Global development teams have increased in popularity and the concept has gained visibility over the past 18 months, due in no small part to the coronavirus pandemic. Fuelled by a quest for improved competitiveness, businesses have realized that software-centric offerings and internal processes can be a recipe for resilience in troubled times – helping to fight off disrupters and nimble new entrants. To obtain the elite software development talent needed to make it a reality, businesses have started to dip their nets into global talent pools in places like the Ukraine and India, where they get favorable costs of both salary and premises prices. However, there are some concerns about the ethics of offshoring coming from certain quarters, so let’s go right ahead and dispel them.
Some businesses in North America, Europe, and elsewhere are skeptical about the quality of the software, which is because it often gets confused with outsourcing – an entirely different proposition. In that setup, developers are project-based hired hands, in offshoring, they’re full-time colleagues working only for your business. However, of larger concern to many when we look at the ethics of offshoring is the conditions the developers are working in.
There seems to be an image of developers working in cramped, unpleasant conditions without breaks and with unrealistic deadlines. Perhaps once upon a time, it was like this, but fortunately not in the 21st century. These days, they operate in an ergonomic, fun workspace specifically designed to bolster morale and increase employee retention.
Money must be funny, in a rich man’s world – or so they say. What it actually is, is a point of concern around the ethics of offshoring. Because you can hire engineers at a significantly lower cost in comparison to somewhere like London, for example. those companies worry that perhaps the salaries are low because of substandard ability or output.
In fact, the reason for the lower cost is simple. Cost of living. Let’s take India for example, the cost of living is 219% lower than in the UK. Therefore, if an offshore partner in Bangalore hires your developers for anywhere between €25-40/hour, their disposable income is relatively high.
‘Am I depriving local people of jobs?’
Not really. When we talk about the ethics of offshoring, the focus is often on the people in the offshoring destination, but sometimes it’s about the country of the business. Your ‘home’ employees may wonder if an offshore team you’re building will eventually replace them, but communication is key: in the vast majority of cases this doesn’t happen. Instead, they work collaboratively. The truth is, there aren’t enough talented, highly skilled engineers to go round in places like the UK, the US, and Australia – and the battle for the cream of the crop is fierce. Offshoring is a solution to solve a problem, not a replacement model for hiring locally.