Offshore Labour: Definition, Benefits and Drawbacks

The term “offshore labour” has gained significant public attention in today’s business landscape. And like most buzzwords, it’s easy to lose track of their meaning. Remote work, virtual staffing, and other terms, for example, have also become commonplace jargon that has similar yet not exactly the same meaning as offshore labour.  

What’s an Offshore Staff?

In its simplest form, offshore staffing is the practice of outsourcing everyday tasks and roles to workers living and working in another country. This can be done for various reasons, but the most common is to save on costs. Offshore staff are typically paid less than their counterparts in developed countries because the cost of living in their respective countries is often much less expensive.  

Offshore staffing is not a new concept; it has been around for a long time. Manufacturing, for example, has been outsourced for decades to countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. And as technology and skills advanced in these less developed countries, so did their ability to handle different types of outsourced work.  

These days offshore labour has spread to various industries, from manufacturing to back-office roles. Even critical tasks such as data analytics, engineering, and entire marketing departments are often outsourced to offshore labour.  

But, will hiring an offshore staff be good for your business? Let’s look at some key benefits and drawbacks to help you decide.  

Benefits of Hiring Offshore Labour  

Cost savings: One of the main reasons businesses choose to use offshore staff is cost savings. By hiring workers in a lower-cost location, companies can significantly reduce their overall labour costs.  

Access to skilled workers: In some cases, finding the skilled workers you need in your own country can be challenging because of the hard-nosed competition between companies. Offshore staffing provides access to a larger pool of talent. It allows you to hire the best workers for the job, regardless of location.  

Increased efficiency: Offshore staff can often work more efficiently as the teams are highly specialised and focused on a single task. In some cases, labour laws in their country may also allow them to work longer hours without much additional cost to the company. 

Drawbacks of Hiring Offshore Labour  

Language barriers: One of the challenges of offshore staffing is communication. A language barrier between you and your offshore staff can make it difficult to give clear instructions and get the results you need.  

Time differences: Another challenge of offshore staffing is time differences. If your offshore staff are in a different time zone, coordinating work hours and communicating in real-time can be difficult.   

Related article: Outsourcing To The Philippines: Managing The Timezone Differences

Cultural differences: Offshore staff may have different values and cultural norms than your own employees. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflict within your team.   

Final Thoughts: Is Offshore Labour for Your Business?  

The growth of the offshore outsourcing industry across the globe proves that it’s a sustainable way to scale businesses in developed countries. With an offshore staff, allocating resources to your most talented employees can be easier as more straightforward tasks can be outsourced to offshore labour. However, it’s essential to be wary of the cons, such as language and cultural barriers, as these can also lead to costly work disruptions.  

To be sure, before hiring an offshore team, try to get to know them first. A great way to do this is by conducting a video interview. This will give you a good sense of their language skills and whether or not they are a cultural fit for your company.   

Hopefully, we were able to help you in the decision-making process just by looking at the pros and cons we’ve laid out for you here. So, if you’re ready, then go ahead and give offshore staffing a try for your business. It may just be the boost you need to build momentum for your business this year!