09/01/2004

Outsourcing & Off- Shoring

by Daniel Eakins

A press release issued on July 16, 2004 by BH Careers International reported that 71% of Americans are concerned that the trend of outsourcing jobs to foreign countries will affect their job security or earning potential. Information Technology (IT) jobs are one of the primary functions impacted by the outsourcing business strategy. BH Careers International reported that the best solution for outsourcing is to "be prepared". Daniel Eakins, M.A., Career Associate for the School of Technology at Capella University, offers these thoughts for IT professionals and students who are concerned about outsourcing:

There are two different kinds of "outsourcing"; offshoring and outsourcing. Offshoring is the term used for sending jobs overseas and outsourcing is most appropriately used to describe the process of sending specific functions to other domestic firms that specialize in those functions. Both offshoring and outsourcing are realistic concerns in today's market. Here are some tips for being prepared in case your organization decides to outsource:
  • Start before you sign on with a company. Use resources like LexisNexis to research companies before you sign on with them. You can pull up news articles to see if a company has recently offshored or outsourced jobs. Better yet…find someone that works in that company, talk with them, and find out what they know about the company's position on this topic. This data will help you understand the risk of working for that particular company.
  • Create a personal network, an interconnected group of supporters who serve as resources for your job search and ultimately for your career. Some great network contacts might include people you meet at business and social meetings who provide you with career information and advice. Students often hesitate to network because they feel awkward asking for help, but it should be an integral part of any job search. Though you might feel nervous when approaching a potential contact, networking is a skill that develops with practice, so don't give up. Most people love to talk about themselves and their jobs and are willing to give realistic—and free—advice.
  • Uncover hidden positions. Many people use the classifieds or internet job search engines as their sole job search technique. Statistics show that only 10% to 20% of jobs are ever published—which means that 80% to 90% of jobs remain hidden in the job market. Networking is the most effective way to uncover jobs.
  • Learn the business. Many IT Professionals work in companies where technology is not the primary purpose of that company's business. The more you show an interest in the company's primary purpose and obtain knowledge about the business, the more valuable you are to that employer and associated industry. It's wise to learn more than your field of expertise in IT.
  • Stay current in your knowledge of IT. Become an expert by following industry trends, joining professional organizations, reading industry publications, etc. Obtain additional knowledge, certifications, as required to remain marketable in your field of expertise.
  • Develop strategic relationships by becoming a team player and a valuable resource to the management team. Some people may call this "brown-nosing" while I call it "survival". People like to hire and work with people they know and can trust. This requires getting to know your co-workers and managers. In addition to getting your primary tasks done, step out of your cube once in a while and talk with people. Learn what's happening in the company, what the company's needs are, and link the work you are doing to those needs. Learn what is important to people you talk to and give it to them. This doesn't have to cost money. For example, you may run across an article in your academic research on your competitors that your boss would find useful. Provide it to them with a summary in case they don't have time to read the whole thing. A piece of chocolate every now and then or a thank you note also goes a long way toward building relationships!
  • Show the passion you have for your work. There's a reason that you pursued information technology as a career. Reflect upon that periodically and use it to reignite the passion you have for your job. This renewed passion will go a long way toward providing you with the energy to stay current in your position and toward keeping a positive attitude during these turbulent times.
  • Keep your job search materials such as your resume, accomplishment stories, interviewing skills, etc, current just in case your position is eliminated. Contact your college career center for assistance.

Offshoring and outsourcing are one of many employment related concerns in today's current economy. These tips from Daniel Eakins, M.A., and Capella's Career Associate for the School of Technology at Capella University, will assist you in taking charge of your career should your company decide to offshore or outsource your job functions.

References:
BH Careers International (2004). Outsourcing Poll Reveals Overwhelming Concern Among Workers. PRNewswire. New York, NY. Retrieved July 19, 2004, from http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040716/nyf010_1.html

Denham, T.J. Network Your Way to a Job. Retrieved online, May 6, 2004, from Purdue Placement Manual.


Daniel Eakins is a Career Associate at Capella University. He earned a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Thomas and earned his undergraduate degree at Metropolitan State University with a focus in Management Information Systems. He has experience in career services and 15 years of industry experience in information technology. Prior to coming to Capella, he worked for Lee Hecht Harrison, a global career transition firm. He holds memberships in NCDA and MCDA. He can be reached at
daniel.eakins@capella.edu

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