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Remote work is a two-edged sword


The New York Post warns:  "Remote work could cost Americans their jobs within decade, experts say".

Remote work may be a blessing for Americans who enjoy not having to commute to the office, but experts are warning that workers should be careful what they wish for because companies could easily hire someone overseas to do the same job for much less money.

High-paid tech workers could find themselves out of a job within a decade if companies continue to outsource those positions overseas, the experts said.

. . .

Companies that employ remote workers could pay lower wages to those who do the same job but from overseas, according to analysts ... “Because somebody in India or wherever is willing to do it for much less.”

There's more at the link.

That's something I've been worried about ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  Anything that can be done for an employer from your home can be done from their home, no matter where it is, by anyone else suitably qualified.  That's already happened in the hi-tech sector to a considerable extent.  In south-east Asia, computer programmers, analysts, engineers and specialists will work for about one-quarter to one-third of the standard US wage - so they're being hired instead of US workers.  Even in the USA itself, many companies have brought in lower-wage staff to replace their more expensive local IT workers.  It's also happening in health care, thanks to the growing local shortage of nurses.

Even support staff such as secretaries, receptionists, etc. can work remotely, provided the telecommunications network and the Internet are available.  If you can order a burger at a fast-food joint using a touch-screen, there's no reason a caller to a company can't navigate his way through today's ubiquitous (and extremely annoying) voice menus to reach a human operator, who can then redirect his call - but the operator might be thousands of miles away.  It no longer matters.

I don't think this will matter much to blue-collar workers, but anyone in a white-collar occupation might be looking at a "Brave New World" of employment that may not be anything like the old one.


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