A Thursday post on CTOEdge, one of IT Business Edge's network sites, carried an eye-catching headline: "Indians Say U.S. Workers Are Right to Be Angry." The post, written by freelance writer Wayne Rash, was referring to the loss of U.S. jobs to Indians due to outsourcing. Eye-catching as it was, there was just one problem with the post: It was terribly misleading. The fact is, according to the poll Rash cited, a significant majority of Indians say no such thing.
Let's begin with a look at Rash's post:
When the Indian SMS-based social network GupShup polled Indian workers in that nation's technology hubs, it got quite a surprise. Tech workers in Bangalore, the biggest technology outsourcing hub in India said they felt that they understood the anger of American workers at losing their jobs to outsourcing. According to the company's Senior Director and Head of Marketing Vishal Nongbet, 45 percent of Indian workers polled understand the American sentiments, but nevertheless are proud of the jobs they do for American companies.
Well, wait a minute. That means the majority of tech workers in Bangalore don't understand the anger of American workers at losing their jobs to outsourcing. So why use the results of the poll to exaggerate the case and suggest that there's some sort of consensus among Indians that the anger of U.S. workers is understandable?
And it gets more perplexing. According to a report on the GupShup poll by expressbuzz.com, the Bangalore results didn't reflect the findings of the entire poll, which was conducted in four technology hubs in India. If you look at the results across all four cities, it turns out that only 38 percent of the respondents believe U.S. anger is justified. So a far more accurate headline for coverage of this story would be, "Nearly Two-thirds of Indians Say Anger of U.S. Workers Is Unfounded."
The expressbuzz report noted that even the 38 percent figure is considered high, given recent media coverage in India of changing U.S. immigration policies. But that certainly shouldn't give anyone the license to infer a generality of opinion.
All of this begs the question of what difference it makes whether Indians understand the anger of U.S. technology workers, or feel it's justified. It makes a difference because no contentious issue can be resolved without a mutual understanding of and appreciation for where the other guys are coming from. Indian workers need to understand the frustration of U.S. workers who lose their jobs to outsourcing, just as U.S. workers need to understand the reality of a global economy and why the outsourcing option is a business imperative.
Suggesting that the understanding of either side is more widespread than it really is serves no one's best interests. Let's not be afraid of the facts. Let's face them, and have the courage and determination to resolve the issues they define.