How does outsourcing affect the todayís graduates?

By: Jason Creighton

As stated regularly in my other blog entries the world of outsourcing is becoming more mature year on year. Outsourcing has been around for as long as people have been in business. It simply means letting someone else do something within your business if they are not actually part of it. The first time a debt collector was used to settle a debt rather than the lender, this was outsourcing. The debt collector took a cut of the total amount and became a supplier of services.

The explosion of outsourcing happened in the mid to late nineties with the Y2K projects. These repeatable, easy to describe development tasks were shipped out initially to India as the talent pool and infrastructure made it cost effective and ensured this massive project was completed on time. In this case all that was required was a scaling up of the workforce to guarantee success. From that time, a number of close relationships were forged between large western organisation and Indian service providers. It was then realised that the scope of services could be expanded. Of course there were a number of trail blazing organisations already ahead of the curve but most people will agree this was a pivotal time for outsourcing.

Things have moved from there. The array of services on offer is staggering, with more being added all the time. It is difficult for people in the industry to keep up with the offerings. Niche service providers are becoming even more niche. From companies that will look after your ranking in search engines to a recent company I came across that owned a 3D imaging system contracted to model complex structural units in airplane engines and provide measurements to manufacturing companies. The move from low skilled labour to high experience skilled professionals is continuing. So, what course should someone study if they want to have a well paid job with some guarantee it wonít be outsourced to somewhere of lower cost.

There are obviously two types of career paths, corporate and non-corporate. If students want to follow the corporate career path there will be a reduced number of career opportunities with the increase of outsourcing. A few years ago there would have been a long list of jobs that fitted into this category. Letís look at a few of these.

Middle management still perceive of themselves as beyond the grasp of outsourcing, although, with the trend of matrix management, often managers donít have to actually understand the work being done, orchestration of the individual work items is all that is required. In fact many consultancies already achieve this by placing by placing long term consultants into middle management roles. The ramp up costs for new managers can be excessive but really good consultant managers can hit the ground running and be effective in a manner of weeks.

Upper management already have the concept of non executive directors, which is essentially bringing in external expertise, but the top level executive directors, in charge of strategy in a business unit need explicit knowledge that can not be outsourced. That doesnít help todayís students, what degree do they chose to get to those stratospheric levels.

The one thing many students have in their favour is the tenant that companies should not outsource their core. Therefore there will always be some jobs for all graduates. The main issue is that there will be considerably less of the outsourceable core skills. As the majority of companies send these jobs to external vendors.

Non-corporate skills so far have remained outside.

So what actual courses should be studied? If todayís student, if thinking about a corporate career perhaps the managerial style courses rather than courses which could be seen as core outsourcing skills would be suited best. The increasing move to global sourcing will put pressures on todayís workforce that are unknown to previous generations of students.

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Jason Creighton is the prime consultant and Managing Director of Outsourcing Mentor. He has worked with Global players like Microsoft and GE. He also writes articles outsourcing blog. For more information visit Please Rate this Article


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