USF STUDY ON OFFSHORING-Andrew Stelzer

10/25/04

The center for globalization research at USF has just completed a study of the effects of offshore outsourcing of jobs on the Tampa bay area. They presented the findings of their study this morning; WMNFs Andrew Stelzer was there and filed this report.

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ACT “in Tampa bay in 2002, our companies imported a whopping 646 million from foreign countries,

Guy Hagan works with innovation insight; he was commissioned by the University of South Florida to study the relocation of jobs from Tampa bay to foreign countries.

ACT however, the Tampa bay area exported over 1.12 billion, so you take one minus the other and find that Tampa bay is a net exporter, or another way, we have outsourced over 600 million, but foreign companies have outsourced…so off shoring goes two ways.�

The fact that Tampa Bay, and the United States as a whole, brings in more jobs than it is shipping out, was one of the major findings, which might contradict the widespread impressions about outsourcing. Nationwide, 182,000 jobs were lost in the 1st quarter of 2004, but only 2.5 percent of them were due to off-shoring. The gap in the public’s perception was matched by the gap between reality, and the impression that local companies have.

ACT “we found that one company in 20 looked into, it but 4 times as many thought their competitors were, but these companies were telling us that they had to compete. So again the perception in greater than realities.�

The study found that the type of jobs which most often go overseas are commodity jobs, which mainly consist of repetitive tasks—jobs which can be easily replicated. Jobs which have resisted offshoring are ones that are require personal contact, those which deal with sensitive information, jobs that require creativity, or those related to small businesses. They predicted that as the shifting of jobs continues, to stay employable, people will have to develop language and cultural sensitivity skills, and that the most valued workers will be those who are prepared to constantly learn, embrace new careers, and have a drive to educate themselves. Although the typical example cited was that of Capitol One, which eliminated 1,100 jobs in July as part of an effort to outsource much of its customer relations work, the study also found that startup businesses are going overseas, never even establishing a workforce within the United States.

ACT “… the relevance is there are no layoffs because there are no US hirings, so were not sure how common this will be but we have to pay attention to.�

Florida Congressman Jim Davis attended the presentation was asked How the US government will protect companies research and development costs by enforcing proprietary laws.

ACT-Davis “in a lot of the trade agreements this is paramount, we are the chief beneficiaries, particularly in china this about writing rules of engagement to protect American property.�

Davis also sad the rising cost of healthcare in the US has been a contributing factor which has caused companies to hire workers in other countries. One woman asked Guy Hagan why the issue of outsourcing has gained so much attention lately, especially during the presidential campaign season.

ACT ‘off shoring is easier to point at than capitalism or technological change..its cause of mass layoffs and…US thought of itself a leader in,,manufacturing, white collar services, and now we have to reinvent oursleves� WMNF asked Guy Hagan about his statement that outsourcing is easier to discuss than capitalism.

ACT “I certainly dont have an answer for how far or nature of economic growth can be maintained..capitalism is driving the oursourcing..everytime you change credit cards you

One of the 40 people who attended he presentation suggested that the US will need to cater to the needs of corporations if they hope to keep them in the US.

ACT “in the past we haven’t had a global competitive environment, we could dictate to businesses on behalf of labor and..being profitable, addressing globalization will force us to look back and see what kind of environment, can we overcome the problems we over see off off shoring.� One member of the audience asked several questions about the role of labor unions. WMNF spoke to Mark Amen, the director of the Globalization Research Center about his concerns.

ACT “how could you leave them out of discussion on labor, and I it the same as the study—when they discussed with the corporate, never brought up by corporate and ..what does that tell us about where does the solution lies. In this state, the notion of right to work, we need to get that back on the table, and really I think the interesting thing is can we work with unions which are based on national economies to create global labor unions who in response to transnational corporations….and the companies have incentives to go global—should we do the same for unions..what are the odds are ..on a scale of 1 to 10—1. unless there is some movement, there are signs…and I am concerned that unions in this country are not thinking so there’s some reason to think about where its resources lie. How can unions make the case..i don’t think thats where to send the message..what unions have to do is mobilize, overcome the boundaries, and once the have regional or global labor unions, until then a company is going to hire labor wherever is wants..they wont have to deal with unions..once that happens, for companies ..and …if unions start unionizing across countries, the whole question of turning to labor across the world is standardize conditions, once those standards are established companies will find it less attractive..its especially ironic was these demonstrations..yeah all the protest movements diluted because those protest movements brought forth such a wide but they never established nuts and bolts relationships. What we need next is a concrete agreement to become global organizations.

Towards the end of the discussion, Susan Conti, one of the researchers who conducted the study, mentioned that education was a missing component in business and government proposed solutions to off-shoring. WMNF asked her after the presentation h w she

ACT “people talk about how we aren’t competitive, but…there’s the perception that people aren’t as skilled overseas, so what people want to do is to go back to basics, not just the colleges, what I see happening in the us IS SOMHWO THERE WAS AHOFT WHERE PEOPELK HAD TO BE SOMETHING, AND THAT SHIFTED THE EDUCATION AS WELL, WE TEST TO THE FCAT, and so I think there is something to be said for some basic elementary education…what are the odds???—I don’t know because people don’t so things until they are in pain and hen they do is they take one step.�

To view the study, log on to WMNF.org and find the news archives.

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

http://www.cas.usf.edu/globalresearch/

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