Outsourcing is the shifting of non-core business functions from in-house to an outside third-party company or contractor. Given how widespread it’s becoming, you may find yourself wondering if a career as an outsourced employee could be right for you.
When it was initially introduced, the practice of outsourcing focused on lower-level functions like data entry and payroll. However, it has expanded to include higher-level functions like research and various IT services (see Bairesdev). This diversity of skills makes being an outsourced worker a realistic choice for a long-term career.
The stability of the outsourcing industry is demonstrated by its growth. The global outsourcing market grew from $45.6 billion in 2000 to $92.5 billion in 2019. This increase is largely driven by the cost savings, increased efficiencies, and access to expertise and advanced technology that companies achieve through the use of this staffing strategy.
Those benefits aren’t likely to change in the future, so working for an outsourcing company could become a long-term career with real opportunities for advancement and promotion as outsourcing continues to expand.
While many have the opportunity to choose whether to work as an outsourced employee from the outset, others may be pushed into the decision by their employer. If your company decides to shift your existing job to outsourced status, you should ask the following questions to help you decide whether to accept:
- Will your job duties remain the same? If not, how will they change?
- What are the details of the new contract, including compensation, severance package, and job security provisions?
- What happens to your existing benefits package for insurance, retirement, and bonuses?
- If you currently work on-site, will you still be able to do so? Or, will you need to get set up to work at home? Is that a realistic working situation based on your personality?
As an outsourced employee, you get numerous opportunities to keep learning. You’ll likely have exposure to global clients, allowing you to observe different cultures, industries, approaches, structures, and technologies. On-the-job educational benefits might also include:
- Domestic or overseas travel to receive training
- Certification programs
- Loans or grants from your outsourcing company to continue or start an advanced degree
You’ll have direct contact with other outsourced specialists, who can give you the chance to expand your abilities into new areas. If your skillset is in IT, you’ll also have access to advanced IT systems and the latest technology, which will help build your technical skills.
As an outsourced employee, your working hours may not be confined to a typical Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 schedule. You might need to work evening or night shifts, or on weekends or holidays. Since it’s possible you’ll be serving clients in other countries, you might be on the job when it’s business hours in their time zone instead of yours.
These alternative work shifts aren’t all bad. Working nights could allow you the freedom to spend more time with your family during the day or to go to school. Weekend shifts could open your weekdays to activities that aren’t available any other time, like doctor appointments or events at your child’s school.
In terms of location, you may be able to work remotely from home, which is an advantage for many people. You might have a flexible schedule that includes requirements about how much work you do rather than when you do it.
Pay for employees working for an outsourcing company is often competitive compared to other industries and can include a wide range of benefits such as health and life insurance, stock shares, and bonuses. On the other hand, if you transition from being an in-house employee to an outsourced contractor, you might instead experience a loss of benefits or a drop in pay. Those expectations should factor into your decision about whether to make that shift.
Multiple Career Paths
With the current nature of outsourced employment, you have a wide range of options for career paths to follow. Today’s outsourcing is varied and wide-ranging, both in the type of job and industry. The following list includes just a few kinds of work that companies typically outsource:
- Information technology support. Serve as a help desk agent or support staff, access customers’ computers remotely to fix problems.
- Software developer. Create new applications and fix or improve existing ones.
- Product designer. Assist with designing a wide range of products.
- General phone support. Conduct surveys, make promotional calls, provide product support, and deliver customer service.
- Writer. Develop marketing materials, advertising copy, public relations content, and informational articles.
- Graphic designer. Design logos, brochures, and other business materials.
Some of the many industries that utilize outsourcing include manufacturing, business services, energy, healthcare, retail, travel, telecom, and media.
A career as an outsourced employee could hold great potential for you, including various opportunities to keep learning, job stability, flexibility in hours and work location, and a wide range of choices of specific paths to pursue.