Outsourcing: A Modern Outlook

Outsourcing is often misconstrued as only being used for businesses to cut costs as they struggle to stay afloat. Outsourcing is still somewhat of a dirty word in certain quarters, symbolizing jobs and contracts lost (most overseas) at a fraction of the cost.

More recently, however, outsourcing has proven to be a valuable tool for an expanding company to manage its growth. Known as ‘business process outsourcing’, the practice involves a company paying another organisation to carry out a function for it. For instance, to keep competitive, increase its online presence and market share – a business may chose to outsource their digital marketing to a specialist, rather than having its own digital marketing department.

Similarly, the growth of outsourcing can be attributed to a changing job market. By virtue of the internet and increase social activity, endless new opportunities for young educated people are opening up. Not only are there options outside of the “traditional” 9-5 bracket, but these outsourcing opportunities might be some of the only options in particular industries.

At the recent launch of the report A Snapshot of Australia’s Digital Future to 2050 futurist Mark Pesce predicted the employment market is “going to look a lot more like eBay than it does like Seek.”

“The idea of employment, as in a job that lasts for more than a few days or a few weeks, is going to be this very weird term by 2050. Our grandkids will go up to us and say, ‘You had a job and you did it for years at a time?’”, says Pesce.

“That much connectivity in the economy creates this enormous capability for fluidity, and so jobs are going to start to become gigs and those are going to start to become tasks, and eventually we’re all just going to be doing a little bit here and a little bit there and it may not be until we get up in the morning and check the smartphone that we’re going to be knowing what we’re going to be doing that day.”

In Australia, the technology outsourcing market grew 6.4 per cent in 2011, to hit $7.2 billion, with IBM the most successful technology supplier, according to data presented by research firm Gartner.

The statistics, released on Monday, formed part of a global study of technology outsourcing (ITO), which found that, around the world, outsourcing revenues had increased 7.8 per cent to $US246.6 billion in total.

Micro-job outsourcing has also exponentially increased, partially thanks to websites such as Fiver and more recently, Insider Jobs.

Fiver is a is an Israel-based global online marketplace offering tasks and services usually at $5, while Insider jobs, founded by Craig Wilson, is based in Newcastle, Australia, with the aim to try to keep outsourcing local, described by Wilson as “Townsourcing”. In both domains entrepreneurs and freelancers can use the website to monetize and sell their services. Customers in need of services can find and commission that service directly through the site.

While outsourcing has been increasingly adopted in recent times, comparatively speaking, Australia lags behind the rest of the world a little. Just 34 per cent of local companies say outsourcing is a standard practice in their organisation, compared with 60 per cent globally, according to a Deloitte survey last year.


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