Information Systems Skills Differences Between High-Wage and Low-Wage Regions: Implications for Global Sourcing

Kate Kaiser, Marquette University
Tim Goles, Texas A & M International University
Stephen Hawks, University of Wisconsin - Parkside
Judith C. Simon, University of Memphis
Keith Frampton, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Published version.Community Literacy Journal, Vol. 29, No. 1 (December 2011): 605-626. Permalink. © DePaul University and University of Arizona 2011. Used with permission.


Developing Information Systems (IS) skills for a company’s workforce has always been challenging, but global sourcing growth has caused the determination of needed IS skills to be more complex. The increased use of outsourcing to an IS service provider and from high-wage regions to low-wage regions has affected what IS skills are required globally and how to distribute the workforce to meet these needs. To understand what skills are needed in locations that seek and those that provide outsourcing, we surveyed IS service provider managers in global locations. Results from 126 reporting units provide empirical evidence that provider units in low-wage regions value technical skills more than those in high-wage regions. Despite the emphasis on commodity skills in low-wage areas, high- and low-wage providers value project management skills. Low-wage regions note global and virtual teamwork more than high-wage regions do. The mix of skills and the variation by region have implications for domestic and offshore sourcing. Service providers can vary their staffing models in global regions which has consequences for recruiting, corporate training, and curriculum.