US jobs to be outsourced

New Delhi, October 30:

US engineering jobs are being ‘offshored’ to countries like India and China, a trend that is ‘gaining momentum’, says a study just out. But it says that it is still ‘not clear’ whether this would erode US competitiveness or provide long-term benefits to the West.

“What is clear is that there is insufficient research on this,” states a study by the Durham, NC-based Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering Research. The study is titled ‘Industry Trends in Engineering Offshoring’.

Significantly, this study challenges the often-accepted view that China and India ‘graduate 12 times the number of engineers as the US’. “Until recently, the most commonly cited statistics were that the US graduates 70,000 engineers a year versus 600,000 in China and 350,000 in India,” stated the study.

It said that a more realistic comparison of total bachelors and sub-baccalaureate engineering, computer science and information technologies for 2004 was 222,335 (in the US), 644,106 (in China) and 215,000 (in India).

Duke University’s executive in residence Vivek Wadhwa, who conducted the study with two others, said a recent offshoring conference in the US found civil engineering ‘under threat’ and some pessimistic views of the telecom industry — where most research and development

has started going overseas.

“Some of the findings fly straight in the face of recent reports about India being in trouble,” said Wadhwa. This study interviewed 78 senior executives of major US firms. It surprisingly found that 75 per cent of US firms surveyed say that India has an adequate to large supply of entry level engineers - even more than in the US and China. What was also surprising, he said, was that 57 per cent of companies hire graduates with two-three year diplomas either directly or after they have received additional training.