The Turning of the Tide

Good title, eh? Before we get all Churchillian here (as in Winston Churchill for those too young to have learned any actual history in school), this is actually a post about IT hiring. Or is it strategic vision? Read on.

As Randy Mott, the new CIO of General Motors, goes about his workday, he carries with him a well-worn calculator. It sits in front of him in the place of prominence that most people reserve for a smartphone.

Mott, who has been CIO at Wal-Mart, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard and joined GM in February, believes in numbers. And as he tries to transform GM’s IT operations, he plans to flip one set of numbers on a scale that no CIO has ever done before.

Today, about 90% of GM’s IT services, from running data centers to writing applications, are provided by outsourcing companies such as HP/EDS, IBM, Capgemini, and Wipro, and only 10% are done by GM employees. Mott plans to flip those percentages in about three years–to 90% GM staff, 10% outsourcers.

General Motors Will Slash Outsourcing In IT Overhaul

Can you say, “hiring binge”? Well that term actually shows up in the next paragraph of the article.

My only question is, are there enough people still out there (in the IT job market) who really have the skills needed a decade after most big U.S. companies abandoned the domestic tech job market?

Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t lose those offshore numbers in my Rollodex just yet.

Not that we’ll ever really know the truth, because undoubtedly even if their hiring effort is a failure GM bosses will dissemble to avoid anyone ever hearing about it. My own estimate is that it would take at least a decade to build the U.S. tech workforce back up to anything near Y2K levels, when we still had a pool of interested retirees to tap for the grunt work of fixing all that defective code. That’s not likely to happen this time, because no one retires from IT any more with the elimination of private pensions: they’ve mostly just moved on into other fields and over time have most likely lost their edge.

Just another example of why companies can’t treat human resources the way they’ve so often treated natural ones.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”