WASHINGTON It's clear, as was shown on our 2008 Salary Survey, that readers of this publication are deeply concerned about the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, especially engineering jobs.
Ron Hira's guest column Opinion: The Obama administration promotes outsourcing, prompted a range of reactions from readers. (We are still waiting to get the Obama administration's response.)
Here's a sample from our reader forum:
Lewis Sternberg: What we have now is the worst of all cases. We bring in workers to take our jobs, train them and then make them go away and compete against us from offshore. If we're going to bring in all this talent, we should only bring in the best, hand them green cards and a road to citizenship. We need to turn this into a program that enriches all of America now and in the future -- not just shortsighted CEOs.
"GoPalm": [Hira] "is seeing the Obama administration's policies through a narrow prism: 1.) Only two weeks have gone by. I am willing to give the President more time. Don't forget that this economic crisis was not planned, and has to take priority over everything else; 2.) We cannot judge the administration based on the past views of certain nominees. The vision and marching orders still have to come from the top; 3.) I agree that H1-B visas help U.S.-based jobs. This country is willing to legalize 12 million unskilled workers from Latin America but can't go beyond 65,000 trained engineers and scientists a year? It takes over a million dollars to educate an EE. We can get that for free by just promising the poor guy a chance to work hard and pay taxes here."
"MarkVZ": "As long as the sole purpose of a CEO's existance is to show a profit for the shareholders for the next quarter (not next year, five years, etc.), outsourcing will continue to grow. It takes a senior-level experenced engineer to sucessfully manage an outsourced project doing the work that the newbie's used to do to gain experience. So, when the senior leaves, there will be nobody with the experience to take over.... I think that the U.S. companies should start outsourcing the CEO jobs which would save engineering jobs about 100 to 1."
"Expendable crewman #1": "Why is it that executives that promote offshoring jobs never seem to include their jobs? If a $5,000/year engineer is better for the company than a $100,000/year engineer, then surely a $1.5 million/year executive is better for the company than a $30 million/year executive."
"JustSayNo": "I am an electrical engineer with 22 years of experience. I will not allow either of my children to become engineers. There is no point in them pursuing this unstable career that has no future in the USA."
"HiggsBoson": Does Dr. Hira propose that U.S. companies be required to pay higher wages to a restricted labor pool to fill the same jobs that companies elsewhere can fill at a substantially lower cost structure (even accounting for health care, environmental laws, work conditions and other factors)? The logical conclusion of this is that companies will incorporate outside the U.S. and be free of such artificial constraints in order to maintain competitiveness, ultimately costing the U.S. dearly. Dr. Hira's protectionist stance is a dead end which would, in 20 years, have Silicon Valley looking much like Detroit does today."