Why ‘keeping business local’ isn’t the answer

Clare Anderson
01st July 2020

As the FT points out, globalisation and national resilience can co-exist, despite COVID-19. The seismic disruption and speed of the global pandemic makes the argument that we must cut back on globalisation for the sake of national resilience tempting. However, this is wrong and should be resisted as we look to the ‘new normal’ ahead of us. At face value, our current vulnerabilities, including disease transmission, economic interdependence and medical procurement, seem rooted in globalisation. Whilst it is true that diseases spread more easily through high levels of international contact, trade and travel, so too do the knowledge and resources to beat them. Our unprecedented degree of globalisation of technology, knowledge and communication, as well as growing economic exchange, has made it possible to share ground-breaking and life-saving knowledge more quickly and easily than ever before.

 

 

Whilst COVID has caused many countries to turn inward and undo years of multilateralism, as Euronews argues, the virus is actually the catalyst we need to fight nationalism and unite to solve the crisis. It showcases the need for global governance and cooperation. Without collaboration, sharing of data and best practices and learning from each other, the daunting experiences most citizens of the world have been through in the last months are only exacerbated. Never was there a more stark leveler of a threat to humanity. Take the case of New York having 7,500 ventilators for it’s 20 million people, versus the Central African Republic having just three for it’s five million people. Whilst the difference is striking, the consequences are alarming - for all of us. Clearly country borders are of no relevance in times like this. 

 

Crises of this sort often result in far-reaching social and economic change. And this means thinking about global citizenship - and what this means for your business going forward. Enforced remote working has shown that not everyone needs to be in the same office to be managed efficiently - good communication and collaboration can still be maintained and results achieved. Harvard Business Review notes that forced experimentation with remote working could actually be a spur to more businesses offshoring.  Resistance to offshoring may be historical due to technology not being good enough - or the staff not having been culturalised to the needs of the business. However the offshoring industry has evolved significantly over the last five to ten years, to the point where senior tech talent with five to ten years experience with reputable international companies is widely available. They understand how businesses work, their skills are high level and their experience is akin to someone working in London for example. 

 

Fundamentally, the main advantage of hiring a remote team member in a developing country is the economic arbitrage you can take advantage of with salary expenses. The savings to be made for equivalent talent are substantial.  Obviously this saving will directly impact your expenditure - with the knock-on effect of making your cash assets last longer and averting the need to source debt or capital raise, enabling you to grow faster. 

 

Another major advantage of hiring an offshore team member is that the talent market is much bigger - if you go global you get more choice - it’s that simple. Outside the top 1% of STEM graduates instantly poached by the likes of Google and Microsoft, there are still many really smart and highly motivated people available - they just don’t all necessarily live within commuting distance of your office. 

 

STEM graduates in developing countries tend to be much more highly motivated than their counterparts in places like London or Sydney. This flows from a different world view and a much greater hunger for success given the fewer employment opportunities available, as well as vastly different socio-economic circumstances. Offshoring a team member in a developing country can often mean support of an entire family - as opposed to merely giving someone the opportunity to upgrade to a larger TV, as might often be the case in a developed country. Empowering and growing super smart and hugely talented graduates in the developing world is a compelling CSR and social enterprise benefit to consider. And makes you a good global citizen - who understands we’re all in this together. 

 

COVID-19 has given comfort to businesses that remote work works. more cost-efficiently - and more competitively. If you’re considering embracing global citizenship and offering meaningful work to super-smart offshore talent, download our eBook, '30 Essential Questions to Ask a Provider Before You Outsource’. It will ensure you're informed and have the right questions to ask when considering the next step.

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