GE Reduces Outsourcing and Adds Technology Jobs

Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt has said GE will add more than 15,000 jobs in the three years through December. About 1,100 will be outside Detroit in a center for information technology. So far, GE has hired about 660 people in Michigan, a state that led the nation in jobless rates, making it a symbol of U.S. industrial decline.

“About 50 percent of the IT work was being done by non-GE employees,” Charlene Begley, chief information technology officer, said at the center in Van Buren Township. “That strategy may have had its time, but there was a lot of downside. We lost a lot of the technical capabilities that we have to own.”

Bringing more information-technology work back to GE lets the company move quickly to develop programs that respond to technology demands.

“With iPads and whatever mobile devices people want to use, the need for better user experiences is essential to competitiveness,” Begley said. “So we’ve got a team that’s really good at writing user applications that are sexy, impressive and quick.”

Companies such as GE and General Motors that once led in outsourcing are in the forefront of a move in the opposite direction: adding workers back to their businesses in mature markets like Britain and the United States, said John Keppel, president for outsourcing consulting firm TPI International.

In the first half of 2011, the global value of information-technology outsourcing contracts fell 20 percent, showed TPI data released July 20.

“GE, GM and companies like them founded the whole outsourcing business,” Keppel said. “What we’re seeing in America is more about the maturity of the market. Clearly there are some macroeconomic factors and political factors that play into that. “

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