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White collar workers need to watch out too

The classic picture of jobs being sourced to overseas companies is of the blue collar worker or indeed the t-shirted IT geek losing their job to someone in another country (we are of course using stereotypes for speed and do not believe all IT staff are tee-shirt-wearing geeks). That’s being challenged, however, according to Market Watch, which has detected a trend towards white collar workers being under threat too.

The piece actually suggests that it’s the freelancer rather than the staffer who’s likely to suffer, and you can see the logic. Client employs freelancer to save money or because a need isn’t permanent, client finds cheaper freelancer by sourcing overseas, freelancer loses position.

Except so far it hasn’t worked like that. If it did, there would be no freelance graphic designers around because sites like Fiverr can offer similar services for pennies.

Our contention at Intelligent Sourcing is that the white collar workers, who are typically educated and readier to learn new skills, will survive better than the manual and other lower-level labourers – say the contact centre agent who doesn’t have the empathetic and problem-solving skills to move up the food chain as robotics consumes the lower-hanging stuff.

We can also see competition growing as the gig economy becomes more important, and this will keep prices down in a crowded market. But we can’t see all the jobs going overseas for a good while yet.

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