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Offshoring Due To Lack of Trained Workers? Talk To the Hand

I've only had one cup of coffee this morning and I'm still in slightly-grumpy "talk to the hand" mode, but a new study isn't sitting very well with me.

The Duke Fuqua School Of Business and The Conference Board have released a new survey that asked U.S. companies about their reasons for offshoring jobs, about the job functions they're sending abroad, and so forth. In other words, offshoring trends.

Essentially, companies told the researchers the main reason they're offshoring jobs is not for the cost savings, but because U.S. workers lack the skills needed to do the work.

Sorry, but I'm not buying what this study is selling. There are millions of U.S. workers with great skills and a lot of newly-discovered free time to put to good use on the job. Their skills might be a bit rusty because they're not using them at the moment, but they're smart, innovative and they can learn quickly if a bit of training is required. Let's be honest here: U.S. companies are offshoring mainly for the perceived cost savings. Offshoring is a money issue that's being framed as a skills issue. Maybe it's not surprising the study finds U.S. employees in the software sector -- who traditionally have made pretty good money -- are the most likely to be affected by offshoring.

Companies are finding, however, that offshoring knowledge jobs is leading to lower efficiencies because they have to train new workers, comply with a foreign country's regulations and so on, which only goes to show that there's always going to be a hidden cost somewhere.

It's time for our country to have an intellectually honest conversation about offshoring. Studies like this one don't help move us in that direction. In the meantime, I need another cup of coffee.

Click here for more about the study.


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