Harley-Davidson outsources datacenter to Indian company, increasing US jobs by 50%

Don't jump to conclusions when you hear the word "outsourcing"

Infosys, a datacenter operator and service provider based in India, is the recipient of an IT outsourcing deal with American icon Harley-Davidson, which will result in the loss of125 jobs, including 83 jobs at Harley’s Wisconsin headquarters. To some this will make it yet another story of American jobs lost to offshore outsourcing.  But like many things that seem obvious, the issue isn’t that simple.

Though an Indian company, Infosys is committed to the US market and has a large presence in the US. They have 16 existing US facilities and, in 2012, hired over 1200 people to staff those facilities here (and have stated that they expect to expand to 2000 by the end of the year). The contract with Harley requires that they open a facility in Milwaukee, which will increase the size of Infosys’ US presence and will open up 125 jobs, equal to the number of jobs being lost at Harley-Davidson.  And before you jump to the conclusion that the Harley IT employees are being left in the cold, there are two additional points that you need to consider.

The first is that of the 125 jobs being created, Infosys says that 70 will be directly on the Harley project. Harley will be encouraging employees whose jobs have been outsourced to apply for these jobs, and will keep their base pay and years of service credit that they acquired while working at Harley-Davidson.

Second, Harley will be creating 68 new internal jobs it refers to as “information technology management positions” which will be open to employees who are affected by the outsourcing. These employees will also be encouraged to apply for other available jobs within Harley-Davidson.

So with 125 jobs being outsourced to a company that will need to create a local facility to handle the contract, and the creation of 125 jobs at that facility, it would be a wash for the outsourcing. But with Harley planning on creating 68 IT jobs within the company to manage the current and future needs of Harley’s IT growth, that is a net gain of 68 jobs in the Milwaukee IT community.

So the next time you hear someone discoursing on the horrors of outsourcing it may be a good idea to dig just a little deeper than sound bites on the evening news to find out exactly what is going on.