show image

Donald Trump is going to be president, so good luck if you work in IT

President Donald Trump. Typing that phrase feels odd; like Brexit, the media classes didn’t believe it was going to happen (and there is a lot of analysis out there about why it did, including from our parent publication the New Statesman). New Statesman Tech is devoted to the IT professional and decision maker though, so early as it is, we’re going to risk a little crystal ball gazing.

Donald Trump favours jobs for America

It may not be apparent immediately that America has an IT job problem, but it may have now. Outsourcing has been a feature of technological life for a long time, and under the NAFTA agreement it’s easy to arrange. There is one visa, called H-1B, which carries the clause that you mustn’t adversely affect an American worker’s conditions (here’s a New York Times clipping in which a lawsuit based on it appears to have fallen through), but it’s basically simple.

Trump has roundly condemned international outsourcing at the expense (as he sees it) of American jobs for a long time. He has said Apple should be forced to make its phones in the USD (no doubt at greater expense) and other companies will doubtless be asked to follow.

This depends on how much of his stated view was rhetoric and how much makes it through the American civil service, of course, but you can expect some sort of change.

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

There is also the small matter of just how much IT innovation happens because of collaboration rather than being due to a single company. Typically this happens internationally. If America goes more insular or protectionist as a result of Trump-ism, particularly if the UK sets the pace with Brexit, it’s possible to imagine a less collaborative IT industry (ironically just as that industry is producing the tools to make collaboration simpler than ever).

It’s too early to say exactly what’s going to change and it’s reasonable to point out that Trump’s victory speech was more conciliatory than anything he’d said during the election campaign. It may set a pattern. But he was elected to change, and change things will.

In the shorter term you can probably expect to see a lot of unemployed data analysts who gave Trump only a 15% chance of winning as late as yesterday.