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Net industries are shifting away from outsourcing

Posted on | October 3, 2007 | No Comments

I’m a freelance consultant, technically, I am ‘outsourced help’. I’m starting to see a trend (at least in the ISP / hosting industries) to shift away from outsourced help and hire people in-house.

I still get work, not many people know how to do what I do. The freelancing industry leaves you with a feast or famine income, when its time to eat there’s plenty, you better put some away for the unpredictable slow spells. Sometimes I feel like a squirrel.

Many hosts are now placing job ads mandating U.S. Citizens rather than putting their projects out for bid on popular freelance resource sites. Being curious by nature (and watching my nest eggs) I have to wonder what sparked this trend. I am a native ‘Baltimorian’ however my IP address often says differently due to traveling. There are several possibilities that I’ve considered, I’m not yet done considering –

  • American English is very difficult to understand for those who were taught a more international form of English. Jargon, idioms and metaphors are extremely confusing. I’ve been in Manila for over three years, I had to completely re-train my written and verbal English skills to be properly understood. Many find difficulties in communicating more frustrating than the worth of the contract employee. Customer complaints have quite a bit to do with this.
  • Security concerns are a big problem, especially for ISP and hosting companies. Hiring US employees gives these companies a sense of security because the employee is legally accountable for doing bad things.
  • Many companies in both industries are now enjoying larger profit margins as the market share expands exponentially, they can afford to hire a full time employee vs shipping off certain things to other countries or U.S. based freelancers.

Folks, I really can’t complain, this is how outsourcing should work ethically. Hiring cheaper help enables many businesses to get started, once you can afford to hire your neighbors, you should.

I don’t see this trend in big business, only small business. Larger companies (like IBM, RedHat and others) are expanding their presence here, while small businesses are closing them. One obviously realizes something that the other does not, perhaps we’re finally shifting from being ‘happy consumers’ back to being ‘happy customers’.

In short, don’t get mad at a small business for outsourcing part of their operation, it is very likely that this business could not do what they do unless they outsourced. Feel free, however, to gripe to large companies who outsource a significant part of their operations. The difference is, need verses greed.


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