Offshoring: A Reality Check
By Peronet Despeignes

(FORTUNE Magazine) – In theory, more than one-tenth of the developed world's service jobs could be outsourced to low-wage countries like China and India. But in reality just 1% will be shipped out by 2008, predicts a new McKinsey Global Institute study. That adds up to 4.1 million jobs, which sounds like a lot until one considers that an average of 4.6 million people started a new job every month in the U.S. alone in the 12 months ending March 2005. And, shockingly enough, the size of the available talent pool offshore isn't as large as you might think. It turns out that only a fraction of those dirt-cheap engineers, financiers, accountants, scientists, and other professionals churned out by universities in China, India, and elsewhere can be put to effective use by multinational corporations anytime soon. The big problems include inadequate foreign language proficiency, lack of practical skills, unwillingness to move for a job, and limited or no access to airports and other transportation networks. So relax--for about 30 seconds. Then get back to work. -- Peronet Despeignes

The yuppie gap Of 33 million* university graduates in low-wage countries with up to seven years' work experience, 4.6 million--less than 14%--are ready to work for a multinational. That compares to 15 million** young professionals in higher-wage countries.

Where the engineers are The U.S. still leads the global pack in the number of young engineers who could successfully work at a multinational company--and among low-wage countries China and India face some surprising rivals.

Supply of suitable engineers from various countries, 2003

U.S. - 540,000

China - 160,000

India - 130,000

Germany - 100,000

Philippines - 60,000

Russia - 50,000

Poland - 40,000

Hungary - 15,000

Czech Republic - 10,000

NOTES *Based on a survey of 28 low-wage countries. ** Based on a survey of eight higher-wage countries: U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, Austrailia, Canada, Ireland, and South Korea. Note: Doctors and nurses are not included.