I've been seeing a lot about outsourcing this week both for and against. Michel Fortin tweeted about a couple interesting articles: One a review by Erin Blaskie on a program offered by a well-known marketer , the other Thoughts on Exploitation by Jennifer Mattern on All Freelance Writing
The topic has also come up recently on a work at home forum I frequent, specifically “How can I bid to compete with the people at Guru?” And we've received comments on our own work at home jobs database on the low wage offered for a job that required a fair amount of skills.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind I'm not promoting any of the people, companies or programs mentioned in these articles. I'm pointing to them because the ideas in them on outsourcing overseas are valid and thought-provoking.
And while I'm disclaiming lol! I think we all use the term “outsourcing” too loosely. We all outsource. Outsourcing is what we do when we hire someone else to do work. Outsourcing can be given to someone in the same country. For the purposes of this discussion I mean outsourcing overseas or and I think, a better term, offshoring.
I've been going round and round about this in my mind for years as I'm sure many of you have too. I still am at a loss for definite opinion. It seems because really it has so many gray areas.
* Is it fair to freelancers from developed countries?
* Is it fair to to workers from undeveloped countries?
* Is it exploitation of workers from either side of the employment coin?
And after all the considerations we're still down to how is a freelancer from an economically better-off country supposed to compete with someone who accepts $2.00 hr.?
Oklahoma a third-world country?
An aside here to put an interesting perspective on this: Did you know that the minimum wage in Oklahoma was $2.00? *nods head* seriously, it can be: Minimum wage by State from Dept. of Labor
On the one hand on behalf of and in empathy with workers of the world I feel angered at being offered a job at $2.00 an hour for work that might be paid at $18.00 – $20.00 somewhere else, more specifically I'm angered at a rate of pay I can't subsist on. I also see the other side of the coin – both for the worker and the employer. If the worker receiving $2.00 thinks it's fair, then what can I say except lucky him for living in an economy where that's a good wage? And if the employer can get it done for less, thereby making more money, why shouldn't they, that's capitalism?
A comment to one of the articles was from a Filipino that felt yes the money was good for the Philippines but when thinking about what an Australian would get paid for it, he felt exploited for not having been offered that same amount of money for the same job. He had the same education, same skills, his English was perfect. In fact I wouldn't have know English was his second language. I've heard much poorer from natural Americans.
In other words if the employer could pay $3,000 for a person, but chose to hire a person from the Philippines at $300.00. while that was a good wage, this person still felt exploited. On the other hand I've seen other offshored freelancers say that was just super as far as they were concerned, that no one was forcing them to work, they'd happily take it, thank you very much!
What do you think?
Hey, while we're discussing it, has your opinion of pay amounts changed any with the current recessionary economy? Are you willing to accept less now than a year ago?
Interested in hearing your thoughts.