Offshoring of U.S. IT Jobs Continues to Increase

So does onshoring; you've got to pick your specialty

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India's second-largest outsourcer reported a 29.6 percent increase in revenue for its most recently closed quarter, expects revenue in its current quarter to be almost 27 percent higher than last year and projects that revenue for the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2011 to be 25 percent higher than 2010.

Bangalore, India-based Infosys Technologies is the first of the big-three Indian outsourcers to report results for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The other two -- Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro are expected to show similar results.

Much of that increase in business for all three companies comes from U.S. firms -- two thirds of overall revenue in the case of Infosys. Ten or 15 years ago you could safely have assumed 1,000 new employees for a Bangalore outsourcer working for U.S. companies meant something close to 1,000 lost IT jobs in the U.S.

Globalization and technology (and the politics of trade) make that equation a lot more complicated. Infosys just announced it would create 1,000 new jobs in the U.S. -- some undoubtedly new immigrants using H-1B visas, but most, because of the shortage of H-1B visas, are going to have to be either U.S. citizens or foreign nationals already working here legitimately.

Computerworld's Pat Thibideau reports that Infosys has between 14,000 and 15,000 workers in the U.S., ouf of a global total of more than 122,000. When it lands a contract in the U.S. it divides projects so that 30 percent of each is accomplished in the country of origin, and the rest elsewhere.

In fact, it's not just Indian-national companies that are hiring more U.S. workers for outsourcing and other service jobs, according to Tom Kiblin, CEO of cloud- and location-hosting company Virtacore .

Data-center locations aren't the key; it's possible to build high-quality, reliable data centers almost anywhere these days, Kilbin says. The 87 or so Equinix has built around the world to support global telecoms and large multinationals is proof of that.

The real skills -- designing and building cloud and virtual infrastructures, adapting legacy applications to run well on them, training others to do the same and troubleshoot problems when they come up -- is a very rare skill set that even big service providers have to look hard to find.

"We hire a lot more of these guys than even a big user company, because that's what we do for a living," Kiblin says. "So, yeah, service providers are usually willing to pay a higher salary to get what we want, but having to look that hard and offer premiums means there aren't that many of those guys out there."

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