What does Microsoft’s Job Losses mean for the Caribbean?


Russell Williams

Last month, Microsoft formerly the biggest software company in the world announced that is would shed 18,000 jobs. One the surface it doesn’t seem like something to trouble us here in our respective idyllic piece of paradise.

But while listening to one of the many podcasts I subscribe to, I learned that the tech sector in the US is expected to loose around 50, 000 jobs this year. That number is greater than the population of some of the smaller islands in the OECS, or several members combined.

I suppose this dose of bad news could be taken against a backdrop of good jobs figures in the US over the past couple of months, which show a general increase in employment. But there are lessons and ramifications for the region.

We have a tendency in the region to export our most valuable asset, our people to this market, and with an increased number of highly skilled and educated US citizens now in the job market, our exported talent will find it increasingly more difficult to find a job. It’s also possible that some of our nationals might already be caught up in the job losses, which could affect remittances.

It’s reported that the bulk of the Microsoft job losses would be lost at the recently acquired Nokia handset division, which is causing some frustration in Finland. The Finnish government and people still shell shocked from Nokia’s fall as the number one phone maker, are now feeling betrayed by the heavy job losses.

This should underscore the realities of the new world order as it relates to corporate culture and capitalism. There’s no room for nostalgia or sentiment when it comes to making money! As a businessman here once told me “a business has no feelings, if it isn’t making money, shut it down.”

Microsoft has no loyalty to the Finnish government or people, its loyalties are to its shareholders a fact our respective governments would do well to keep in the frontal lobe of their minds when they are signing sweetheart deals under the guise of Foreign Direct Investment.

Image Courtesy Free Digital Photos.net

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