You Say Outsourcing, I Say Offshoring


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.