Outsourcer takes American jobs…to America

So this idea that outsourcing smashes American jobs and the president wants to repatriate them: it looks great on paper but there’s a problem.

It’s not based on fact.

Take, for example, this report in the Topeka Capital Journal Online. For people who don’t want to click through the link it’s about Faneuil, a Virginia-based business services outsourcing firm, which plans to open a site in Wichita.

This is going to bring 400 jobs to the city, and it will eventually move into an area downtown (we could speculate that this will be as it grows). Overall in the US it accounts for 4,400 jobs.

It’s a huge country and of course 4,400 jobs doesn’t stack up against the amount of manufacturing, IT and other jobs that appear to be vanishing to India and elsewhere. The problem is that the skills required for the IT jobs are in short supply and the Indian companies are suggesting that they can’t actually make up the numbers with American-only staff.

Faneuil isn’t unique in bringing BPO jobs to the US, though. NADAP is an organisation doing great work in impact sourcing, staffing from the community of people with learning difficulties and ensuring not only that the client gets a decent deal but that people who only decades ago would have been written off can contribute, with all the self-esteem (and taxes to fund the services on which everybody depends) that involves.

So if by any chance the president happens to end up reading this, here’s Intelligent Sourcing’s plea: of course there are instances in which people have gone for a cheaper option than employing local staff. It’s difficult to know how a business can stay competitive without doing so when other companies are pursuing the same practices. However, there are other instances in which Americans are being helped by the establishment of jobs, and in other instances their society is improving because someone has looked at what can be done with a bit of sourcing magic.

So before criticising outsourcing as a bad idea overall, maybe – just maybe – find out what’s involved first?

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