Outsourcing has become an infamous buzzword that businesses do but don’t talk about. It’s a sensitive topic that elicits knee jerk reactions (Asians are taking over American jobs!). But offshore outsourcing is more than just call centres.

1. Offshore outsourcing is cheap labour.
The cost of living determines how well an offshore worker is paid, not the wage itself. The minimum wage of an entry level Filipino offshore worker ranges from $272 to $340 a month, which is less than a hundred bucks per week. At a glance, that’s chump change for a foreigner, but well above the rate in the local job market. And no, they’re not out to steal jobs, just to make a living like everybody else.

2. Offshore outsourcing firms have poor working conditions.
Not all business process outsourcing (BPO) firms are glorified factory plants that treat their workers as robots. Competition and technology are pushing outsourcing service providers to evolve. Those who are smart enough know that they need good infrastructure, up-to-date capabilities, and quality talent to stay globally competitive.

3. Offshore outsourcing is shipping jobs overseas.
Outsourcing isn’t just about corporate X axing jobs to send to offshore company Y. Internal staff doesn’t always have to tossed overboard. A strategic offshore partner can help the domestic business to grow, tap an emerging market, fill knowledge gaps, and support internal efforts. There are a variety of service delivery models such as managed operations and captive centres.

4. Offshore outsourcing doesn’t work or deliver substandard work.
Technically, outsourcing is a managed service, which is similar to dealing with any other supplier or vendor. You’ll need trust, due diligence, governance, and transparency to mitigate risks and make it work.

5. Offshore outsourcing is not ethical.
As the old adage goes, “don’t blame the tool, blame the carpenter”. The reality of running a business is delivering high quality services without overpricing customers and still earning a profit at the end of the day. Responsible and well equipped offshore firms enable businesses to achieve this and avoid Myth #1 and #2.

Outsourcing, managed service, or whatever it will be called as the industry re-brands itself, is a strategy that can help small businesses level the playing field. It doesn’t need to be Us vs. Them. It can be a win-win relationship through collaboration.