Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Out they go

From Inside Higher Ed: Information technology staff members across the University of California system are holding their breath to see if the layoffs and outsourcing at the San Francisco campus represent an individual cost-cutting measure or the beginning of a trend.

The UCSF Medical Center told staffers this July that -- because of decreasing federal health care reimbursement and cost increases associated with the Affordable Care Act -- it would cut 97 IT jobs by Feb. 28. Some of the positions will be outsourced to the Indian IT services company HCL Technologies. The university has also contracted with Dell and FireEye for data center and cybersecurity services, respectively...

In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, staff members said they are coping with the decision with a combination of frustration and resignation. Some said they are searching for IT jobs at other campuses in the system. Others said they are considering leaving the industry altogether. They asked that their names not be published as they still have five months of employment left.

...Staff members bristled at the thought of training the workers who will replace them. To aid the outsourcing efforts, some staff members have had their organizational goals updated with a target of completing the transition plan by Feb. 14, with a stretch goal of Jan. 31. A staff member with about 20 years of experience at the university said he feels as though the university is rewarding employees for making themselves expendable as fast as they can.

“It’s pretty degrading,” the staff member said, adding, “I want to make sure that this cancer they’re going to introduce doesn’t spread across the UC system.”

Outsourcing IT jobs is much less common in higher education than in the private sector, said Russ Harrison, government relations director for IEEE-USA, a professional organization for technical professionals...

The other medical centers in the UC system gave varied responses to the question of whether they are considering outsourcing IT services. A spokesperson for UC San Diego Health in an email said, “No IT staffing changes being considered here. We are not outsourcing.”

At UC Irvine Health, a spokesperson said the center is “definitely facing some of the same financial pressures as UCSF,” but added that he was “not aware of plans to outsource IT staff” (though he had “not received confirmation one way or the other yet”).

A spokesperson for UCLA Health declined to comment, while UC Davis Health did not respond to a request for comment...

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Things are tough:

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