Can ITO and BPO jobs come back to the US?

November 20, 2011

Recent,ly Business Week published an article that predicted that slowly American manufacturing jobs are coming back to US,  and that the rate will accelerate in the coming years. The article explained various anecdotal evidences and statistics to prove the point.

Following are some of the evidences for outsourced manufacturing jobs are coming back to US:
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that manufacturing companies in the US have expanded for the past 24 consecutive months.
The Federal Reserve reported that US manufacturing jobs gained year-over-year 3.8%.

Following are some of the reasons quoted for manufacturing jobs coming back to the US:

The labor cost in China has been growing by 15%-20% on a yearly basis; this is 30% lower than low-cost cities in US. It has been predicted that the manufacturing cost in China will equalize with the American manufacturing cost by 2015.

Similar to manufacturing jobs coming back to the US, ITO and BPO jobs are coming back from India to the US. Several new names are formed to denote this phenomenon, such as onshoring, insourcing, and US rural sourcing. The big question is how it will affect India’s status as the only country for ITO and BPO jobs? At this time no one knows the extent to how much it will affect India. Also, in the US the current unemployment rate in IT is less than 4%. Still, companies are having a tough time finding qualified IT workers in hot technologies like web design, Java, cloud computing, and mobile technology.

McKinsey did a  research report on onshoring. In the report they found out that the IT wage in smaller US cities are 30% lower than in bigger US cities. Meanwhile in India both attrition rate and wages are increasing sharply, which puts pressure on big Indian outsource companies like TCS, Wipro, and Infosys to maintain their profit margin. These Indian outsource companies’ business model is to hire more IT workers  early and make them work in an outsourced project. So with less quality workers in India, a high attrition rate, and a steep wage rise, it will be difficult to keep the profit-margin without rising their client engagement fee.

Mckinsey Survey IT salary in US cities Can ITO and BPO jobs come back to the US?
American companies are watching the trends in India, and are making wise decisions on their sourcing strategies, choosing from various sourcing strategies like onshoring, ruralsourcing, closeshoring, nearshoring, and offshoring. However, the current demand for IT workers make American companies look to India as their preferred offshore destination for their large-scale IT needs in which cost arbitrage is the main requirement in their projects. This trend will continue until the cost of IT workers India is less than in US. No one knows how long it will take for Indian IT salaries to be comparable to American IT salaries and when cost arbitrage will no longer be possible. Until that day, India can enjoy large scale ITO and BPO projects coming their way.


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