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Reverse outsourcing is a growing trend among international companies. Reverse outsourcing is the hiring of American workers by foreign companies. Often times, the American worker completes tasks for their foreign employer without ever leaving the U.S.A. For nearly two decades, American companies have sent jobs overseas in an attempt to cut costs and seek more productive workers. Undoubtedly, this action has hurt the U.S. job market and negatively impacted the economy. Now these jobs are headed back to the U.S. as global employers seek American workers for short and long-term contract work. According to job expert Tory Johnson, in 2009 American freelancers earned roughly 15 million dollars from non-U.S. companies. He expects that figure to double by the end of 2011. Reverse outsourcing will lead to thousands of new opportunities for telecommuters as foreign companies begin to tap the talent pool in America. Today’s workforce is hungry for new opportunities and foreign firms are able to offer fantastic prospects for telecommuters.

Why would foreign companies want to hire American workers? Foreign firms are looking to break into the American market and build up their U.S. customer base. Many foreign companies now have contract work within the U.S. Many times these foreign companies are half a world away. It is too expensive to fly employees to the U.S. multiple times a month and it is unreasonable to think that the massive distance will inevitably cause problems. How are these issues resolved? Hire American workers to focus on the American consumer they already know so well. Think back to Japanese automakers opening plants in states like Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. It is no secret that America is a consumer country and foreign companies want a piece of that pie.

An additional benefit to hiring American workers is their impeccable English. Foreign businesses need English-speaking Americans to design web content, create marketing campaigns and provide customer service. The American worker knows and understands the U.S. market better than any foreign worker could. Countries like Singapore, India, Israel, Thailand and Germany are hoping to increase their influence in the U.S. market by hiring American employees. As ABC News stated, “Americans have the edge when it comes to customer service and support, public relations, web site content, branding and marketing to a U.S. customer base.”

Isn’t labor not cheaper in foreign countries? Although the labor-cost model in India, China or Vietnam is less than that found in the U.S., hidden costs end up making it almost equally as expensive to keep employment in their own country. Imagine the cost of having your employees travel back and forth from India to the U.S. to meet many times with an American customer. Additional costs come from time delays and misunderstandings that come up as a result of the customer being so far away. Furthermore, the wage gap between countries like India and the U.S. is closing. Growing economies in both India and China have dried up the pool of low-cost skilled workers. As economies grow, the countries develop, and the standard of living increases. This leads to higher wages for skilled workers. Conversely, the recession in the U.S. has weakened the economy and generated a large amount of unemployed, skilled workers. Wages have fallen as workers are willing to take any work they can find. Now that U.S. wages have dropped off and Southeast Asian wages have increased, the gap is a non-issue and foreign firms would rather pay for the more skilled, educated U.S. employees.

Another reason for the increased demand for American workers is the impact the recession has had on industries in other countries. The recession hit different industries in different counties unevenly (Newsweek). For example, marketing, information technology, and editing skills are in higher demand in Australia then they are in the U.S. (Jane Genova). Although the demand for these individuals is in Australia, the supply is still in the U.S. As a result, Australian companies are willing to let Americans telecommute from the states. Additionally, Business Week reports that there is an increasing demand in Asia and Europe for Americans with business degrees. As Southeast Asia continues to develop,      their economies will grow and the professional services of educated Americans will be               in high demand.

The tech-savvy Asian culture is more than willing to embrace telecommuting as the new standard in today’s global economy. Furthermore, college graduates are far more abundant in the U.S. than in most of Southeast Asia and many European countries. These graduates are an intellectual resource to these newly developed countries that have budding service and technology industries. Again, here is a simple case of supply and demand. These budding industries are demanding educated, skilled laborers and no country on Earth has a greater supply of them then the U.S. In order to meet this demand, Asian and European firms are allowing Americans to telecommute from the comfort of their own homes.

Many of the manufacturing jobs that have been outsourced from America involve mass production work. The modern American worker is geared towards producing quality work, not quantity work. Many companies realize it is cheaper to produce 1,000,000 non-durable goods in a country like Cambodia. But America is the choice for those companies looking to produce high quality, specialized products like a super computer. Gone are the days of manufacturing; now are the days of computer information and service-based industries. Generation X & Y is not about 9-5 in the factory. Today’s American worker is geared towards technological innovation. They are about using modern resources to revolutionize old ideas. Look at American companies like Apple, E-bay, and Facebook and what they have been able to achieve through technological advances.

Old American niches like automobile production and agriculture have been replaced with ones that would have seemed like a fantasy 20 or 30 years ago. But America is not the only player in the technology game. Countries like Israel, Germany, India and China are becoming more and more technologically advanced each day. Israel boasts a greater amount of startup websites than any other country on Earth. Companies like Lenovo in China and Allianz in Germany now have a global presence. They seek to employ top talent and realize only the brightest brains will keep them ahead in the constant race to innovate. Many of this top talent lives within the U.S. Multinational companies headquartered all over the world are looking to hire Americans with a specific skill set; Americans who grasp the complexity of modern technology. It is these individuals who will see more and more opportunities as global telecommuters.

Reverse outsourcing is a reality in the world today. Multinational companies are catching up to the U.S. firms in their reach and capabilities. These foreign companies want to expand their reach and cash in on American consumerism. Such companies believe employing America’s workforce will help them achieve access to new markets. They want Americans who better understand the customer’s wants, live next door to the consumer, and speak the same language as that target market. They want Americans who are educated and understand business; Americans who embrace technology and understand how it works. The traditional American outsourcing was about finding the cheapest labor available. This reverse outsourcing is about finding the highest quality labor force available. As giant, successful firms emerge from developing countries around the world, opportunities for educated telecommuters will grow. While traditional outsourcing may have erased American jobs and hindered the U.S. economy, reverse outsourcing will provide high-paying American jobs, increase opportunities for telecommuting and support the economy.

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