You Say Outsourcing, I Say Offshoring

Ann All

Like some other observers, I was a bit nonplussed when I saw results from a Robert Half Technology survey that indicated just 6 percent of U.S. companies send work offshore. While the number did rise to 11 percent for companies with at least 500 employees, both numbers seemed far too low based on the results of other surveys.


CIO Insight blogger Brian Watson, for instance, points out that a spring 2007 survey conducted by his publication found that 45 percent of respondents had worked with offshore services providers in 2006 or planned to do so in 2007.


Watson attributes at least some of the difference in the numbers to "semantics." Many companies that work with providers like IBM and Accenture may not consider that offshoring, he says -- even though chances are exceptionally good that at least some of the work is done in India or other offshore locations.


This same idea is reinforced by Wall Street Journal blogger Ben Worthen, who writes that "not one" of the industry insiders he's asked about the survey -- including a Robert Half executive -- believe the Robert Half numbers to be accurate.


No one is being deceptive or misleading here. It's simply a sign of how deeply ingrained the concept of globalization has become in the fabric of modern business.


Remember all of those debates a decade ago about whether certain cars were made in the USA? Thanks to the the U.S. operations of Japanese manufacturers like Honda and Toyota, some "foreign" cars seemed more "American" than those of their domestic counterparts, who were sourcing parts from other countries.

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Mar 4, 2008 4:56 AM Vijayashankar Vijayashankar  says:
This clearly shows that not all activities are getting sent out of USA for work. 5 or 6 percent is very minimal. But there are cost leveraging advantages too!. To overcome this USA govt should be more liberal in giving tax concessions for businesses for training the locals on software and IT related trainings. Also the visa for work restrictions, may please be removed. If someone talented comes in from abroad, he or she would be able to survive only if there is good quality of workmanship, without which they would not be able to survive in this highly competitive world. Also those who come in to USA, would spend most of their earnings back into the society, helping to churn the economy in a better way. The time taken to explain requirements would be saved, if the same person is brought in at a highly competitive prevailing local wages. Reply

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