Staying Marketable in This Age of Outsourcing

While the debate rages over whether outsourcing will ultimately prove a long-term boon or bust for the U.S. economy, the inescapable fact is the phenomenon will affect millions of American jobs well into the foreseeable future, forcing dramatic changes in business and workforce practices and education.

According to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), an outsourcing advocacy group, “In 2010, revenue of outsourcing service providers grew at the fastest pace in recent years of more than 10 percent… This growth is expected to continue in the coming year.”

Moreover, the IAOP predicts 2011 will see “increased outsourcing acceptance politically” as the trend spreads more rapidly across the globe, especially to Latin America. Having already made a major impact upon U.S. manufacturing and IT sectors, outsourcing is anticipated to also begin reshaping the American retailing industry in the new year even as more and more U.S. companies simultaneously outsource multiple functions to a shrinking network of vendors.

In the popular mindset, “outsourcing” is defined as a shifting of jobs — typically in the manufacturing, information and customer service sectors — to overseas nations where labor and production costs are cheaper.

However, there is another fast-exploding trend known as “domestic outsourcing,” in which American companies are now turning to stateside contract workers as yet another way to decrease overhead.

Consumer Affairs reports: “Research by the Human Capital Institute indicates that one-third of the U.S. work force is now composed of freelancers [and] the institute says the pool of these workers, who often are part-time, is growing at more than twice the rate of the full-time work force.”

In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the past three years the slow economy has spurred a burgeoning class of freelancers and independent contractors now more than 2 million strong. Their ranks are not simply composed of low-wage service providers, but of “higher-skilled” marketing and business entrepreneurs and consultants as well.

Armed with this information, it’s possible to map out a career path that will make one extremely marketable within the next five years and beyond. Experts generally agree that leadership professionals in the business, sales, marketing — and specifically health care marketing — sectors will be among those best poised to survive and even leverage the outsourcing phenomenon. In short, they will become its drivers.

This will be true whether the professional in question prefers the corporate or independent (freelance) employment model. As Consumer Affairs again notes: “It’s not just entry level, or even midcareer, job hunters who are joining the freelance world. Increasingly, top-level managers and executive teams are being shaken from established bureaucracies, replaced by temporary CEOs and troubleshooters brought in for their expertise in solving specific problems.”

It goes without saying that higher education degrees offer unprecedented access to these career paths, whether through a traditional institution, online bachelor degree programs or online master’s degree programs. Since business leadership and intelligence, economic understanding, management skills, ethics training, creativity and strategic planning will become increasingly vital commodities subject to ever-higher demand, a degree in business intelligence or business administration can lay solid foundations for the new reality of outsourcing. Further, bachelor’s degrees along with MBAs attained through professionally recognized and accredited programs can not only be expected to yield higher levels of job security and satisfaction, but higher wages overall.

Whatever the final verdict in the outsourcing debate, the right education today can deliver the lifelong professional leadership, instincts and skills needed to navigate a rapidly changing global economy for decades to come.

The diverse array of business courses and degree programs offered through American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited online degree programs focused on the needs of high-growth sectors.

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