Outsourcing: Is It a Good Idea? Not for U.S. Job Seekers
Outsourcing, is it a good idea? Not for U.S. job seekers. Fortunately, some industries still need workers here at home.
Not so long ago, having advanced computer skills was considered the ultimate in job security. However, times have changed. Now, tech jobs are among the most heavily outsourced. Research firm Computer Economics recently estimated that more than half of all software application development work was contracted out in 2009, often to workers in other countries, along with 44 percent of application maintenance tasks and 40 percent of Web site and e-commerce work.
Which well-paid careers won't be shipped overseas? Our experts – career coaches Susan Bernstein, MBA, Ph.D., founder of Work from Within, LLC in San Francisco, and feature writer and instructor Paym Bergson in Toronto – offer this list of hard-to-outsource jobs that highlights a variety of industry sectors.
The jobs share a key factor, Bernstein says. "Think about things where you literally have to touch or see people," she says. "Managing anything related to personal services or healthcare – that can't be outsourced."
1. Physician assistant jobs – Despite the global economy, doctors will still need to see patients in person, and physician assistants will need to be on hand to free doctors from many routine clinical tasks. Becoming a physician assistant requires a bachelor's degree and board certification, at the very least, but most physician assistants complete a master's degree, as well. This is a highly lucrative field which, like most jobs in healthcare, is forecast to grow rapidly in the years to come. Median annual salary: $85,124
2. Education administrator jobs (elementary school) – If you're a teacher or have been one, completing a master's degree could position you for this well-paid role setting policy and overseeing day-to-day operations at a school – which can only be done on site. Bernstein says roles may vary from project management to overseeing staff. Keep in mind that elementary school administration pays more than the job does at many other institutional levels, according to PayScale.com. Median annual salary: $70,163
3. Facilities manager jobs– Venues from concert halls to colleges need someone on hand to make sure they're properly maintained and staffed. You can't tell if the toilet's stopped up from India. Median annual salary: $59,332
4. Dental hygienist jobs – No matter how far technology advances, it's unlikely you'll be able to get your teeth cleaned here in the States by someone who's overseas. Bergson notes that once you're in the dental field, you can move fairly easily into a variety of other roles including selling dental supplies and working as a holistic dental hygenist. Median annual salary: $57,148
5. Psychiatric nurse jobs – Nurses in this in-demand field assist patients with mental-health issues, in a range of settings. A two-year degree is the usual ticket into this field, which the Department of Labor forecasts will see rapid growth. Bernstein reports this field is "the easiest specialty to get into as a nurse," with no waiting for needed hands-on training. Median annual salary: $56,835
6. Retail sales manager jobs – If you've held sales positions, consider moving up to management. It's hard enough to motivate salespeople to be their best in person – it's not going to happen from another country. While many sales managers have at least a two-year degree, others work their way up on the job. Median annual salary: $48,543
7. Landscaping worker jobs – Nobody's trimming your hedge from abroad. And gardening work is surprisingly lucrative, and forecast to grow, especially in grounds maintenance for commercial buildings and golf courses. In this enjoyable field, workers are often self-taught. Bergson reports many in colder climes fill in the slow winter months by also offering snow-removal services. Median annual salary: $46,973
8. Computer network installer jobs – Though many computer jobs have been widely outsourced, the DOL expects this role to see exceptional job growth. Someone still has to show up in person to set up wireless networks or thread fiber-optic cable to someone's home when they need an Internet connection. Median annual salary: $46,578
9. Automotive repair jobs – Nearly everyone needs auto repair help at some point. It would take too long and cost too much in transportation to ship your car off to a foreign land for repairs, so mechanic jobs will stay in the U.S. Ditto for truck and airplane repair. And the Department of Labor expects job prospects to be good, as a wave of workers are hitting retirement age. Median annual salary: $45,150
10. Catering manager jobs – Food spoils, and with the trend toward eating local, it's clear that catering isn't going to see much outsourcing, says Bernstein. Some managers learn this task while working in the foodservice industry as chefs or servers, while others have a culinary arts degree. Median annual salary: $44,356
Source: All salary data is from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.