What Worked Against Outsourcing Won’t Against Automation
While the U.S. has long been under threat of outsourcing due to the lower-wages abroad and an increasingly globalized environment, industries that have looked to counter the negative effects of outsourcing are now at risk from automation.
In Missouri, a company called Onshore Outsourcing looked to help stem the tide of jobs flowing outward to India by offering to outsource jobs to people living in the U.S. in rural areas. The move was highly celebrated by local business leaders, and the owner was able to receive funding to get this project working. But while the business has thrived in terms of keeping jobs on American soil, the owner himself admits that automation presents a whole new threat—a threat for which companies have not yet prepared.
The problem is that while some companies have been combating the growing problem of outsourcing, they have not yet readied themselves for the coming of superior automation that will see many Americans lose their jobs. When the two threats to American jobs combine, the results could be disastrous.
While India, a common destination for outsourced U.S. jobs, offers relatively similar levels of competence for far lower prices, automation may in fact be able to raise the stakes, offering superior services for a discount. Of course, this is all predicated on advanced technology, but many studies continue to point towards automation coming within the next few decades, depending on the industry.
The amount of options that a company will be offered will be harder to combat, as American workers will now not only have to prove a better fit than outsourced, cheaper workers abroad, but also machines that don’t require a paycheck every two weeks.
While novel ideas like Onshore Outsourcing were once able to stave off a good number of job losses from America, there has yet to be a similar movement in the prevention of automation takeover and the resultant fallout of having many U.S. workers out of a job.
While the owner of Onshore Outsourcing claims to be looking into ways to fight automation, there has yet to be a similar movement of alternatives that could help save U.S. jobs compared to the progress that has been made with outsourcing. The benefit, though, is that automation is still relatively young, so new alternatives may be on the way, but the question is: How many jobs will be lost before then?
“IT outsourcing business focuses on Missouri jobs, but braces for rise of automation,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 30, 2017.