Here is a fictional account that illustrates the point:
John Doe currently writes C++ and finds Company A with great benefits and excellent compensation, but they only hire experienced Python programmers. But across the street, Company B will hire C++ programmers and train them on Python. Company B doesn't pay nearly as well, and the benefits are also pretty poor in comparison to Company A.
Company B offers John a position, but at a below market salary for Python programmers. John would be taking a pay cut from what he makes as a C++ programmer, but he takes the job anyway.
Being a highly capable individual, after 1 year John is one of the top Python programmers in Company B. John meets some engineers from Company A at a local meetup, and they recruit him to come interview with Company A. John passes the interviews with flying colors and is offered 30% more salary at Company A than he currently makes at Company B. This is now more than John ever made as a C++ programmer so he gladly takes the job, after only staying at Company B for a year.
Similar events occur with many more employees from Company B as they all start getting poached by Company A. Company B creates a non-compete agreement with Company A to keep its programmers from leaving.
Company A now complains to Congress that it can't find enough workers and needs to hire more foreign workers to fill the gap. It gets more foreign workers, which it can then hire at lower salaries without having to poach talent from Company B. Over time, the executives at Company A realize the cost savings and start cutting salaries, raises, and benefits.
Engineers at both Company A and B now realize their wages are stagnating and they all start leaving for other opportunities. Executives at Company A and B start lobbying Congress more and complaining to the press about a talent shortage and their inability to find workers.
Such people get easily used up in these scenarios.
They would then decide the problem was python, fire all the programmers and try again with magic-silver-bullet technology of the day
Except after they fire all the programmers, they outsource all of their product development overseas.
I am from Bangalore, India. I also worked at a major Indian IT firm for more than 5 years. I can tell you many more parameters apart from money matter regarding outsourcing. I see this with even more clarity as I work for a product company that outsources work.
Well executed outsourcing projects make life very easy for clients, that starts with cost savings and ends up going to many levels. I've seen my share of good and bad cases of outsourcing. And I can tell you that in many cases there are healthy relationships between clients and outsourcing firms lead to some amazing benefits for each other.
I've known a lot projects that are running for years without any complaints or interventions from clients. They are big massive projects, yet extremely well executed. When you look at it in its entirety the clients save a lot of money and other precious energy which they can focus on solving other problems. Its not just direct billing. But the clients save much on management, HR, infrastructure, IT and nearly every thing required to hire people and run the company.
I know there is a lot of negative impression about outsourcing in the US. And its pretty common for people to highlight failed cases or when some outsourced project went wrong.
You will be surprised if you actually come here, at ground zero and see those numbers are actually scanty and most of the outsourced projects actually run pretty well.
I think it's very easy for the engineers to think they did a good job while the end-users do not. The deals keep flowing because of the middle-men managers and consultants that agree on requirements and success metrics that are not good proxies for end-user productivity.
I would love to, I like the American society a lot. Especially since we learned so much from America.
>>I think it's very easy for the engineers to think they did a good job while the end-users do not. The deals keep flowing because of the middle-men managers and consultants that agree on requirements and success metrics that are not good proxies for end-user productivity.
You can either take your competition seriously or continue to believe in whatever you believe. You Decide!
If you want experienced, wildly competent workers, you'll have to pay for them. If you're not willing to pay for the experienced workers, you'll have to train inexperienced workers. Also, the requirements you're listing for the job is probably ridiculous, and your screening process is probably broken.
Now that I have over 5 years experience in my field, I'm rolling in offers and have my pick.
I've had managers complain about lack of loyalty in employees. I typically fired back suggesting that if you take new graduates out of school and actually invest in them, you'll have a much stronger core workforce that is likely far more invested into the company then random mercenaries you pick off the market. Apparently I don't get management theory though...
Once the balance shifts to (my personal feeling of) inequality, I have no problem (or choice?) but to move on. Gone are they days of "lifers" with company provided pensions that could possibly make that decision (to move) harder (a la IBM full term careers).
"I'm great to work with as long as I get my way".
People who want 'loyalty' are really looking for people who will stick around when things get tough - perhaps pay cuts, wage freezes, benefits reductions, longer work hours - etc. If you stay through those, without complaint, you're "loyal". Being "loyal" as long as "I'm treated fairly" isn't really what they're after.
There are also other ways to compensate an employee that does not necessarily involve a cost, such as flexible hours or work from home.
Unfortunately, I worked for five years through "when things got tough" - random layoffs, no raises, decreasing benefits. How loyal does one have to be to satisfy your definition?
The problem is that training requires long-term thinking. The entire problem is our economy has devolved into short-term thinking. Not much training and long-term in a quarter.
You need to cultivate experience in workers sometimes, especially if you have a complex system in place.
Employees have no loyalty anymore, because of the cutting of benefits and wages.
Employers have no loyal employees anymore, which means they require 3 to 5 years experience to give them some return on hiring said employee.
Students are having a hard time finding work, because Employers are requiring this experience.
Employers have a skills gap, because they can't hire Students to fill the gap, because they'd just quit before giving some return (loyalty).
I think I'm starting to see the clusterfuck caused by limiting compensation and benefits...
The pressure is on cutting costs now and raise profits now and to hell with tomorrow, by the time a new employee is fully trained chances are that the manager who hired him is gone, probably following the CEO.
In the highly developed economies (particularly the USA), yeah, wages have frozen, but really good things have been happening elsewhere.
Now you are a despised resource. If you are not in sales, you are a "cost center".
A previous boss of mine, during a company meeting QA summarized it like that: "Q: Are you thinking about outsourcing our project X dev team ? A: There is no immediate plan, however we are a development company, and we are continuously investigating outsourcing opportunities to stay competitive." That is something that the new generation know very well: you current job is only training for the next one.
I would have no problem staying loyal to a company under a different set of circumstances.
Most companies have altogether made it clear that no job is stable, and competitive salaries continue to shrink...
Myself, I'd rather train someone up in my process without them learning bad habits, even if that means they're pairing with me for 30 hours out of 40. That said, I'm an exception.
Once upon a time, some companies hired new workers as QA, trained as QA, and those with the aptitude were moved into programming. I know that IBM still has an internship program that streams people into their system.
The problem is that companies think they can get away with keeping people anchored to those starting salaries. It doesn't work; morale suffers and they leave.
Finding a young employee and turning him into one of your superstars is a really gratifying feeling. Watching him leave because obstinate business owners refuse to pay him what he is now worth is infuriating.
I've experienced this several times in leadership roles and it is one of the many things that convinced me to start my own business.
My girlfriend switched jobs after 18 months and got a 100% raise.
Shortly after I left, they put out a job posting for 7 people, each at more than I would have accepted to stay.
The job I left for was paying even more than that job posting, and I'm still here today.
So why did they do that? Why treat me fairly initially, then stop? They didn't really gain much. I was unhappy for 2 years and my job performance suffered for it. They replaced me with people who didn't have my knowledge of their systems, and they paid them more. It was absolute insanity.
 I left 5 months shy of my 10th service anniversary
Extrapolating from personal experience here as a programmer but it looks tough for a couple of reasons, one of which is pay. Employers tend to give very good starting salaries for experienced people, and very poor raises. So employees sign up inexperienced at low pay, get trained and get raises that put them below market rates, so their incentives tell them to do exactly the job hopping you describe.
Seriously? Everyone I knew with just a business degree ended up with a crap retail job. Most of the people in engineering seemed to go into the jobs the business majors wanted.
Peter Cappelli: That’s false, and that’s almost by definition the case, because we know how markets work, and markets adjust and wages adjust. I had an employer write to me the other day saying they had a skills gap, and they really did. It wasn’t wages, because they did market wage surveys, and they were paying what everybody else was paying, and all the employers, by the way, are having a skills gap, so it’s a big problem. Well, if everybody’s got the same problem, and you’re all paying the same wage, it’s probably the case that you’re not paying enough. So the way markets work isn’t you set the wage and say, “Well, this is good enough.” You pay what it takes to get the people you need, and if wages have to go up, then so be it, right? "
I think I get it except for the "and they really did".
Let's say I run a coffee shop. I sell $3 cups of coffee, which is the market rate, but can't get any customers. I have no signage, don't advertise, and I'm rude to customers.
That's what a lot of companies are like - they don't treat recruitment as a core business, but as an annoying distraction (like doing taxes).
The best way to get a job is to cold call companies, or network. It's like if coffee shops with a customer acquisition strategy of "wait for people to find the shop by accident, then hope they invite their friends".
A better analogy might that you surveyed Starbucks to find out how much they spend for their coffee beans. You then build the expectation that you should also be able to buy coffee beans for the same price as Starbucks. Of course, you can't, because you are small and don't buy enough beans to get Starbuck's volume price.
So, applying it to the topic at hand: Maybe Facebook can pay an engineer $150K to keep them happy because of the prestige and perks of working there, but your small company is going to have to pay $200K to get the same talent because, like in the coffee bean example, you are nobody special and do not have access to the benefits of being a "big deal".
What I'm saying (using your analogy) is that Starbucks actually works hard to get good suppliers. If you open a coffeeshop and use beans from the local supermarket (hoping to pay market price - it's a market, right?, of course you pay a lot more and get worse quality than if you spend some time tracking down a good supplier.
Edit: After reading my comment, I don't think I made it clear enough that I'm agreeing with your point about people not marketing or educating themselves adequately. After spending 4 years in college, I think a lot of people expect to show up at a job interview, show the interviewer their degree, and get a job. The reality is obviously quite different.
The issue with most people is that "you don't know what you don't know", coupled with the fact that most still have the idea that college/on the job training will suffice, while many companies are no longer providing training.
It takes a specific mentality to take the time to learn a craft with little to no immediate benefit in sight--you see this in other fields too, but they're not the norm.
The question is, do we try to change our culture to generate more self-starters, or do we change the institutions that need skilled labor?
It's an obvious selling point for the competition. "It looks to me like they're one illness away from missing shipments" is an easy fear to plant in someones mind.
Couple that with hiring away one or two solid staff members, and you're going to fail publicly.
The more committed you are to the fiction free markets don't work, the more you're going to suffer.
"[I]t’s kind of bizarre if you think about it: if you were, say, a computer company,
and you had a product that was all based on this particular chip. You didn’t build
the chip yourself. You were expecting to buy it on the outside, and your expectation
was just that you’ll be able... to buy this chip on the outside in the quantity you
want at the price you want to pay... The software engineers, the systems architects,
are often the key component in these companies, expecting to hire them right
out of college, and they don’t really have much relationships with the colleges...
They don’t get close to their suppliers; they’re just hoping it will come up.
If you did that with a chip, your board of directors would probably fire you for
terrible risk management, but when it comes to skills and employees, it seems to be
kind of a standard practice."
I don't think this is true - everything I've read about outsourcing companies is that they have a very high turnover of staff.
Anyone know how to crack this trust game?
People always dismissed it, when I told them - if only I was born x years earlier I would have graduated at the start of the boom cycle. I would have landed a high paying role out of college/Uni and earned enough cash by the end of the cycle to see me through the bust years. With the work experience I would have a better chance competing against new grads. Considering the value of money etc, benefiting from a 2/3 boom cycle could put you well ahead financially.
While this is rather simplistic and exceptions to the rule, timing can make one hell of a difference.
Pay rises are multipliers on your current salary - which is based on when in the boom/bust cycle you got hired. If you were hired in a bust you can get the maximum raise every year but at the end you will still be getting less than someone hired in a boom.
Peter Cappelli: Well, the employers, if you look at what the hiring managers are saying and what they’re looking for, they’re not, for the most part, hiring people out of college anyway or out of high school. What they want is three to five years’ experience. So the shortages that they report, the difficulty hiring, are for people who have quite specific skills, and those skills are work-experience based.
Workers without three to five years' experience will never get three to five years' experience. The only way for a young worker to be hired is through corruption, by knowing somebody or lying about their experience. The employers have designed a system to create the shortage that they complain about, and they perpetuate it because everybody's doing it that way.
In any workplace, the grunt workers should outnumber management. It is no different in software. For every software engineer there need to be testers, bug fixers, and doc writers. Yet in the want ads for programmers, it is the other way around. Senior this. Senior that.
The way to fix this situation is easy, but like anything else it will require time and effort. Next to the routine 3-5 year want ad, also post something like this:
Job title: Computer Programmer.
Requirements: can program a computer.
Compensation: $14/hr or DOE.
You will get plenty of applicants because the economy is that bad right now. Use interviews to determine the best fits for your company. Hire two or three for every Project Manager or Senior anything that you have. Give them raises if they are any good, treat them with respect, and they'll stick around. Three to five years later, you will not only have coders with three to five years of programming experience. The coders will have three to five years of domain knowledge of your company's operations. That might be just as valuable as their coding ability.
Nope, the cat is the cat o' nine tails, when it was taken out of its bag, it was because someone was about to be punished. No idea what he means by this comment.
Note that "letting the cat out of the bag" is used in cases where the truth comes out, not when someone is about to be punished. Consider the following two sentences.
After the jury returned a guilty verdict, the judge let the cat out of the bag that the defendant would serve fifteen years.
At the conference, the Microsoft employee let the cat out of the bag that that Windows 9 wouldn't run on x86.
I would argue that the second feels far more natural than the first. That's because it's about uncovering the truth, like the fact that the pig in your poke is really just a cat, and not about punishment, like pulling out the cat o' nine tails.
Additionally, I'd point to the "pig in a poke wiki" page.
The page shows that variants of this idiom are present in hundreds of languages, often with the statement that a person bought a cat instead of a pig or, occasionally, as rabbit. In fact, more culture refer to buying a cat in a sack than a pig.
The wiki page mentions your cat in the bag theory as well. However, if you follow the references, you'll considered that it is seen as dubious and that the pig in a poke explanation is considered far more likely.
Usually this is described in relation to a secret or a hidden truth: when it's out, you can't kill the truth, you have to live with the release of the information.
I have previously encountered references to swinging cats for entertainment or medical purposes, but not with credible sources.