Go Global as the Jobs Do

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Six Strategies for Tech Professionals Looking for a New Position

It's no surprise that IT Business Edge contributor Don Tennant, who lived in Hong Kong for years, advocates being willing to relocate overseas and to learn other languages.


He even wrote about research that found that the experience of living abroad makes managers more creative and more entrepreneurial.


Those posts came to mind while reading an eWEEK article about Hackett Group research released last week, "Offshoring Driving a Jobless Recovery." The report says 2.8 million business-support jobs have been lost since 2000 and another 1 million will disappear by 2014. Of those, about 450,000 are expected to be IT jobs lost from the United States, Europe and Canada.


In explaining why so many jobs aren't coming back, InfoWorld refers to digital processes that aren't tied to a specific location, "standardization and commoditization of work, making it more portable" and higher bandwidth and improved technology.


By 2014, the finance jobs sent overseas should rival the numbers from IT as foreign service providers move up the value chain to providing analytics services and as more functions are automated, ZDNet reports.


But according to the report, the offshoring providers will feel the pain, too:

Full transactional process automation and enablement of self-service options will eventually eliminate much HR, IT, finance, and procurement work altogether and will continue to be the most sustainable strategy for structural efficiency improvement.

So how can an IT pro maintain viable skills in the face of that trend? Hackett Group chief research officer Michel Janssen told eWEEK:

The war for talent in the U.S. is finding those who have skills to manage a global group, those who have global awareness and understand the complexities in doing global business. ... "

While it's easy to pitch a fit about all the jobs going elsewhere, as Tennant pointed out in another post, we can get in the game or go home. Where to start? Janssen suggests:

  • Working to improve your communication skills.
  • Learning to manage groups of people you rarely see.
  • Adjusting to work hours outside of 9 to 5.
  • Learning about business context.
  • Focusing on customer experience.


ZDNet also quotes from the report:

... along with specialist roles, several additional skill sets will be needed to enable the scenario described in this research, providing possible new avenues for white-collar workers whose current jobs may be eliminated. First are "transformation" skills, including change management, along with program and project management. Also, management skills appropriate for globally distributed, multicultural and virtually integrated organizations will be in high demand. Finally, emerging service-oriented organizations will drive significant demand for skills in customer relationship management and service level management.