Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
The cheap labor costs
of Southeast Asia are like a siren call to more and more
US employers seeking to lower support costs and improve
profits. The increasingly common trend toward outsourcing
labor to countries such as India, Malaysia, and Pakistan
means jobs are leaking to a part of the world where
workers fresh out of college or technical school will work
for pennies on the dollar compared to American workers.
For the American workers, that means the bar for
entry-level positions is rising or the same positions are
disappearing off the map completely. What can you do to
avoid losing out to offshore outsourcing??
Don't become a
What should you do if you find yourself facing joblessness due
to outsourcing? Many would say make yourself indispensable, but is
anyone ever really so valuable that they are indispensable? What
makes someone indispensable in a company that has 1500 employees?
Few things, but some key skills can give you an edge. Skills such
as bilingualism, abilities with key or rare equipment, skills with
software that is either so cutting-edge or so old that only a few
can manipulate it well Ό skills that will make you stand out in an
ocean of other employees.
Move up the
Another way to deal with outsourcing is avoidance. Jobs that are
outsource-able are not key positions in the first place.
Therefore, the key is to rapidly move out of entry-level positions
into positions that are less likely to be outsourced. Look around
you. If you are in a company in an entry-level position that has
50 to 100 other people doing the exact same tasks you are doing,
you may very well be in a Danger Zone for having your position
outsourced. Make it your mission to get out of that huge fish
barrel of low-skilled fish and into a position that can only
effectively be done on home turf as rapidly as possible. Get
promoted, get higher training or education, or go for a position
that is more specialized.
Consider changing jobs to a company that is smaller or more
niche-oriented. Smaller companies generally do not outsource due
to decreased cost effectiveness and often because they have a
closer relationship with their customers. While offshore
outsourcing may save dollars and improve stock prices, it often
has detrimental effects on customer relations. Small companies
cannot afford to lose customers because of poor customer service
or language barriers and are therefore less likely to outsource
Go where the
Displaced garment and textile workers in the Carolinas and other
Southern states were left jobless almost overnight in the nineties
when their employers moved operations to Central America or Asia.
Those who did not have transferable skills or were unwilling to
relocate were left floundering. Workers who thrived were the ones
who learned new skills that were in demand or who were willing to
move to areas where their current skills were needed.
Stay on the
cutting edge of your field.
Work that is outsourced is generally grunt work that requires a
labor force that is broadly skilled in the most common tasks,
works with the most common applications, or can handle minimal
communication coupled with heavy, repetitive-type work. There is
always demand for skilled professionals who can work easily with
the latest and greatest technology, who do not fear risk-taking
and enjoy the challenge of development and innovation.
Will offshore outsourcing suddenly cease? Not a
chance as long as the American consumer continues to demand
high-end technology for rock-bottom prices. The race to maintain
market share while maintaining profits, demands cheaper and
cheaper labor costs. Offshore outsourcing is a solution to that
problem. It behooves American engineering and information
technology workers not to be a part of the problem to begin with
by pursuing education and training that sets them above their
offshore labor competitors and takes them out of the fish barrel
of low-end, low paid support type positions. America has always
been the leader in innovation and development and engineers who
concentrate on those areas will always have a place in this
about the author
Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC, Executive Director, is a
high-profile industry leader with more than 20 years of
experience. As a nationally published author, she has been cited
by Jist Publications as one of the "best resume writers in North
America" and quoted as a Career Expert in the Wall Street
Journal's publication, The National Business Employment Weekly,
and the Chicago Tribune.
Alesia served as a pioneer in developing
dynamic internet job search campaigns, electronic resumes
(e-resumes), web resumes and explosive online employment marketing
for the firm's clientele. Quoted on numerous career sites, Alesia
is also known as the Career Expert for e-resumes.
Alesia is a frequent keynote speaker for
professional associations and corporations regarding tech resume
writing and production, job search planning, and career marketing.
She lectures to university and college audiences and serves as a
public speaker to community organizations and government agencies.
Her prior experience as a Director for a national executive search
firm provides her with the insight needed to develop aggressive
and successful resumes and career search strategies.