Thursday, March 27, 2008

AT&T Offshores Because You're Stupid

AT&T promised to return 5,000 offshored jobs to the U.S. But, chief executive Randall Stephenson thinks that's not going to be possible.
"We're having trouble finding the numbers that we need with the skills that are required to do these jobs[.]"

Ah, so these are high skilled jobs, like software and network engineers. Well, at least that's what we thought at first. But nope, it's actually 5,000 customer service jobs. So AT&T is apparently having problems finding 5,000 people that have the skills needed to answer a phone and read from a script.

To date, AT&T has only fulfilled 1400 of the promised 5000 jobs.

Stephenson said he is especially distressed that in some U.S. communities and among certain groups, the high school dropout rate is as high as 50 percent.

"If I had a business that half the product we turned out was defective or you couldn't put into the marketplace, I would shut that business down."

To summarize, AT&T doesn't offshore customer service jobs for dirt cheap labor costs, they do it because you are functionally retarded.


Anonymous said...

On the one hand I have to acknowledge that there is a serious problem with the high school drop out rate among certain communities. And it probably doesn't help that we are allowing a 3rd world invasion of peoples who don't have the educational skills needed for a modern economy.

But I have to take exception to the position that they cannot find 5,000 people to fill customer service jobs. First, we have only been in the offshoring mode for about 10 years. Offshoring took off as the internet took off and communication links became faster and cheaper.

Therefore, 5 to 10 years ago ATT and others were still using Americans for their customer support positions. That amount of time is not long enough for there to have been a sea change in our population that suddenly saw the disappearance of that labor pool. My guess is those people are working other jobs and if ATT offered a higher salary, as should happen in a market economy, they could lure them back to customer service.

This is similar to the argument that we can't build homes without illegal labor. I am sorry but 10 years ago in KC, I never saw illegals at job sights. So who in the heck was building our homes, roofing our homes and putting vinyl siding on our homes in 1998? Likewise, who was answering our support questions with our ISPs, cellular carriers and cable companies in 1998?

Truth be told, ATT is just saying this to give them cover not to bring the jobs back. They don't want to have to compete for the labor and pay higher costs. But that is how the market works. It used to be if labor costs rose, companies would try to automate. Now the lazy companies can just offshore for cheaper labor.

Anonymous said...

This is a little off topic for this specific thread, but I think it fits with the theme of the blog. Your picture shows an Indian in a call center. Has anyone ever wondered why Indians dominate this field. It's because India has an educated populace that speaks English. Conversely, this is the reason call centers are not located in Mexico.

In theory the Mexicans should be able to do this job at a lower rate than Americans. But they don't speak English. Ironically, the language barrier prevents Mexicans from fully reaching the American dream when they inevitably cross our border.

My suggestion to Mexico is this: teach English in your schools. In the Netherlands students are only taught in English once they reach high school age even though English is not their native tongue.

Mexico would be wise to do this too. First, it would open up her economy to offshoring from the US. Second, it would assist the illegals and make them more successful in the US.