How times change.
A decade back it wasn’t clear how much the Internet will impact the job scenario across the world. Although outsourcing job sites like Elance (1999), oDesk (2005) and others predate the period in question, they were never like commanding the online job scenario.
Between then and now many job sites for online work have sprung up in different hues. There are indications that gradually the spread of workforce is becoming global by nature.
That it’s taking time is primarily because of slow Internet penetration, especially in the third-world countries. This means that talented people in those countries have no means to show their skills online and cannot access the outsourced job market.
This is about to change. Take a look at the following charts. The first chart from Google shows the number of people with access to Internet per 100 inhabitants – in other words, Internet users as percentage of population. This is supported by the actual World Bank figures between 2009 and 2012 (second chart).
Both the charts depict a phenomenal growth in Internet’s penetration across the globe. Move your cursor on the Google chart for precise figures.
Here is another chart by Google that gives the detail figures for fixed broadband Internet subscribers per 100 people. It is clear that the Internet penetration in India is still very low.
The scales have tilted against US domination of Internet usage in the last 2 decades for sure. To understand the extent, consider that in 1991 when Tim Berner-Lee invented the World Wide Web, 70% of the users were from United States alone. In 2010 only 10% users lived in the US. This will further go down with increasing Internet usage elsewhere.
Look at the chart closely. You’ll notice that a few African countries like Ghana, DRC, and Sierra Leone have begun appearing on the horizon. Ghana of course is at a much higher level, even above India. No prize guessing that these countries will see rapid growth in Internet usage in the days to come.
The trend of a rising global workforce is already in view. This will gain greater momentum as Internet spreads out more and more. And as that happens, people’s talent is bound to blossom and get noticed.
Will This Affect India?
The picture is hazy as of now. On one hand the Internet penetration in India is quite low, so the demand side story is yet to develop and mature. On the supply side it is a fashion to imagine (with skewed belief) that ours is a talent surplus country and therefore shockproof to global changes.
This according to me is not true.
There is no denying that India has an edge in that it has a large pool of technologically proficient people. However, how much of that will actually work on the ground is not clear. Also the question remains whether this advantage is going to last forever.
As things rapidly unfold, like for example Facebook’s ambitious plan of using drones to spread Internet, it is quite likely that in another decade from now even Indian companies look for people from other countries, especially those where the wages are low.
Examples of Global Hiring
Global hiring is too ‘real’ to ignore. Now it’s the era of ‘glocalization’. It means that as an entrepreneur you design and deliver global solutions that have total relevance to every local market you plan to attack (excerpted from this article). Simply put, the world is now a single market, both homogeneous and heterogeneous.
If that is true, shouldn’t there be a trend for hiring global expertise? Yes there is, and I’m going to talk about a few examples about that.
Buffer, the company that provides a software application to manage multiple social media accounts, is a fully distributed team. It works from multiple countries. And as CEO Joel Gascoigne says, “I am happy to report that I am in love with the choice we made to be distributed all across the world.”
SitePoint is a popular Australia-based company that publishes books and articles, and runs online courses on web development. In its drive to enlist new PHP authors SitePoint has recently recruited 17 people who’d work from their places. Surprisingly, all of them are from distant countries – 3 from India, 2 from France, and 1 each from Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Romania, Philippines, Morocco, China, Netherlands, Finland, Vietnam, Mexico, Poland, and UK.
The PHP editor, himself a Croat, puts it succinctly – all are welcome and their contributions appreciated – with such a diversity in country of origin, our channel is quickly becoming a true melting pot of attitudes, approaches and thoughts.
The jobs page for web designers in Dribbble, the go-to resource for discovering and connecting with designers around the globe, has nearly all the openings for posting anywhere. This shows that a large chunk of jobs that can be serviced online is looking for talents from any corner of the globe. This trend is only going to increase over the coming time.
Writing on the Wall
You’d come across several arguments on the question of hiring global workforce. Many in the West believe there is superior talent in their countries compared to those who come from impoverished nations. They are wrong.
Knowledge has no boundary. And as the Internet spreads its reach to the remotest corners of the globe, you may be surprised by the talent available in faraway countries ready to work for you at a fraction of what you wanted to spend.
I think it is not right to assume that companies in the western world, big or small, will hire people only from their countries when they can easily get similar (or perhaps superior) service from someone thousands of miles away.
Not without reason Dr Paul Roberts, the erstwhile Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, believes that the offshore outsourcing of American jobs is a greater threat than terrorism.
What’s your take on this subject? How are you preparing to be a part of global workforce? What are your career tips for the young aspirants in the coming days (and years)?
Do share with our readers in the comments below.