Want to offshore yourself?

IBM is now offering employees, who would otherwise face layoffs from their North American jobs, the chance to work abroad through 'Project Match'. Destinations include Argentina, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. IBM will also help with moving costs and provide visa assistance. While some cynics will sneer at this scheme, at least Big Blue is doing something proactive to support at-risk staff, and also promote moving much-needed onshore talent into their emerging country delivery centers. Furthermore, maybe they'll pick up some good work habits and bring them home to the States when the economy improves?

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6 Comments

  1. Posted February 8, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I hear the Rio operation is short-staffed…

  2. Ratnesh
    Posted February 8, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    A step in the right direction ….big blue is running 30%+ annualised attrition in some of these markets & finding it difficult to hire the right IT/ BPO talent locally, even in current markets. In most new EU countries (Poland, Czech rep, Slovakia etc), visa processing bureaucracy (not restrictions) ensures that it takes an Asian national ( except Singapore) 9 months to enter the country on a 6 month work-permit. On the other hand, the same countries freely welcome any EU national & some have recently rolled out quick work-permit schemes for US nationals ( called – Green Passport schemes)too. In addition, 2009 recession fears has seen a renewal of the government subsidy schemes for new service sector projects too.

    Now is a good time for folks seeking new jobs, to start exploring lower GDP countries. They just need to take a pay-cut in absolute currency terms. Once the dust settles on the current economic turbulence, chances are, they would even have gained on the currency conversion front.

  3. Posted February 8, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    If they can pull this off, it’s huge. A model for global mobility is the missing link to being able to manage a flat-world labor pool. I wish them luck and will be following closely.

    Something like this inevitably should make its way into the HR and globalization toolkits of the world’s multi-nationals.

  4. Posted February 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    In the past, it has often been employee resistance to relocation to “less developed countries” that has resulted in large-scale job losses in the west, as also in the loss of valuable tacit knowledge that lies with seasoned employees. But today, with most economies in shambles and jobs hard to find, employees are likely to be much more amenable to making the move to an emerging country. There will always be worries around kids’ education, quality of life and so on- but these will seem minor in the face of the possible option. Financially, relocated employees will face a pay cut in absolute dollar terms (after all, expat salaries are not consistent with cost savings!). But given the lower cost of living in most developing countries, the savings potential may end up being higher- provided the compensation is structured efficiently and the employees can take advantage of double tax avoidance treaties.

  5. Posted February 21, 2009 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    I think this is a win-win solution. Rather than layoff workers indiscriminately, the change of working environment is certainly better than a loss of income.

    The ability to integrate into different cultures will also improve the workers’ resume when the economy turns around.

  6. Posted February 24, 2009 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    While I am not aware of Work Permit processing times for other countries, but for Poland it certainly isnt 9 months as suggested by Ratnesh. It is around 2 months including local labour market search, and Work Permits valid for a year to begin with.

    We have nationals from 15 different countries in our operations now, including those from India and Latin America who require Work Permit, and we have not faced a problem of the kind refered to in the post.

    I do not see a scaling back of incentives / subsidies either. In fact yesterday itself I was in a meeting with the Marshal of a state (Chief Executive of the state – equivalent of a Governor in US or Chief Minister in India), and I see greater urge to get new investments in.

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