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They're calling it the 'jobless recovery' - but it's a misleading phrase. New jobs are being created in the tech sector, only CEOs are making sure they're in China and India, not at home in the United States.

Craig Barrett admits to the New York Times today that while Intel has maintained a steady head count in the US, it has hired a thousand new software engineers in India and China.

Barrett has a curious phrase to justify this new trend. "To be competitive, we have to move up the skill chain overseas," he said. (What's a skill chain and what do you find at each end?) The Times cites an estimate that a million jobs have been moved offshore since March 2001.

Gartner predicts one in ten tech jobs will be moved offshore by the end of next year 2004 and half of them will be skilled engineering positions. (see US tech industry staff decimated in offshore stampede.)

The trend is nothing new: but for the first time it's affecting the technocrat middle class, who in the United States (and increasingly the UK, too) must bear the costs of further education. The benefits, and inevitability of globalization were preached while first manufacturing then service jobs went off shore.

Now an engineering degree no longer guarantees employment. 14 per cent of tech companies have already moved R&D offshore, CIO magazine reports, but more ominously 60 per cent of firms have only just started discussing the subject. By next year the first ripples could turn into tsunami. ®

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