Walt Disney World IT workers frustrated by restructuring and H-1B workers

Posted Thursday, April 30, 2015 10:05 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney says its restructuring wasn't about displacing workers, but was intended to shift more IT resources to projects involving innovation. That involves hiring many new people to fill new roles. Prior to the reorganization, 28% of Disney's IT staff were in roles focused on new capabilities; after this reorganization, that figure was 65%, a source at Disney said. From the perspective of five laid-off Disney IT workers, all of whom agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, Disney cut well-paid and longtime staff members, some who had been previously singled out for excellence, as it shifted work to contractors. These contractors used foreign labor, mostly from India. The laid-off workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting.

Read more from Computer World.

Thursday, April 30, 2015 10:26 AM

I hate this "issue" because it's far more nuanced than people are willing to understand. There are a number of dimensions to consider:

  • When people say "IT," they're generally referring to software development and physical infrastructure operation. The latter is a far less skilled field that is already largely outsourced. Because of automation, it's actually becoming more and more obsolete.
  • The other thing is that the biggest employers of H-1B's, the tech companies out west (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.), tend to pay about the same thing that they would for citizens, plus they have the cost associated with administering the H-1B. That's not really a win. They hire these folks because there aren't enough "natives" to do the work they need. I saw this first hand when I worked at Microsoft.
  • Disney's "restructuring," in my opinion, was about churning out the lower quality workers. They were able to reapply for jobs in the "innovation" work that the article mentions. A sentiment I hear from staffing companies down here, is that a lot of folks there were "C" players at best. I know the enormous cost of NGE was in part due to the organizational inefficiencies, but I have to think that competency had something to do with it too.

My point is that if you're even average on the software side of things, you will have no trouble finding work in this market. And as you would anywhere else, you'll work with people from other countries (most working toward citizenship). If you're on the infrastructure side, well, your future isn't as bright. That part of the field continues to be automated and require less skill, and being "good with computers" isn't enough.

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