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Outsourcing to India and China is getting more expensive.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on October 21, 2005

Latest reports from India show a labor shortage. Can you imagine that? Yes, a labor shortage is growing among both white collar and even blue collar workers. Amazing what growth can do. The same thing is happening in China. What does this mean? Wages are rising for Indian software writers, engineers, etc., narrowing the gap between American/European and Indian knowledge workers.

For companies involved in outsourcing, the rise of Indian and Chinese knowledge worker salaries is both bad and good news. Of course, it makes outsourcing more expensive. That’s the bad news. But rising white collar wages abroad ( I bet they are rising in Eastern Europe as well) also means that teams working globally on projects will not be as divided as they have in the past. Indian and Chinese and Hungarian software writers and engineers are no fools. They know the going rate for Western knowledge workers. While they may be thankful for the work and the salary, they can’t be too happy working for a fraction of the compensation of their other team members. Closing the wage gap worldwide, I would guess, makes for happier team members.

Remember, we are entering the post-global economy, where geography doesn’t matter. Only the project, the team and time. And if geography doesn’t matter, why should wages be differentiated on the basis of geography for the same work? Hmm…. That’s a big thought.

Reader Comments


October 22, 2005 1:48 AM

You are right that only the project, the team and time matters. But I don't agree with you that there should be same wages everywhere. The fact is wages differentiate on the basis of cost of living and purchasing power in their respective currency.


October 22, 2005 7:52 AM

This article on outsourcing does have a link to your own article down below with headline: "With India and China, can we manage innovation in a post-geographic way?"

Product development, especially in technology, is so expensive that it still makes sense to spread the risk & cost across geographies. It is a given that wage cost parity will be an issue but that doesn't mean there will be no wage
differentiation. It is this, however little it is, that is going to make the difference. I see 3-7 levels salary differentials across the globe that will ultimately prevail. That is the essence of knowledge mining! I guess companies will have to become extremely adept in choosing the best and the most cost effective knowledge mine for a given task. Technology has made this wonderful thing possible. It will ultimately benefit customers and companies bottomlines. Welcome to KNOWLEDGE MINING. The new question to technology companies: How many Knowledge Mines do you own or have?

David Hoard

October 22, 2005 7:52 PM

Great to see you have a blog! You have a unique and valuable perspective on design and business.

Dave --
User Experience Designer / California

Robert Cavalier

October 29, 2005 7:32 PM

The news about rising costs of labor in China & India should come as no surprise to us Americans. Our neighbors overseas are simply evolving into the American capitalistic system. This trend should thus warn those floating ventures in foreign lands to moderate their activities. Ringo sang it best : "We all live in a yellow submarine"!

Dan Harris

January 21, 2006 3:39 PM

As costs rise in places like Shanghai and Beijing, savvy outsourcers just increase their activities in places like Qingdao and Dalian. There are still plenty of inexpensive places to go in China for outsourcing.

Order taking

October 16, 2006 7:40 AM

Costs for outsourcing to India and China are getting pricy, but then its still far lesser than what companies would need to pay in the US itself. Also to get the right kind of employees and to achieve their targets these markets are most promising. So a lot of advantage bundled with costs. For outsourcing voice, chat, email or back-office support, visit the website

Call Centers India

August 13, 2007 1:41 PM

I don't think this is the scenario right now there is still a big margin for companies resides in US and other Western countries and they still looking and giving priority to outsourcing and giving priority to Asian countries and specially to INDIA.
Looking for best quote for outsourcing services please visit

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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