on about the offshoring of technology jobs.

What does it mean? This is something I've been thinking about lately, since we're seeing some of the results of this here in Hamilton. This city is dependent on manufacturing jobs, which just don't make sense any more, now that a lot of this stuff can be done cheaper elsewhere. So we're seeing steel companies in big trouble, and just up the road from me, CAMCO has announced that they're closing their Hamilton operation, throwing 800 people out of work. Is this the future for North American workers? When a company can find people in other countries to work for just dollars a day, why would they pay Canadian workers to do the same thing? Shareholders demand the lowest costs, right?

This will be an interesting debate in the weeks ahead. The outsourcing of American jobs is a major campaign issue in the US right now, and it won't be long before Canadian politicians are talking about it too in a Canadian election. There are a lot of important issues this what globalization is all about? for years, companies have been sending their product manufacturing to countries where labour costs are cheaper. Made in Japan (or China or Korea...etc) has meant cheaper costs for years. But the "brainy" part of the business has stayed home. The product development, or in the technology business, the software engineers, programmers and highly-skilled support types, were working on the home front. But that's changing, and it's happening fast. And suddenly, there are a lot more white collar types walking around without a job to move to...

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