With the United States struggling to lower unemployment back to levels seen before the Great Recession, a growing proportion of the population is wondering whether it makes sense for companies to send, or at least create, new jobs overseas. Here are five jobs that are experiencing this phenomenon.
It's obviously difficult to outsource most medical functions, such as surgeries and rehabilitation activities. However, there is plenty of paperwork that moves through hospitals and doctor's offices that is a prime candidate for outsourcing. Additionally, certain nursing functions are currently being outsourced by major health insurers. Doctor's licenses don't translate easily from overseas locations, but it is easier to find qualified nurse practitioners able to accurately read x-ray results and discern other more straightforward tests and procedures.
Customer care calls can pretty easily be shifted outside of the United States. Recently, the Philippines has become a popular location for its call centers given its links to the U.S. and a large English-speaking population. Major computer makers, hotels and banks have outsourced call-related functions to the Philippines and other foreign locations, such as India.
Research and Development
Technology giant Microsoft recently opened a $100 million research center in Shanghai. The center is projected to employ 1,500 employees and a center in Beijing is said to be in the works. Microsoft's ambition in China is due in part to the struggles of rival Google, and its center is thought to consist of its Bing search engine employees. However, the firm continues to look to China and India for its highly-educated workforce.
Large manufacturing firms, including General Electric and Boeing, have outsourced key manufacturing capabilities overseas in recent years. Until recently, China and other countries such as Vietnam offered huge differences in hourly wages that made sending manufacturing activities overseas appealing. Wage inflation has lowered the appeal of offshoring more recently, but there is a good chance these jobs won't return soon given the huge upfront costs of building manufacturing facilities in the first place.
Business Process Outsourcing
Business process outsourcing, or BPO for short, has been among the most popular job functions for outsourcing. Mundane business functions, be it accounting transactions or completing healthcare paperwork, are ideal candidates for BPO. India has been a popular destination for certain functions, as have China and the Philippines more recently. This trend has also slowed a bit recently given wage price increases in emerging markets.