Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
NOW Home Page
Home
Politics & Economy
Science & Health
Arts & Culture
Society & Community
Discussion
TV Schedule
Newsletter
For Educators
Archive
Topic Index
Search:
WPA work poster
5.07.04
Politics and Economy:
America and Jobs
More on This Story:
Overview

The numbers are startling: 3.3 million jobs in less than 15 years. That's the number of U.S. jobs expected to be lost overseas by 2015 according to a recent report by Forrester Research. But the sheer size of the exodus isn't what's worrying analysts the most — it's the type of jobs. Some critics are worried that this time it's the corporate main office is getting ready to shut down and head out of the country, packing up cubicles and all. As reported on NOW, a new wave of jobs are leaving U.S. shores: software development, customer service, accounting, back-office support, product development and other white collar endeavors.

And it's not just technology jobs that have ended up in India. According to Deloitte Consulting, 2 million jobs will move from the United States and Europe to cheaper locations in the financial services business alone. The exodus of service jobs across all industries could be as high as 4 million. It forecasts that three-quarters of leading financial institutions and investment banks will allocate tasks to Third World countries in the next five years and that India will be at the top of the list. Charles Schwab recently moved part of its information technology division to a contractor in Bangalore, India. AOL already has a large presence in India. American Express and British Airways have ramped up their employment in the country during the past year as well.

FRONTLINE WORLD reported last year that over half of Fortune 500 companies have moved jobs offshore, including famous names from many fields: Oracle, Dell, HSBC, Delta Air Lines, Novartis, J.P. Morgan Chase, Hewlett-Packard, American Express, British Airways. More are expected to follow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job separations due to overseas relocation are at their highest level since 1995.*

Projected Number of U.S. Jobs to Move Overseas

Management: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  288,281
Business: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  348,028
Computer: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  472,632
Architecture: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  184,347
Life sciences: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  36,770
Legal: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  76,642
Art, design: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  29,564
Sales: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  226,564
Office: Number of jobs moving overseas by 2015:  1,659,310

Source: Forrester Research, Inc. November, 2002


U.S. workers are used to seeing manufacturing jobs lost to much lower wages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the International Labour Organization, U.S. manufacturing average hourly compensation is $21.33, in Mexico: $2.38 and in China less than one dollar an hour. It should be noted that while salaries are much lower in India and other BPO hot spots, that does not mean that the companies are providing inadequate compensation — the cost of living is significantly lower in India. However, as both THE TIMES OF INDIA and THE ECONOMIST have recently noted, some jobs are in turn leaving India for even cheaper locales. And where are those jobs going? Some are heading to China, Russia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and the Czech Republic. In short, they are moving toward cheaper labor costs than those in India.


Salary Comparisons

Software Programmer, United States:  $66,100
Software Programmer, India:  $10,000
Mechanical Engineer, United States:  $55,600
Mechanical Engineer, India:  $5,900
IT Manager, United States:  $55,000
IT Manager, India:  $8,500
Accountant, United States:  $41,000
Accountant, India:  $5,000
Financial Operations, United States:  $37,625
Financial Operations, India:  $5,500

Source: Paàras Group, 2002; International Labour Organization

Related Stories:

about feedback pledge © Public Affairs Television. All rights reserved.
go to the full archive