Will Offshore Outsourcing Projections Impact Virtual Assistants?

Report on the recent projections for the growth of outsourcing and offshoring and how they may affect the Virtual Assistant Industry and VAs. Will Offshore Outsourcing Projections Impact Virtual Assistants?

By Angela Allen Parker

As the offshore outsourcing phenomenon continues to expand, the projections for the next 18 months have increased 40% from 588,000 to 830,000 as reported by the Forrester Research, Inc. (www.forrester.com). Forrester released their new updated figures in May.

These figures reflect the growth in outsourced US service jobs by the end of 2005 and bump up Forrester’s earlier projection that 3.3 million US services jobs will be outsourced offshore by 2015 to 3.4 million by that same year. This increase was fueled by statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It is not the larger corporations increasing their use of offshore outsourcing — it is the small to mid-sized companies that are trying this approach for the first time and finding it profitable. This is especially true in IT areas.

Offshore labor providers are increasing their marketing in an effort to secure more clients and have the strongest showing in China, the Philippines, and India.

How will this affect VAs?

The good news is that regular use of offshore outsourcing by companies may increase the speed with which “traditional” markets, still unfamiliar with our own Virtual Assistant Industry, will be introduced to offsite services of all types. This may increase the use of individual VAs worldwide.

But “offshoring” may also affect the bottom-line for Virtual Assistants, especially those offering general services and those niches most promoted by these outsourcing companies.

Currently the VA concept is most widely accepted in the US, but this “offshoring” promises to increase the visibility and market share for VAs in all countries.

At this time, services delivered by VAs are not targeted, but the service offerings are increasing and will continue to increase.

What should VAs do to prepare?

Virtual Assistants must hone their best tools to ensure longevity as the playing field becomes a bit more crowded.

This means developing a well-defined niche in an area where they are educated, skilled, and qualified while continuing to offer the personal care and superior customer support that has been the foundation of this virtual, off-site industry.

Superior customer service secures a provider’s future clients; regardless of the way services are delivered.

U.S. Legislation is currently being proposed on these and related issues. VAs may want to stay informed on US Federal legislation on offshore outsourcing and legislation in your own state.

© Copyright 2004 by Angela Allen Parker. This article first appeared in the June 2004 issue of the IVAACast – official newsletter of the International Virtual Assistants Association.