Remote work in Australia ripe for India outsourcing, warns investor

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Remote workers resisting the mandate to return to the office just got a stark warning. Although it comes from an Indian investor eyeing opportunities in Australia, employees everywhere need to pay attention.

As in the US, Australian managers are struggling with remote workers who are ignoring orders to return to the office. Meanwhile, Down Under, businesses are also facing the challenges of rising inflation, high interest rates and a slowing economy.

One takeaway: concerns that jobs done remotely in Australia are at risk of being sent to India.

“They can absolutely be outsourced,” Iqbal Singh, founder of financial consultancy Innovative Consultants, told this week. “Staff support, IT, finance, mortgages – they can all be supported due to lower costs and English-speaking staff at the same time.”

Singh calls the Indian workforce “one of the biggest opportunities” for Australian businesses. He estimates that roles filled by Indian workers would cost 10% to 15% of an Australian worker’s salary – as well as providing “greater efficiency”.

“Ultimately, the biggest problem that the world’s countries are grappling with is inflation,” Singh said. “In these types of environments, it becomes paramount to become more efficient, make the supply chain more efficient while at the same time relying on those jobs that can be fully outsourced in a very cost-effective way.”

He foresees “a lot of alliances and cooperation” between the two countries amid an uptick in both immigration and investment from India to Australia, with investors eyeing opportunities in finance, education, minerals and healthcare.

More worrying news for remote workers came this week from a ‘Future of Work 2023’ survey of major companies around the world, published by international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. In it, 70% of companies say more work will be done in person over the next two years, 45% of companies say they plan to differentiate pay between remote and in-office workers, and 47% expect working at distance will become a privilege. earned through trust and seniority. Additionally, 71% say employees who work in an office will have more opportunities.

Of course, there are notable exceptions during the return to the office. Nvidia, the AI ​​chip maker that recently joined the trillion-dollar market cap, is sticking to its remote work policy even as it offers employees luxury offices if they choose to use them.

Software maker Atlassian, which makes collaboration tools, is similarly maintaining its “Team Anywhere” policy and has adopted new ways to evaluate the value of its office space.

And Zapier, whose software makes it easier for companies to work across apps in an integrated way, has a $5 billion valuation despite having no office and being completely remote. It brings employees together at off-site events, which cost much less than office space.

To be fair, outsourcing jobs to India or another country is not an easy task. Like the Wall Street Journal As reported in 2007, well before the turbocharged remote work pandemic, few companies are having much success with their first attempts at this. Challenges including miscommunication and time zone differences also abound later, and horror stories in India include fraud, data breaches and intellectual property theft.

Still, working remotely at many companies today can be dangerous — as some warnings suggested even during the pandemic. “If you can do your job from home, be afraid. Be very afraid,” said Richard Baldwin, who teaches economics at the Geneva Graduate Institute in Switzerland, in late 2021. “Because someone in India or wherever is willing to do it for a lot less.”

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