Where White-Collar Jobs Are Going
April 15, 2003 6:09 PM   Subscribe

Elocution lessons are helping staff working at call centres in India neutralise their accents and make their sales pitch more effective
call-center workers, computer programmers, these and other positions are being transferred to countries like India. We all know why. Only one reason, they call it Tight labor markets.

This is great news for India, but what exactly will the current call-center workers, programmers and other white collar workers in US do if their jobs will be gone to India ?
Are you worried that your position will one day be replaced by someone on the other side of the world working for 1/3 of your salary ?
posted by bureaustyle (43 comments total)

 
"Are you worried...?"

No. I think this is pretty cool, actually. It helps to spread capitalism and technology and education.

Those are good things, by the way.
posted by davidmsc at 6:14 PM on April 15, 2003


This is pretty old news. India's progressed a long way from call-center services since then. In the age of Web services, all kinds of tech facilities can be, and will be, run remotely from wherever the best "labor cost arbitrage" exists.
posted by hairyeyeball at 6:16 PM on April 15, 2003


Perhaps they will get jobs as text de-bolders. ;)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:17 PM on April 15, 2003


No.

Well, that was the short answer. The longer answer is that telephone supports, web monkeys and other jobs are really just glorified blue collar jobs. There's no more real skill involved than pushing a button on a machine in the typical automotive plant.

I design integrated circuits for a living, I could easily position myself into a place where I'm easily replaceable. I don't, I make sure that my skills are current since in my particular industry the state of the art moves so damned fast. I could take the easy way out and learn how to drive tools rather than design circuits but then I'm opening myself up to future outsourcing.
posted by substrate at 6:20 PM on April 15, 2003


Are you worried that your position will one day be replaced by someone on the other side of the world working for 1/3 of your salary ?

Any Indian tech-workers on MeFi care to answer that?

I think that the assumption some posters make that high-tech will forever stay in the west because the west is automatically more tech savy, is wrong.

It is not God given that USA will stay technology leader forever simply because TCP/IP was invented there.

On the bright side: I'm young and mobile, and India's got sunny weather.
posted by spazzm at 6:32 PM on April 15, 2003


I have a cousin that works in a call center in Calcutta. What this article doesn't mention is just how hard it is to get a call center job in India - the competition for the few jobs that are available is intense and the interview process sounds unduly rigorous. Very few of the applicants are hired and many of them take special classes in night-school to train for these positions.

It's definitely an odd thing to see so many people desperately trying to lose their lovely British/Indian accents with a weird nasally imitation of an American accent.
posted by rks404 at 6:33 PM on April 15, 2003


Will de-bold for food.
posted by hairyeyeball at 6:37 PM on April 15, 2003


I've already lost my job to someone who was willing to do it for half my salary. Back in the late 90s, the company I worked for moved our entire office to where apparently the economy was more desperate than my home Texas. There were more than enough people there willing to do what I had been doing for far less. I took it in stride and found another job. During Clinton's eight years in office, every time I got laid off from one job, I found another that paid me even more than the previous one. Then Shrub got into office and I was unemployed for a year. When I finally found a job, it was a job doing roughly what I had been doing, but at half the salary I had been making under Clinton's presidency.

So GWBush basically moved the Tennessee economy to Texas. What a great bastard.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:46 PM on April 15, 2003


keep thinking that it's ok to send jobs elsewhere just because it's monkey work. It'll really suck when those monkeys that lost their jobs get all pissed off and start rioting in the streets. Our only ray of sunshine is if the boomers can get their retirement funds in order and go off into the sunset leaving jobs for the younger folks.
posted by jbou at 6:51 PM on April 15, 2003


More importantly jbou, it'll really suck when no one has any money to buy all these fancy products we're making. Then people like substrate will start getting thinned out as well.
posted by ODiV at 6:56 PM on April 15, 2003


I am all set on going back to Bombay and working there, once I get my degree. There's very very little that will make me want to stay in the US.

As for money, while it might sound like the salary is 1/3, it's only if you sit and physically convert it. Use the coke scale. Where instead of an INR being 1/45 of a USD, it's only 1/10.
posted by riffola at 7:00 PM on April 15, 2003


You got that right, jbou and ODiV. Watch as these newly-unemployed people find out what I found out - that the last-ditch fallback jobs like McDonald's are all taken, too (at least around here they are). Then what do you do?

I truly believe it will take riots of the jobless and desperate people selling their homes and pulling out of the stock market just to put food on the table before we see any action to create more jobs. Tax cuts certainly haven't worked...
posted by beth at 7:06 PM on April 15, 2003


I'm an Indian tech-worker...

but, I was born in Opelika, Alabama, and have lived in the U.S. all my life. I've got a Southern accent, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm an American. I just happen to be of Indian descent.

I work for a consulting firm. We opened an India office to send off some of our work that doesn't involve direct involvement with the client. It's worked out well for us, and it works out well for the client since they can pay lower rates for the work that goes to India. Am I worried about my job? Not really. I am very good at what I do, and I can offer something that someone on the other end of the globe can't.

Let's go over a few economic trends and the reactions to them...

The Industrial Revolution - Luddites whined that we're all going to be replaced by machines and we won't have jobs.

The Computing Revolution - Neo-Luddites whined that we're all going to be replaced by computers.

Globalization - People whine that we're all going to be replaced by Indians (or Mexicans or the Chinese, etc.)

What has remained true through all of this? Unemployement in the U.S. has gone down. While they aren't at all time lows right now, they are fairly close. The current situation can be attributed to our economic condition these days.

Is Globalization always a good thing? No. There are many companies (Nike, Gap) that use foreign labor as a way to degrade and abuse people in positions of desparation (i.e. sweatshops).

I do sympathize with the people who are going to lose their jobs. It sucks to get laid off, I've been there. That's the price we pay to live in a capitalistic society. It's funny, the people who scream the loudest about this issue are the same people who would take it as a personal attach if you asked them if they were communists.
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:16 PM on April 15, 2003


...and by "personal attach", of course I means "personal attack"
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:19 PM on April 15, 2003


Hey guys, let's not forget the "brain drain" factor here. I lived in India for a while, and "brain drain" is a big problem for them. "Brain drain" (last time I put it in quotation marks, I promise), is when people get their degrees in engineering, economics, or computer skills in India and immediately head West.

When they get to the US or Canada, they send money back home to their families, but don't do much to further the cause of India as a country. Even though they have the skills, they use them to develop technology for North American companies.

If this helps combat the brain drain, I'm all for it. Hopefully they can keep some of their talent at home. If there's a country that could do great things with an economic/skills/pride infusion, it's India.

The place needs work. I'm saying this as a guy who lives 15 minutes from Newark. Good for them.
posted by Samsonov14 at 7:20 PM on April 15, 2003


Sorry about the self-link, but it is especially appropriate. It's an image I put together that explains globalization. I think eventually the human race will just be able to automate everything, so that we won't have to work. In the meantime, as automation / cheap labor proliferates, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. However, when there becomes so many poor and so few rich, the rich will have to subsidize the poor so that they can continue to make profits. It's only my personal theory, but let me know what you think.
posted by banished at 7:23 PM on April 15, 2003


AaRdVarK, I hope you take what I'm saying the right way. Keeping talent in India would be a huge boost to Indians. I'm glad to see that people with tech (or other) skills are staying in India. I can't wait for Bangalore to become the next Silicon Valley.

(University of Mysore '96)
posted by Samsonov14 at 7:28 PM on April 15, 2003


No problem. Those Indian techies will all be completely stressed out, and we Westerns will have a lucrative future teaching them yoga to help them relax.
posted by homunculus at 7:34 PM on April 15, 2003


Fighting the brain drain is going to be tough. The fact of the matter is that people in India want to come to the U.S. because of the opportunities here, and they have such a romanticized view of the U.S. that it would be impossible to convince them otherwise.

My parents are both from Bangalore. I have lots of family there. My dad's a computer science professor, and he gets emails and phone calls from friends of the family in India looking to get sponsorship to come over. He does what he can for everyone, but only the smart ones are let over.

Now take these smart ones. They come over, make a go of it, and become successful. They go back to India to visit, everybody sees them, and thinks, "If I can just make it to America, that could be me."

I don't know what the answer is to that. I haven't been keeping tabs on Indian politics in awhile, but the last I heard, it's still just as bad a mess as it always was, and they're all blinded by the money that western corporations are waving around as they start developing over there.
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:50 PM on April 15, 2003


Hey, this is a pretty good thread. I'm interested in the views of the Indians here. Talking with an organizer of the Indian Social Forum earlier this year, he said India is making a concerted attempt to reverse its "brain drain." It seems to be working, if slowly. Many Indian tech entrepreneurs plow gringo dollars back into tech concerns at home, for example, as I've read.

Reminds me of Brazil. The U.S. trade representative told them they could "go trade with Antarctica" if they didn't want to join the FTAA. Instead, they're firming up ties with Europe and India. There goes the empire.
posted by hairyeyeball at 8:32 PM on April 15, 2003


What has remained true through all of this? Unemployement in the U.S. has gone down. While they aren't at all time lows right now, they are fairly close. The current situation can be attributed to our economic condition these days.

Are you saying that U.S. jobs going elsewhere (India, Mexico, etc.) has had no effect on unemployment rates?
posted by gluechunk at 8:42 PM on April 15, 2003


Tight labor markets? Are you living in some parallel universe? The U.S. economy shed more than 450,000 jobs in February and March, and something like 1.5 million jobs have disappeared in the last year. I'm not talking about people who lost their jobs (that's happening at a pace exceeding 400,000 a week). I'm talking about jobs that -- poof! -- disappear, without another job being created elsewhere. The unemployment rate didn't rise last month because the government counts only people who are looking for jobs, not people who have given up looking for jobs.

This is the problem with citing a 3-year-old magazine story. There was a tight job market in the late 90s, and maybe some people thought there were more jobs available than qualified employees in 2000. But in most industries, this is no longer the case in the United States in 2003.

I'm reminded of a bumper sticker I saw last month: "Another Bush, another recession."
posted by Holden at 9:12 PM on April 15, 2003


ZachsMind: A care package is on the way... INCLUDING an autographed picture of Bill Clinton.
posted by Witty at 9:17 PM on April 15, 2003


I know lots of people here in Texas who have been replaced by H-B1 visa workers or off-shore dev houses. On my street alone, in a recently built neighborhood, 1 out of every 5 houses is for sale. All of them casualties of being replaced by cheaper offshore labor.

Across the country, American IT workers are claiming discrimination because they are being laid off in droves, and the jobs are being filled by non-Americans. For example, in fiscal year 2002, a year of outstanding layoffs...businesses claimed a "tight labor market", and were allowed to bring in another 300,00+ H1b visa workers...almost all of whom were paid significantly less than the American counterpart would have earned. The total number of H1b visa holders is over one million workers.

I personally have been approached by recruiters and companies who have asked me to work for less than a third of what I was earning a year ago. In every case, they've said that they have an H1b who will take a the gig for that rate.

And yes, I hear those of you who will say "Hey...if you really wanted the job, you'd do if for that price!" And if I could figure out how to make less money than it would cost me in daycare charges, fuel, and office attire and still keep working as a geeky project manager, I probably would. I love the work. But, when my babysitter makes more money than I'm being offered...I know it's time to look around for something else to do.
posted by dejah420 at 9:50 PM on April 15, 2003


Aardvark, your analysis of the historical trends tend to overlook the problems associated with specialization. Before industrialization, there were few jobs that couldn't be learned in a couple of years. As we have progressed and evolved, our technology has outpaced our ability to adapt. To put it simply, I can use a VCR but I can't build one. It used to be that programming, for example, was a field that required advanced knowledge that the average person didn't have. Of course, I remember when I was the only person I knew that owned a computer. Those times are gone.

As professional fields become more and more specialized, there is a ever widening gap between the time it takes to learn how to do something and the market longevity of whatever it is you're trying to do. I could spend the next couple of years trying to learn how to design IC's, but there are people who are way ahead of me. And by the time I learn, the rest of the world's specialists will be designing on the quantum level, with initial costs to enter the market increasing exponentially with the complexity of the system.

I look back with envy at those great inventors of the last two centuries, because in those days the things they invented could be invented by a single person working hard and thinking outside the box. But look at what products are being built today. There is simply no way you as an individual can compete with the financial and intellectual resources of large multinationals. And they, in turn, spend there time automating production so you practically don't need a human to actually build the things in quantity.

I spent the better part of the last decade working with computer design and art. Now I am sneered at by other "professionals" who tell me I should have picked a better career choice as my potential clients look overseas for cheaper labor. That's fine. Just wait another decade when "financial consultants" from India or China start causing big firms like Solomon Smith Barneys or Morgan Stanley to fire their excess MBA's. Already many companies are outsourcing their accounting to cheap number crunchers halfway around the globe.

And in a few decades, there will be practically no unskilled labor jobs left in the U.S., and the ones that remain (service industry) will not be able to pay the bills. You'd think perhaps getting a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt to get a college degree might help, but it won't, because today's middle class and white collar jobs will be gone, too. So what's left? How do you make a living? Sorry for the tirade, but I tell you, the future scares the shit out of me.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:46 PM on April 15, 2003


Banished - re: " I think eventually the human race will just be able to automate everything, so that we won't have to work. In the meantime, as automation / cheap labor proliferates, the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. However, when there becomes so many poor and so few rich, the rich will have to subsidize the poor so that they can continue to make profits. It's only my personal theory, but let me know what you think.".......that's not just your personal theory - it's a common sci-fi meme of sorts, and the Unabomber voiced a similar scenario, albeit with much darker overtones: a scenario where most humans were reduced to the status of domestic animals.




".....The longer answer is that telephone supports, web monkeys and other jobs are really just glorified blue collar jobs. There's no more real skill involved than pushing a button on a machine in the typical automotive plant."

Most anthropologist would beg to differ with a denigration of "telephone supports, web monkeys and other jobs"...

Given that humans are (currently) the most complex biological systems we know of - along with dolphins, or maybe elephants, and perhaps a few other higher endangered mammals - it would stand to reason that those humans who interacted socially with others of their species might be using more brainpower than other humans who merely interacted merely with machines (or who designed chips).


"Let's go over a few economic trends and the reactions to them...

The Industrial Revolution - Luddites whined that we're all going to be replaced by machines and we won't have jobs.

The Computing Revolution - Neo-Luddites whined that we're all going to be replaced by computers.

Globalization - People whine that we're all going to be replaced by Indians (or Mexicans or the Chinese, etc.)

What has remained true through all of this? Unemployement in the U.S. has gone down. While they aren't at all time lows right now, they are fairly close........"

I have heard assesments of unemployment in the US which difffer (rather radically) from this glossy take : the US employment profile changes dramatically, for example, when one factors in those US males who have 1) never entered the offical job market, 2) "left" the job market (by way of imprisonment, for example), 3) or who have given up looking for jobs.
posted by troutfishing at 10:46 PM on April 15, 2003


I imagine the trend is that Indian people will work harder and for less money than their US or UK counterparts. Still, it does piss me off when I phone a British company and get put through to a Bangalore call centre - with a strong Indian accent and a delay on the line - and they _pretend_ that they're in England (some of them even have local British weather conditions on their computer screens, or so I've heard.) Maybe these companies should just admit they're globalising and we could be more honest about the situation.
posted by skylar at 11:52 PM on April 15, 2003


Beth wrote: "I truly believe it will take riots of the jobless and desperate people selling their homes and pulling out of the stock market just to put food on the table before we see any action to create more jobs."

You so expect others to create more jobs for you, you're willing to riot in the streets for it? Why not spend the energy trying to create a job for yourself instead?

Civil_Disobedient wrote: "There is simply no way you as an individual can compete with the financial and intellectual resources of large multinationals"

Yeah, we all know Michael Dell, the Yahoo guys, and Evan Williams (blogger) had a huge multinational corp backing them when they started up...

People all around the world are getting smarter, thanks to the spread of capitalism and thus wealth. As a result, it may not be enough to be able to press two buttons and pull the occasional lever to make a living. Tough luck. Specialize, educate yourself, brand you. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
posted by dagny at 1:09 AM on April 16, 2003


When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

thank you for the cliche.

A stitch in time saves nine.

What goes up must come down.

For every complex problem there is a solution which is straightforward, simple,
and wrong
.               Oops, that's not a cliche--that's H.L. Mencken!
posted by y2karl at 1:39 AM on April 16, 2003


Maybe he means the tough get going to India? I hear there's loads of IT jobs and the cost of living is cheaper, I would'nt even have to learn a new language.
posted by Damienmce at 2:39 AM on April 16, 2003


You know in roadrunner cartoons when the coyote gets sliced into about a million pieces, and looks out at you, a bit discombobulated, understanding he's completely fucked, just before he collapses into a pile of chunks?

That's America.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:37 AM on April 16, 2003


I am all set on going back to Bombay and working there, once I get my degree. There's very very little that will make me want to stay in the US.

Awww, riffy...even the charms of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge don't sway you?
posted by Vidiot at 4:44 AM on April 16, 2003


Stavros -- That's by far the best comment I've read in a very, very long time.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:57 AM on April 16, 2003


Yeah, we all know Michael Dell, the Yahoo guys, and Evan Williams (blogger) had a huge multinational corp backing them when they started up...

I can't speak to Evan's startup capital...but Michael Dell and Jerry Yang (yahoo) had significant startup funds. When I say significant, I mean 7+ figures.

Also, let's keep in mind that Dell and Yahoo have both laid off thousands and thousands of workers...with the jobs being outsourced to India. Almost all of Dell's customer support is now being handled by Indian outsourcing and the majority of their internal code is being written by H1B visa holders...some of whom are PhD's working for less than $25k a year. No American who is still paying off their college loans after getting a doctorate in CS can take a job that pays less than what nursery school teachers make.

Also, lets remember that Dell and Yahoo rewarded their executives with bonuses that neared the 50 million dollar mark...while laying off huge numbers of American workers, claiming that workers "weren't cost effective".

I'm just saying...Mike and Jerry aren't really good examples of the Horatio Alger myth. And they certainly couldn't give a rat's ass about their workers, their impact on the American economy, or frankly anything other than the bottom line and how it impacts their ability to get another zillion dollar bonus at the expense of the workers and the shareholders.

And Stav, have I mentioned how much I adore you? 'cause I do. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 7:25 AM on April 16, 2003


I am one of the lucky ones to get rehired in five months. I have friends who are still looking, some have stopped. I am also H1-B worker, but my understanding of the situation is a little different. Most recruiters have told me that companies are finding enough workers in the local market and therefore not investing in sponsoring H1-B workers. It is costly to sponsor H1-B workers. It cost my current employer around US $3500 to sponsor me and I had to share the cost. Secondly, there are rules in place like the employer has to prove that they have made efforts to employee in the local market etcetra. On the other hand lawyers always find ways around it.

It is true that a dominant majority of H1-B workers work for cheaper rates/wages than American workers. But on the other hand, we are never even offered any thing close to what local workers start with. Its not that we dont want to be paid more, we simply dont have that option.

When it comes to globalization, nothing is going to expand that as much as web services. Not even Application Service Providers (ASPs) make it simpler than web services.
posted by adnanbwp at 7:40 AM on April 16, 2003


It depends, are call centerites and hi-tech workers going to be on the spaceship with the telephone-sanitizers and hairdressers, or the other one?
posted by blue_beetle at 7:47 AM on April 16, 2003


The call center people and IT guys will be scheduled on the other spaceship. Their immediate supervisors will be corralled into the beta ship and asked to take off first.

Why? Cuz it's the call center guys who have to convince the hair dressers and telephone sanitizers of the world to get on the beta ship, and it's the IT guys who will make everything from the civilian database mailing invites to the actual takeoff sequence flawless. Ya don't wanna tick off the guys who will make it happen for you.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:51 AM on April 16, 2003


Realize that different amounts of money can equal the same standard of living in different places; I live in St. Louis, which as a very low cost of living, whereas several of my colleagues live in San Jose, which has a very high cost of living. Although my place in the corporate hierarchy is around Associate Vice President or so, my salary is comparable to that of an admin assistant's in SJ. Less money does not always equal less comfort.

In general, I think this is how comapnies should go about outsourcing labor, instead of the children-in-Manilla methodology used most often, which is just repulsive. The standard of living, education and mobility of people is increased, while at the same time corporate expenses are reduced, maximizing profits, creating shareholder value, and making the company stronger.

OK, yes, there is a mindset in corporate America today that believes in the cognitive dissonance of big exec bonuses + staff layoffs. This is ultimately self-defeating, especially nowadays, when even the WSJ and Fortune rail against CEO excess. If Dell (and all companies) continue to do this, staff will leave for companies that don't and Dell will ultimately suffer. Sure, today's execs will be rich, but there won't be any company for tomorrow's execs.

Ebb and flow. America is just fine, Stav, and this is a good example of why - flexibility, trust in market effects, resilience in the face of constant change. Layoffs are not a harbinger of armageddon, they are simply a tool to address current market conditions, to be used when necessary. When better economic times return (which they undoubtedly will, and probably soon, according to our forecasters), comnpanies will hire again. Your personal defense is (a) be the best, most valuable employee you can be while retaining balance with your personal life, (b) be aware that downturns occur, and be prepared to act when they affect you, (c) plan ahead, save some dough for a rainy day, take a new class, learn a new skill - just in case. Ultimately, you are responsible for your well-being, andf the well-being of those in your care. Do what you have to, to ensure you and yours are provided for.
posted by UncleFes at 8:55 AM on April 16, 2003


banished, your picture is pretty interesting, but I think it contains a fundamental flaw: you neglect the role of the environment. All of that you describe there happens in a planet, not in some "ideal" boundless heaven. Nice work, though.
posted by samelborp at 9:15 AM on April 16, 2003


State Farm corporate headquarters in Bloomington, IL(pop. ~150,000) employs 15,000 people, and is the largest employer in that town by about a factor of 4.

In about 5 years half of those people aren't going to work there. They are as doomed as a Pittsburgh steel mill worker was in 1970.

Bloomington will go from a prosperous little community, with a surplus of middle class jobs with full benefits, to a college town with a car plant and an unemployment rate of about 9%.

And the same thing is going to happen to hundreds of other prosperous little towns across the USA.

Globalization is going to result in an equalization of wages across common markets, and the end result in the US is going to mean pay cuts for lots of white collar jobs, not just IT.

While the talented IC designer might always have options, most of the economy is not made up of superstars, but regular workers(not everyone can be above average). A lot of these people are in the last days of what will be the peak earnings period of their whole lives, and they don't even know it.

And if the average worker gets wind of these trends, and decides to reduce their debt, reduce their expenditures, and generally reduce their needed income in the face of harsh new realities , what happens to the world's number one market for goods, the good old middle class buyer?

Sure hope the Indian and Chinese markets for goods sold to the newly financially empowered middle class in Asia picks up as quickly as the market could drop off here in the US, because otherwise we're looking at a little gap that could be one heck of a world wide recession.

Add to this the impending entry into the Social Security and Medicare pools of millions of baby boomers, and I think we have the makings of a Perfect Storm.

Better batten down those hatches, kids, because it's going to get a bit choppy.
posted by dglynn at 11:19 AM on April 16, 2003


Your personal defense is (a) be the best, most valuable employee you can be while retaining balance with your personal life, (b) be aware that downturns occur, and be prepared to act when they affect you, (c) plan ahead, save some dough for a rainy day, take a new class, learn a new skill - just in case. Ultimately, you are responsible for your well-being, andf the well-being of those in your care.

This is, of course, wise and fairly standard advice for those of us in the middle class and higher, with some education and some skills. I suspect that it is less useful to the increasing number of people on the fringe, in the permanent part-time, benefitless jobs which proliferate at the moment, and nothing but mouthnoise to the increasing numbers of outright poor. The permanent underclass is growing, and this kind of well-intentioned peptalk doesn't do much for them, I'm afraid.

Do what you have to, to ensure you and yours are provided for.

Truth. It's all you can do.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:31 PM on April 16, 2003


vidiot: Awww, riffy...even the charms of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge don't sway you?
Nah, I love NYC, but Bombay has everything NYC has to offer, well almost everything, and it has one big advantage. It's home.
posted by riffola at 6:17 PM on April 16, 2003


WOW - I saw this thread kind of late. I hope it's still alive.

As someone who is graduating this summer with an undergraduate CS degree from an American university, has friends who work in call center in India and am interested in the history of science and technology, this is a very interesting thread.

Almost everything I wanted to say has been voiced by someone here; but i will say this:

It was bound to happen. The cost of hardware was going down (still is) and the cost of software was going up (very fast). there had to be some sort of new innovation to counteract the raising prices of software development. while this didn't come in the form of new ways of writing software it came in the form of an educated labor force dire for opportunity in India.

I have spoken to many people for whom the whole outsourcing experience hasn't worked out too well. I have heard complaints about inability to keep up with schedules and things like that. I have also heard that in India they are not very good at writing interfaces for users. The cultural difference is a problem for interface designers.
posted by nish01 at 12:38 PM on April 17, 2003


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