Saturday, June 10, 2006

Plenty of Jobs--in India

Yah. The Bush Administration is not likely to be talking about this:

Bank of America has been steadily moving thousands of tech jobs toIndia. The latest to go are about 100 positions that handle BofA'sinternal tech support.

While many of the bank's Bay Area techies accept the inevitability of
their jobs heading abroad, what rankles them is the fact that, in
many cases, they're being told they have to first train the Indians
who are getting their gigs.

"If people want their severance packages, they have to train their
replacements," a senior engineer at one of BofA's Bay Area facilities
told me. "There's nothing in writing that says this -- the bank's
been careful about that. But it's made clear at meetings what we're
supposed to do."

The "train your replacements or no severance" trick has been done before--in Florida, by Siemens Corp., by the way. Exquisite, no?

Worse, the BofA has been lying about the offshoring program since 1997, when it was initiated--telling the press and its employees that 'if the program is successful, no Bank employees will be laid off.' The Bank cut 900 US employees in 2002.

The program was successful, and the balance of BoA's techies will be cut during this year.

And there's more to come:

Hidden in the bill on illegal immigration passed recently by the Senate are provisions which would comprise the most aggressive expansion of the H-1B program in its history. (The bill is now awaiting conference with the House, but even if that large bill fails, a separate bill with the same provisions regarding H-1B has already been introduced.) The industry lobbyists have always threatened,"Either Congress gives us more H-1Bs or we'll have to move the workoffshore," when in fact the H-1B program is used to FACILITATE movingthe work offshore.

There's no contradiction. H1-B presence on shore is required (about 1 here for every 2 overseas) to make "offshoring" work. The fact is that the H1-B's are cheaper labor. Congressional legislation calling for "prevailing wage" is written so broadly that it is legal (and common) to pay an H1-B about 60% of comparable US workers' wages.

Don't believe it?

The fact is that starting salaries for new computer science graduates have been flat since 1999, obviously belying the industry's claim of a shortage. (See the data on the Bachelor's level in the BusinessWeek column at and see my CIS article for the Master's level, at (Private newsletter from Norm Matloff.)

Congress is unified on this--the 2000 H1-B increase pased the Senate 97-1.

Campaign contributions come from "high-tech" executives and companies, not from laid-off techies.

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