Offshore Outsourcing

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Is your career doomed?

In what’s being called a jobless economic recovery, that’s a question you might be asking—especially when you read about jobs being sent overseas.

The practice is called outsourcing. Instead of hiring American employees, companies send work to foreign countries.

Labor unions believe outsourcing US jobs to China, the Philippines, India and other low-wage countries should be banned. They cite security concerns, the lack of professionalism and the loss of US jobs. Another sore point: contracting government work overseas. Shouldn’t taxpayer dollars be kept at home?

Some economists—and companies providing outsourcing services— argue a ban could slow economic growth. They say outsourcing allows American companies to remain competitive in a cost-conscious business environment. That’s because workers in developing countries have lower costs of living and are paid less than their American counterparts.

Offshore outsourcing, once used mainly at call centers and for low-tech data processing, has moved into white-collar work such as accounting, finance and technology. The shift prompted the US Senate to call for a proposal to set limits on the practice.

So far, no bills or laws have been passed, but the General Accounting Office in Washington plans to investigate the impact of government offshore outsourcing. Several states are also weighing in on the issue and may beat the Federal government to enacting legislative policy.

Do we really need more laws? As usual, the answer depends on your situation. If you believe a global economy is where the future lies, you’ll probably say no.

But if your work could one day be performed in a foreign country, it’s likely you hold a different view.

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