Digging your own grave

Apr 07 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

More emotive stuff here about offshoring, this time from USA Today. If just seeing your job shipped overseas isnít bad enough, it seems that some US employers are asking (OK, make that forcing) their employees to train their offshore replacements before they get given the pink slip.

Here's what typically happens: U.S. workers getting pink slips are told they can get another paycheck or beefed-up severance if they're willing to teach workers from India, China and other countries how to do their jobs. The foreign workers typically arrive for a few weeks or months of training. When they leave, they take U.S. jobs with them. The U.S. employees who trained them are then laid off.

What really grabs attention, though, is the statistic from a survey by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers that almost one in five information technology workers has lost a job or knows someone who lost a job after training a foreign worker. And seven out of ten say they would support legislation requiring companies to inform local officials if they plan to use US workers to train foreign replacements.

In an election year, numbers like these are hard to ignore, and we wouldnít be at all surprised to feel a wind of protectionism blowing in from the US if things continue as they are. With reporting like this, it isnít hard to see what side US Today is on in the debate.

Employees forced to train their replacements say the practice is a stark illustration of how the hiring of foreign workers is plundering U.S. jobs. In the next 15 years, American employers will move about 3.3 million white-collar jobs and $136 billion in wages abroad, according to Forrester Research. That's up from $4 billion in wages in 2000.

USA Today | Workers asked to train foreign replacements