Time for an Outsourcing "Savings Account"?
401(k) Accounts provide for retirement security. Can a similar savings account help workers' careers in these uncertain times?
A generation ago, retirement security was a major issue as workers often found themselves without a source of income in their golden years. A variety of measures, including social security and 401(k) plans have tried to address that issue. Shamefully, the world's richest and most technologically advanced country is still far from perfect when it comes to retirement security. Now, we can add income security to that list as this generation of workers is bearing the brunt of the unstoppable globalization juggernaut. It is better we recognize the fact that globalization is inevitable. The only thing is whether the workers are going to be flattened with the flatteting world. This requires a careful - non-partisan - analysis of the situation and coming up with ideas that provide enduring solution to the problem. Neither lip service nor short term band aids are helpful.
One thing is for sure, workers in this new world will have to continuously retool i.e. learn new techniques to remain employed. Training is not just a nice to have but an absolute imperative for income security. The problem is that most workers do not have a plan for training and most organizations are cutting back. So how do we solve this problem?
IBM has come up with an interesting idea - a 401(k) style savings account for worker training. The proposal is indeed innovative and will go a long way towards helping workers overcome the ill effects of outsourcing. The company that offers this plan will also benefit because they will stand out in this war for talent. I think we have a win-win situation here but let us not believe that the problem is solved. Just like the 401(k) plans did not solve the retirement security problem, this savings plan will not solve the income security issue. However, it is a step in the right direction.
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Posted on 03/06/2009 by