What jobs are not outsourceable in the US will be a question on top of mind as the Presidential election campaigns gather steam.This as globalization and technology moves forward at an ever faster pace. A useful way to think about the challenge for young and mid-career Americans is as follows:
- Agriculture: Only a tiny 0.7% are involved directly in Agriculture (CIA Factbook) and there is a larger percentage of folks involved in different managerial,research and other activities, for whom there is the great opportunity of Africa and Latin America. Agriculture related activities in Africa are underdeveloped and the increasing world population needs to be fed and it is a good time for folks in Agriculture and allied professions (say you sell seeds,fertilizer) to look at overseas opportunities. Also great opportunity exists in Latin America.
- Manufacturing : Manufacturing seems to be at the center of the current outsourcing debate and angst as it fuelled the American middle class in post World War-II USA.There is no way that American manufacturing of mid skill items like a plastic torch will compete globally. Two examples come to mind both from the Eastern USA. A factory owner mentioned that the only plastic product made in their industrial park are garbage cans because they are expensive to transport from China. Similarly, a detergent manufacturing manager said that detergents, particularly concentrated ones are viably manufactured in the USA. Thus you have the iPhone made in China along with solar panels. Thus Americans must develop the skills for inventing the iPhone as explained in the Smiley Curve of Innovation, through an active interest in the science and technology in the classroom and global marketing skills. The latter is really possible because there are always students and immigrants from any country that you are interested in reaching. These folks are always delighted to tell you stuff that even Google does’nt know!
- Services: About 80 % of the population is in service related activities and here only tasks that require personal contact cannot be outsourced. Within services you have a variety of professions that are under seige due to technology. Take healthcare, a nurse’s job cannot be outsourced but a radiologists job can be. More challenging is the outsourcing to technology as has happened for tax preparation and travel agents. Coping with changes requires an active interest in the Internet and all the great opportunities it can offer. No matter what your profession, there is an Internet angle to it that you must understand and develop. You’ll find global opportunities to leverage your skills and and expertise no matter what that Internet angle is.