Are Outsourced Jobs Coming Back? Some U. S. companies that have sent jobs overseas are bringing those positions back. Christine Ferrusi Ross is research director at Forrester Research, which tracks outsourcing and inshoring. She talks with Linda Wertheimer about why jobs that were once outsourced could be returning.

Are Outsourced Jobs Coming Back?

Are Outsourced Jobs Coming Back?

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Some U. S. companies that have sent jobs overseas are bringing those positions back. Christine Ferrusi Ross is research director at Forrester Research, which tracks outsourcing and inshoring. She talks with Linda Wertheimer about why jobs that were once outsourced could be returning.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

To find out how many companies are bringing jobs back home, we turn to Christine Ferrusi Ross. She is research director at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It's a company that tracks outsourcing and in-shoring. Welcome to the program, Ms. Ross.

Ms. CHRISTINE FERRUSI ROSS (Research Director, Forrester Research): Thank you, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: Is this any kind of a trend? Is it something you could quantify?

Ms. ROSS: Right now, it's at the anecdotal stages. New work is getting placed in the United States. We haven't got data that show us that companies in any significant trendway are pulling work away from India or the Philippines, or another country.

WERTHEIMER: Now, an official quoted in the piece we just heard suggested that there is a growing competition among cities and regions in the country to attract jobs. Does it help for states and communities to offer incentives?

Ms. ROSS: It certainly does. If you think about the way that companies go offshore, a lot of what sends them offshore is not just the labor rate, which is what we think of when we think of the equivalent person in another country like India or the Philippines. There are tax rates with the government that you negotiate, the cost of the facilities. So, when you put all of those things together, if a state or a city in the United States is willing to offer a service provider or another company - there are financial things that you could do that would make it more attractive to stay in the United States. And potentially, depending on what the benefits are, even bring some work back from one of those other countries.

WERTHEIMER: Well, what do you think? Is in-shoring likely to catch on, or do you think bottom-line realities continue to point offshore?

Ms. ROSS: I think the reality is, actually, both. I think in the short term, economic realities make it as cost-effective in certain situations to have your call centers or other kind of work done in the United States. Long term, you also have to think, though, about population trends. We might not have the talent for IT to ever really come back onshore fully, if you think about, as the United States, we're an older population. Whereas, if you looked at India, their median age of the population is much younger.

So, if you think about long term, it might not be economics that continues sending work offshore. It might actually be demographic issues. I think that we're going to have to look at it from a much bigger picture to figure out what pieces are going to come back. So, I would say in the short term, there are a lot of benefits to bringing it back and keeping it here. In the longer term, I think it's a much bigger issue, relative to population trends and demographics, that will send work to other countries.

WERTHEIMER: Christine Ferrusi Ross. She is research director at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That's the company which tracks trends like outsourcing and in-shoring. Thank you.

Ms. ROSS: Thanks, Linda.

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