Working in the IT industry, I know that there is something whispered on the higher floors of a company, that the low level minions should not hear. And that thing is ‘outsourcing’. By that term I don’t mean only hiring one or more contractors to finish a project or help someone’s job. I’m talking about the phenomenon of uprooting a whole team or department and replacing them with cheaper labour in a distant country.
This trend is not of course something new. I can remember from my early school years, living in the northern part of Greece, small industries moving to the other side of the borders, to Bulgaria, saving millions of that old forgotten (?) currency. I heard conversations after conversations about the bloody taxes imposed by the government that pushed small companies away to a country just a few kilometres away, where labour was cheaper and taxes were lower.
The company I work for at the moment has its headquarters in the UK. There are of course local offices in various corners of the Earth, including the South and South East Asia, which are popular destinations for outsourced IT departments. There are minor helpdesk departments in these offices, but till now they weren’t responsible for anything major. However, there is a new discussion going on in London, about how the non-profitable IT department should improve effectiveness but cut costs at the same time! I really love it when managers and directors become all poetic like that and announce these major ideas!
Anyway, there is a storm brewing. A colleague of mine has already been sent to investigate how and if the company can set up an office of developers somewhere at the Indochinese Peninsula to save some money from hiring developers in the UK. This prospect is scary, since lots of the people I work with will no longer be needed and their cheaper replacements will be easily found. I’m not sure if my position is threatened. I’d like to believe that ‘not yet’. I’m not a full time developer per say. I work in a special division, close to the decision makers of the company here. So, hopefully, I’ll be alright for a year or two? However, there is that can of worms that now opened and the future is unpredictable.