Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Both You And Your Job Have Been Moved to India

A few weeks ago, I noted in a quick blog post that IBM has a new method of outsourcing -- not only are they moving the job overseas, they are also moving the people.

That is, IBM is apparently accepting volunteers to move to India and other emerging growth countries. But (as always) there are catches: 1) if you do not volunteer there is a decent chance your job will be outsourced anyway (but without you); and 2) you will be paid the prevailing local wages (although IBM is apparently offering "financial assistance to offset moving costs, ... immigration support, such as visa assistance, and other support to help ease the transition of an international move.")

When I initially heard about the program, I have to admit I was skeptical as to whether it would appeal to IBM employees. However, the other day I had coffee with an ex-IBM guy that still has many friends at big blue. His (admittedly anecdotally based) opinion is that many of the eligible IBM employees look at this offer as a great opportunity. Typically, the employees interested in accepting this offer are natives of the countries that they would return to -- and they still have extensive family and business networks in place. Further, I am told that the "prevailing local wage" is actually quite comfortable and often provides for a superior standard of living to that affordable in the States (assuming standard of living is measured in things like having a gated building, a driver and a housekeeper. Having been to India multiple times, I might have different personal benchmarks.) So I guess my skepticism is unwarranted -- and honestly, the more I think about it, the more I can see the appeal.

The only remaining question is what to call this program -- outsourcing squared? Reverse outsourcing? I'm open to suggestions.


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Dividends and Preferences by Hank Heyming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.