We live in an economy that continues to struggle because jobs are being moved overseas. Whether it's sending manual labor to another country or outsourcing virtual work to those living abroad, this hurts America. More so, it leads to much dissatisfaction because those working overseas are often unable to provide first-class work that is easily obtainable here in the U.S. Laura Spawn, a disruptive female American entrepreneur, understands this ever-increasing problem, which is why she foundedVirtual Vocations. The company thinks its American service will stand out and remain competitive in a field crowded with overseas, offshore, lower-quality options.
Spawn founded the company in 2007 after she started working online to gain control over her daily schedule and gain the flexibility she needed to be with her kids in the afternoons. Ten years later, it's an essential resource for workers and employers alike. "Virtual Vocations screened over 100,000 potential telecommute jobs in 2016, adding over 25,000 to our database for job seekers." Spawn said. The Arizona-based company was bootstrapped in the Southeast and has experienced significant growth while competing with VC-backed, outsourcing competitors.
Virtual jobs in the U.S.
The virtual job industry is massive in the United States. Call-center employees alone make up 3 percent of the American work force, employing about four million people. Unfortunately, though, advances in technology have made it exceptionally easy to move call-center infrastructures overseas, giving employers access to people who are willing to fulfill their duties at a much lower cost. As the trend of outsourcing virtual jobs overseas continues to rise, the livelihood of U.S. workers continues to take a rough hit. Spawn refuses to contribute to the severe underpayment ecosystem. "One of our criteria is that the position must be available to U.S. jobseekers" she explained, "and provide acceptable pay rates in accordance with state and federal wage requirements."
Why are jobs being outsourced overseas?
Firms have come under heavy pressure lately to cut expenses by any means necessary, which has greatly contributed to the trend of outsourcing jobs overseas. A Pulitzer Prize- winning columnist and professor of public and international affairs at George Mason University, Steve Pearlstein, blames "a wave of corporate takeovers, many of them unwanted and uninvited. Corporate executives came to fear that if they did not run their businesses with the aim of maximizing short-term profits and share prices, their companies would become takeover targets and they would be out of a job. Overnight, outsourcing became a manhood test for corporate executives."
Security concerns are at an extreme high when shipping jobs overseas, especially ones that involve the use of customers' personal information. The Associated Press released an article stating that in 2006, "outsourcing centers in India [processed] about 8 percent of U.S. banking transactions, as financial institutions have increasingly shifted back office work and other software-related jobs to India, where wages are low. But there have been concerns about data security ... including incidents in which customers' private information was sold."
Disadvantages of outsourcing virtual jobs overseas.
When virtual jobs are outsourced overseas, it not only hurts the American economy from a labor economy standpoint, but also because customers tend to be less satisfied with the services received. Researchers from the MIT Sloan School of Management recently conducted a study and found that offshore outsourcing resulted "in a significant decrease in service quality and customer satisfaction." This dissatisfaction with services likely arises due to linguistic and cultural barriers.
Security and privacy concerns are other factors that play into customer dissatisfaction, because these workers tend not to be subject to the same background checks that U.S. workers must go through; this means confidential and sensitive data becomes much less secure when it's being handled by overseas workers rather than agents who have passed strict background screenings.
"By providing job seekers with real jobs that offer real pay and employers with thoroughly screened workers," Spawn says, "Virtual Vocations keeps telecommuting virtual work in the United States." Telecommuting jobs through these job boards are generally posted and updated daily and the jobs are available for viewing only by those who have registered. Job seekers can choose to receive personalized alerts relating to the virtual jobs that best match their interests, and they can also track their job application history through such sites, helping them stay organized throughout the entire job search.