by Peter Sayer

Staffing: How to Save IT Jobs

Apr 01, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

As more IT functions are moved offshore to developing countries, there are ways for IT workers in developed countries to improve their chances of staying employed, according to a report from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Savvy students and IT workers already know they should obtain a strong educational foundation, learn the technologies used in the global software industry and keep those skills up-to-date throughout their careers if they want to keep their jobs.

But they need to adopt other strategies if they want to remain in the technology field in the long term, according to the ACM, an international association of scientists, academics and other professionals involved in advancing IT. These strategies include developing good teamwork and communication skills, getting management experience and becoming familiar with other cultures. IT workers can also choose jobs in industries and occupations less likely to be automated or sent to a low-wage country, such as positions that require discretionary judgment or knowledge of trade secrets, the ACM’s Job Migration Task Force says in a report titled “Globalization and Offshoring of Software.”

One surprising conclusion of the report is that it’s not just lower-skilled jobs that are moving offshore: High-level research is also moving from Europe and the United States to India and China, as improvements in graduate education systems in those countries are increasing the number of qualified researchers.

However, the report says, governments in the United States and other developed nations can ensure that good IT jobs continue to be created through policies that promote research and development, improve education, enable foreign scientists and technologists to be employed in these countries, and encourage fair trade.