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October 31, 2012

Vote for High-Paying Jobs

Do you think who you vote for next Tuesday will have an impact on job creation in the U.S.? After the second presidential debate, I read a great analysis of an important question that neither Obama nor Romney handled properly, according to the author, Arik Hesseldahl. The question from the debate moderator was about how iPads, Macs and iPhones are all manufactured in China, wondering how each candidate would convince Apple to bring those jobs back to the U.S.

Hesseldahl gave points to President Obama for at least acknowledging that those kinds of jobs shouldn’t be the ones to come back, that we need to focus on the high-end jobs that require talent, not the low-end assembly line jobs. He thought Obama stopped short of closing the deal, though. Hesseldahl accused Romney of ignoring the issue altogether in favor of accusing China of being a currency manipulator.

Hesseldahl had the right answer:

The correct answer is that, under current conditions, which are highly unlikely to change no matter who is president, the job of assembling iPhones and iPads and other consumer electronics is now done mostly in China by companies that specialize in manufacturing, and will never come back to the U.S. And that’s okay.

All of the designing work and all of the materials that have been innovated and created that are used in manufacturing: all of that is done here in the States. So perhaps the biggest contribution we can make to the U.S. economy is through the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of programming jobs that are created because of these new gadgets.

Many U.S. companies and all Accelerance clients these days do have jobs available. It is the employees that seem to be missing – especially highly qualified programmers. Clients are seeking talented programmers from other countries and regions in the world because they cannot find enough programmers here in the U.S. to fill up these jobs. In the U.S., companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft scoop up much of the available talent, leaving other companies empty-handed.

Can the government change this? It may depend on more than one election, because we need an actual shift in how we see the global playing field. The big debate – and one I hope you’ll enter with a comment below – is whether or not we need the government to help provide the infrastructure and an environment conducive to creating jobs (the kind–of-Democrat side of the argument) or if we need government to back off, reduce taxes and let businesses go about doing it on their own (the Republican side of the argument).

I read a book last year by named David Gewirtz called “How To Save Jobs: Reinventing Business, Reinvigorating Work, and Reawakening the American Dream,” who wrote that the only people who can create the kind of jobs we need are small businesses. Government can’t – and neither can big corporations – according to Gewirtz.

I am not sure what the right answer is, but I think blaming other countries for our problems is not helpful and just leads to xenophobia. So take your position, and let us know what you think. Is it impossible for American companies to create jobs on their own because the government is needed to create the infrastructure for companies to do so? Or should the government “get out of the way” of job creation, by reducing taxes so companies can grow? Leave your response in the comments!

Andy Hilliard

As CEO, Andy leads and advocates for the globalization and collaboration of great software teams with companies in search of talent, innovation and a globally-distributed extension of their engineering function and culture. Andy founded the ground-breaking nearshore software development services company, Isthmus Costa...

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