oConomy
April 14, 2009 by James Waters

When Americans think of outsourcing, they typically think of U.S. work going overseas to lower-cost countries like India and Russia.  However, we’re seeing an interesting trend in small and medium sized businesses around the world increasingly turning to U.S.-based talent.  The last time we reported on this, we focused on homeshoring, or U.S.-based companies hiring U.S.-based freelancers.  Today we're going to look at the growth in overseas companies doing the same.

Last year, we saw over 300% growth in the number of assignments overseas companies outsourced to United States professionals on oDesk.

Assignments outsourced to US

Overseas companies have employed more than 700 U.S. workers since January 2008.  These jobs are coming from places as diverse as Jamaica, Egypt, Norway, and Singapore.  However, the top countries outsourcing jobs to U.S. workers were:

Rank Country Rank Country
1 United Kingdom 6 Sweden
2 Canada 7 United Arab Emirates
3 Australia 8 Saudi Arabia
4 Netherlands 9 Israel
5 Spain 10 Germany

Top 10 countries outsourcing work to the U.S. on oDesk

The top categories of U.S. professionals being hired on oDesk are freelance web developers, virtual assistants, and freelance writers.

Why are businesses choosing to outsource their jobs to U.S.-based professionals, who are more expensive than their international counterparts?  One possible explanation is that there are more U.S. providers on oDesk today, providing buyers a wider variety of U.S.-based skills and experience, than ever before. In December alone, over 20,000 new U.S. providers signed up on oDesk, the largest monthly percentage increase (over 40%) that we have seen since 2005.  Another possible reason is that U.S. providers’ average feedback score is consistently higher than the oDesk average.

This is certainly an interesting trend that we intend to keep tabs on.