Think positive, prepare for the next wave...
IT professional should note that globally, prudent IT houses
are using the US slowdown to recruit good talent and are working
on their game plan to stay ahead of the curve, says Mohan
US economy is slowing down and you must be kidding yourself
if you think that as a “super duper” programmer, you can be
immune to the effects of recession. I am no economist and
will not pretend to be one. However, the facts are out there
for all to see, courtesy the Web
in Colorado, I tend to receive emails from friends and associates
from all over the world. Nothing new there except that during
the past few weeks most of the mails I received have a common
thread - the state of the US economy. Some of the most common
questions include “What do you think of the economy?” or “Should
Indians be thinking of moving out of US?” or “Should I decline
the offer to move to the US?”
be quite honest, it is hard to give a definitive answer to
any of these questions, especially if one is sitting right
in the eye of the storm. Every day some news article or radio
talk-show host preaches about the slowdown in the economy.
The government and Federal Reserve Bank are (as expected)
taking a cautious approach studying every minute fact and
figure, lowering interest in a gradual manner. However, one
thing is certain, the economy (and job-market) is not as strong
as it was even a few months ago.
impact of “slowdown in economy” hit home recently when I returned
to work after a month-long vacation. Two of my colleagues
had been “laid off”. A week after that, managers in our division
had the ominous task of going around telling another, much
larger group of individuals that it was their last day with
the company. The day after that, walking around the empty
cubicles in the office, it hit me - Corporate America can
be really brutal. “Here today, gone tomorrow”, as many of
us are learning, literally means what the expression implies.
through the clutter, the facts the US economy is slowing down
and you must be kidding yourself if you think that as a “super
duper” programmer, you can be immune to the effects of recession.
I am no economist and will not pretend to be one. However,
the facts are out there for all to see, courtesy the Web.
The official White House homepage on the web (http://www.whitehouse.gov/fsbr/)
lists some of the key economic indicators.
- the growth for November was 3 per cent and for December
the growth was 0 per cent (no growth!).
Rate - Number of persons unemployed as a percent of the
civilian labour force, seasonally adjusted. The figure for
December was 4.0 and for January 2001, it moved up to 4.2.
- Output per hour of all persons in non-farm business sector.
Decreased from 3.0 in the third quarter of 2000 to 2.4 during
the fourth quarter of the year.
Confidence - a mix of various factors including housing
starts, rental sales, industrial production and capacity
utilisation show an overall trend that is not very optimistic
about the near-term future.
all these facts and figures translate to is the US economy
is slowing down. US based IT companies, who, until only about
six months ago were clamouring for foreign workers (read H1
holders) have not used even half of their quota for the year.
is ironic that the same technology giants Cisco, Intel, Nortel,
Motorola, Compaq who were market leaders until a few months
ago are also leading the pack, this time in the excruciating
task of laying off their employees. Each of them has recently
announced a cut of over 6,000 personnel.
an IT professional in India, reading this article, you are
probably wondering if it is time to bite the bullet and take
the “offer” being doled out by the friendly neighbourhood
body-shopper. My two cents of advice would be to take a deep
breath and think, how long has it been since he (the headhunter)
called you about the “US offer”? If it has been more than
a few months, you probably will not hear from him in a hurry.
Body-shoppers, especially the smaller ones without an established
client base are feeling the pinch more. The people they helped
“place” when the going was good are coming on bench faster
you get into bouts of depression and moan about the opportunities
that could have been, just look at the positive side:
IT and the global opportunities afforded by large IT houses
are here to stay.
anything, prudent IT houses are using this opportunity to
recruit good talent and are working on their game-plan to
stay ahead of the curve.
and companies are still vying for talented professionals
and the trend, as far as one can see, is only going to continue.
economist will tell you that an “economic cycle” is basically
a predictable long-term pattern of alternating periods of
economic growth (recovery) and decline (recession). An economic
cycle is a fact of life in the corporate world and this is
probably a lesson for many an IT professional who only saw
the growth side of the curve. If anything, it is a lesson
in the basics of business that every professional - including
IT professionals - need to be aware of. No one is immune to
the swings in the economy. Just as a “growing economy” can
propel one by providing opportunities, a “slowing economy”
can provide one with an opportunity to look at the big picture
and plan for the long haul and prepare oneself for the next
bottom line is that companies in the US are still buoyant
about the future. The question they are asking is “when” the
economy will turn towards the growth side of the cycle and
not “if”. When the economy turns around soon, we Indian IT
professionals are going to be there. Until then, sit-back,
relax and enjoy the ride.