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"American" Jobs: The Changing Face of Outsourcing

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The best kind of sourcing?

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Global outsourcing continues to change the way US companies look and operate. While IT jobs made up the first major wave out outsourced labor, the next wave is somewhat different. The New York Times reports that more companies are sending payroll, secretarial, and other "back end office" jobs abroad. Industry insiders call this kind of outsourcing "BPO," or business process outsourcing. In fact, American companies already pay about $28 billion for such services, with about $10 billion going to India. By 2012, experts predict that number will balloon to about $240 billion.

Does that mean we will soon be without the smiling faces down in payroll or finance? Not necessarily. Local familiarity goes a long way with this line of work, and some researchers believe that the BPO won't experience the same stellar growth as IT outsourcing.



While the fate of back end office workers is decided, it remains to be noted that 89% of US companies report plans to maintain at least current levels of outsourcing, according to KPMG. As BPO becomes more popular in the short term, that number will likely grow. As of 2006, companies like Aramark, Brinks (BCO), and Cintas (CTAS) were some of the biggest outsourcers of labor.

But outsourcing isn't just a policy for big corporations. In fact, these days, even individuals can hire executive assistants from foreign countries to do, well, pretty much anything. The concept was popularized in Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat, in which Friedman talks about one company, Brickwork India, which specializes in overseas executive assistants. Think of it like personalized BPO. For as a little as $400 a week, anyone can hire a remote assistant… even Hoofy and Boo.
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