For companies looking to outsource key functions of their business, a new survey shows that they need to be careful about the way this financial decision is perceived by their marketplace.

One in three Australian companies outsource work functions overseas yet two in three Australians believe that this damages the Australian economy, according to a survey of 2,219 employees by Talent2, the global leader in human resources outsourcing and recruitment.

The quality of work conducted offshore is also questioned with almost half of respondents (44.8 percent) saying it is far inferior to that produced by Australians and a further third undecided.

Outsourcing is a pretty contentious issue and many are concerned that outsourcing drains work away from Australians and lowers the standard, says John Banks of Talent2. Many are clamouring for some kind of regulatory framework that puts strict parameters around what can and cannot be outsourced.

The most common functions outsourced by Australian companies are:

  • IT – 43.8 percent
  • Manufacturing – 37.4 percent
  • Customer service – 28.9 percent
  • Engineering – 19.6 percent.

Respondents to the survey highlighted outsourced customer service as a grave concern with well over half (54.8 percent) stating that they are convinced that their customer details and personal information are much less secure than they would be if handled directly by an Australian company, in Australia.

Additionally, consumers are increasingly interested in the business methods employed by service providers. Of those surveyed 42.8 pecent stated if they knew a company they were thinking of signing up with, for example a mobile phone operator, outsourced its customer service they would choose not to become a customer and opt for a company that functioned purely on Australian soil.

Not all outsourcing goes offshore – a proportion stays here and is generally managed much more effectively than overseas, results in greater efficiency and saves money, says Banks. However, Australia needs a better understanding of the long term outcomes of offshore outsourcing so we can use this to ensure that employments opportunities, quality of service and the Australian economy are properly protected well into the future, says Banks.