Outsourcing jobs: Economic chicken and egg

The head of a Bangladore-based company that specializes in outsourcing information technology had tough words for the U.S. educational system today. In the process, he recalibrated the debate over why the U.S. is losing jobs to overseas workers. Is it about the cost of doing business here? Or the lack of well-educated Americans?

Speaking on CNBC today, Azim Premji of WIPRO suggested if Americans are unhappy at the number of jobs being sent overseas, they need only blame insufficient education.

Premji was responding to a question about the Creating American Jobs and End Offshoring Act, which encourages businesses to create jobs domestically by relieving them from payroll tax payments on new employees who perform services in the U.S.

Premji has a way of getting around that. Instead of hiring many Americans, he brings better-educated I.T. specialists from India. “The advantage they give us is they’re more transferable across the United States and across countries, which a local American has restrictions on, primarily because of family,” he said.

He says the American workers he hires and the Indian workers he brings to the U.S. are “comparable,” but the “U.S. has not invested enough in technical education, there’s not enough inflow of talent with technical backgrounds or technical passion,” he said. “That has to be corrected. More products are getting technology intensive. That’s a fundamental gap we’re facing, not only in the United States but also in Europe. That has to be corrected in the United States.”

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