How to save U.S. IT jobs

10 outsourcing experts offer their proposals for restoring America's IT labor force

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Maintain America's free market system

"The current [free market] system [in the U.S.] should be sustained -- and built upon -- to improve the competitiveness of American business as well as America itself. It allows U.S. enterprises the ability to strengthen their IT competitiveness by combining the skills from the best and brightest from the U.S. and around the world. The federal government should invest heavily in math and science education, especially at the elementary through secondary school levels, to expand the skills sets needed to run the IT operations of tomorrow. It also needs to put in place programs that continue to attract the world's smartest people to America and keep them here."

-- Naresh Lakhanpal, president of Patni Americas, the North American business unit of Mumbai-based outsourcer Patni

Give businesses incentives to hire Americans

"Businesses will create U.S. jobs if it is their best option. We can make that so by creating a strong partnership across all stakeholders -- business, government, schools and the public. The 'centralized software factory' model can be developed in the U.S. to reduce the [cost] gap between offshore and domestic delivery. The government needs to provide support for such models in the form of incentives. Education policy should align skills development with business requirements, providing training incentives to IT services businesses. Immigration policy should focus on attracting top skilled talent while the rest of the talent pool is developed locally. Global services companies should be required to hire Americans for U.S. positions."

-- Neeraj Gupta, CEO of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based IT services company Systems in Motion

"There are other options [besides protectionist legislation] that the U.S. government could consider if it wants to stop Indian IT services firms from bringing temporary IT staff over to the U.S. and create an environment that fosters onshore technology employment and innovation:

  • Give Indian services firms tax-incentives that would sufficiently motivate them to hire and train U.S. IT employees. Many leading Indian firms have proved extremely good at training, developing and motivating young IT talent, so why not get us a piece of the action?
  • Give U.S. enterprises tax incentives for creating new onshore IT jobs. This won't be any harder to administer than that call center tariff.
  • Establish an oversight committee that will devise an immigration strategy to lure top talent into the country and encourage them to stay, and make sure those policies are focused and not open to abuse.
  • Create more dynamic partnerships between academic institutions and businesses. Some firms, such as Systems In Motion, are pushing the agenda, but they need a lot more investment to get anything like the scale and execution capability to be effective in the global marketplace."

-- Phil Fersht, founder of outsourcing analyst firm Horses for Sources

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