Outsourcing U.S. Jobs: Is Your Job Industry at Risk?

May 17, 2008

U.S. workers have suspected for years that many industries have been outsourcing jobs to foreign lands. All one could do was wait it out, which could, consequently, end with a pink slip from the boss. Though most of the secret has now been demystified with the new study, “Jobs Beyond Borders,” from and The Wharton School. The study identifies jobs that are at most risk of offshoring and its impact on the U.S. job market. Is your job industry at risk?

The survey researched 3,000 human-resource professionals and hiring managers, plus 6,700 U.S. workers. “Among employers who offshore, half said they believe offshoring is necessary to compete in a global economy and 15 percent project more than 20 percent of their jobs will eventually be sent overseas,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of “This does not mean the U.S. will see a reduction in employment levels, however. One-in-four employers who offshore said it has enabled them to create a greater number of better jobs here in the U.S.”

The study revealed a pattern of the types of jobs that are outsourced, said Lorin Hitt, Associate Professor of Operations and Information Management at the Wharton School.

The U.S. regions that outsourced their employees the most included the West and Northeast. The most attractive foreign regions for employers include India, China and Mexico. The affected industries range from technology, banking and telecommunications, with high-skilled positions at risk: computer programmers, systems analyst, sales managers, graphic designers and HR personnel.

The study also uncovered that older employees were more at risk for displacement than younger employees; 71 percent were “let go.”


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