Reverse-Shoring Jobs - Embedded.com

Reverse-Shoring Jobs

It must be survey season; so many have come across my desk, allyielding lots of fascinating data.

Despite all of the fear of offshoring, according to an EE Timessurvey  64% of US engineers with 15 or more years experienceare satisfied with their jobs, compared to 11% in India. Twice as manyIndian engineers want to change jobs as do their American counterparts.

Yet in the US engineers seem to be doing less well. Homeownership is down 4% in just a single year and we own fewer cars.That probably confirms that engineers just love the work and monetaryreward is never the most important reason for choosing this career.

50% of US respondents claimed that their company has sent workoffshore in the last year; 17% of that was high-end softwaredevelopment. About an equal number reported sending low-level softwareoverseas.

But in India there's a skill shortage. According to the August28 EE Times  Indian firms are actively recruiting engineers onUS college campuses. No figures are given, but the implication is thatIndia ” and no doubt other countries ” is competing world-wide fortalent. In a sense this mirrors the US zeitgeist which has longwelcomed H1-B employees and foreigners to our universities.

The same issue of the magazine projects Indian employment in”semiconductor and embedded design” to jump from about 75,000 last yearto an astonishing 782,000 in 2015. That ten-fold leap far exceeds anyassessment I've seen for the US or western European markets. Clearly,this demand will create enormous opportunities for locals. And equallyclearly, such demand will outstrip the capacity of local schools tocrank out engineers. Some of the supply will have to be imported fromother countries.

Ironically, the demand for offshoring will create a sort of”reverse-shoring” component. And since American engineers professbetter job satisfaction, I'd imagine Indian employers would bedesperate for both their knowledge and their stability.

Surveys always raise more questions than answers. The EE Times piececlaims India had 280 “hardware/board designs” starts last year,expected to accelerate to 2173 in a decade. But that works out to anaverage of over 300 engineers per design. Either the data is suspect orthey are building hideously complex applications. If the latter istrue, then that country will need world-class developers to actuallyget these products to market.

The implications have been clear for some time. Western engineersshould improve their skill sets to remain competitive. And, especiallyfor young developers who don't have the inertia of children, considerworking in a developing country for a year or two. There's a demand foryou today. You'll learn the culture, sample the language, and develophopefully-durable relationships. Later your native country will find ademand for you, to exploit your experience working with overseaspartners.

Jack G. Ganssle is a lecturer and consultant on embeddeddevelopment issues. He conducts seminars on embedded systems and helpscompanies with their embedded challenges. Contact him at . His website is .


So; when your main value proposition is:

Low Cost … Low Cost … Low Cost!!!

Where does that leave the resources, (ie. the people that do the work)? Heh.. it is then no wonder that Indian engineers are dissatisfied with their jobs! Plus, with price and competition pressure, I am sure that there is a lot of job-jumping occuring in places like Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore!

All these fine folks were smart enough to get advanced engineering degrees. Are they not smart enough to advance their own lot in life???

– Ken Wada

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