According to the American Electronics Association, American public education is the reason why so many companies are exporting jobs to other countries. The AEA says that students don’t get a strong education in math and science so high tech firms are forced to look for skilled workers in other countries. But in addition to public schools, the report also blames a lack of government support for research and development, high health insurance costs, rising legal costs and competition – "once a competitor outsources, then other companies are almost forced to do so".
But AeA researchers also state in the report that the effects of offshore outsourcing on technology workers have been exaggerated, and that no hard numbers are being gathered by government or independent entities that cite exactly how many jobs have actually been lost to outsourcing over the past few years. "Figures cited in news reports are normally predictions of what will happen, not an analysis of what is happening," Kazmierczak said.
So, we really don’t know how many jobs have actually been exported but we do know we can blame the schools and a whole laundry list of things that we want the government to pay for so our companies don’t have to.
While this report sounds like another industry lobbying group trying to scare Congress into giving their companies lots of money, they do make one good point. We don’t do a good job of math and science instruction in this country. Part of the blame for that goes to society in general which gives lots of lip service to learning those subjects but then has an adult population which is largely (and often proudly) ignorant of even the most basic math and science concepts. How many people actually understand the odds behind the lottery or what the theory of evolution actually says?
I’ll probably get blasted for this, but I also blame the tsunami of standardized tests we spend a large part of the year preparing for. The math on these exams hardly gets up to the "high tech" level that the AEA report is referring to and most exams barely touch science at all since it’s not one of the indicators that NCLB requires. When the test becomes the target of instruction, learning settles for the lowest common denominator of the test.
But getting back to the issue of outsourcing jobs, I think an unemployed software designer quoted in the article put the whole issue in perspective.
"About the only job these profit-hungry, blood-sucking corporations aren’t going to be able to outsource is the kind that requires you to physically be there in order to serve up those burgers and fries to customers."