Outsourcing Rescues Katrina-Ravaged Businesses and Industries

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In the tragedies of the region’s poor, little attention has been focused on the thousands of displaced white collar, professional and managerial ranks of workers. This article confronts this dilemna of helping the middle and executive classes in the midst of high poverty and loss, with a controversial solution: OUTSOURCING.

Recruiting white collar employees away from the destroyed business region will increase the demand and need for outsourcing

Hundreds of thousands of people are finding themselves out of work and their livelihoods in limbo following the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.

In the tragedies of the region’s poor, little attention has been focused on the thousands of displaced white collar, professional and managerial ranks of workers.

Experts believe it will take months before people get back to work in hurricane-ravaged areas.

Professional and executive functions are likely to be outsourced sooner-than-later to ensure business continuity, particularly when locals have relocated states away from the storm damage.

Physical damage clean-up, public safety, re-construction, infrastructure, housing and healthcare are the priorities for the foreseeable months. People in careers outside those immediate crucial functions may never return. Neither will their jobs.

Economists predict that the majority of professional level workers will opt to move away and find work elsewhere, either temporarily or permanently.

Many remaining white collar workers will find new jobs, in a strange twist, in the outsourcing industry. Most outsourced functions are not location-dependent and those returning to New Orleans, for example,. can maintain their career paths by joining outsourcing firms.

LOSS OF WHITE COLLAR WORKERS IN THE REGION

Professionals such CPAs, business administrators, licensed healthcare workers, lawyers, IT specialists, financial and management analysts, and are being recruited away from Louisiana and Mississippi for permanent relocation to other southern business markets such as Atlanta, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Orlando and Charlotte.

Recruiters and relocation specialists are busy moving professionals away.

“Recruiting white collar employees away from the destroyed business region will increase the demand and need for outsourcing”, says Tom Donovan, President of the executive search firm, Donovan & Associates.

US OUTSOURCING LEADING RELIEF

Recognized outsourcing business consultants Scott Wilson and Douglas Brown, recent authors of the business bestseller, “The Black Book of Outsourcing: How to Manage the Changes, Challenges and Opportunities,” are charged with the coordinated effort to maximize the positive contributions of outsourcing in the region in collaboration with government and business leaders.

“Small business owners have been especially hard hit by Katrina. Many business owners have lost their employees and customers, in addition to inventory and facilities. Rebuilding involves outsourcing,” states Wilson.

Brown and Wilson, who have committed to provide government consulting have dedicated several months of high level consulting, assisting business owners, economic development bureaucrats, and local corporations to develop and implement plans to utilize outsourcing effectively as they rebuild.

They are also actively enticing outsourcing supplier companies to the area to stimulate employment for professionals.

“These same outsourcing firms will employ displaced workers and they will also provide business services to local companies who are focusing on rebuilding core functions,” added Brown. “The benefits are tremendous for all.”

LURING THE WHITE COLLAR WORKERS AWAY PERMANENTLY

"Not only do people not have a place to live. They don't have a place to go to work. I think this will be felt long and hard," said Tom Gimbel, chief executive officer of The LaSalle Network, an employment firm. He thought that some employment implications of the storm could be longer lasting as some people and companies might opt to permanently move elsewhere.

Gimbel said that Chicago-area companies that have operations in New Orleans are moving mostly white-collar financial type of jobs temporarily to Chicago. The same goes for Atlanta, Houston and Dallas.

To counteract this event, Brown and Wilson are attracting multi-national outsourcing suppliers to the region. Thy have been instrumental in similar programs of attracting outsourcing businesses to employment-challenged US communities such American Indian reservations, Inner Cities and rural areas.

“We are confident that with the support of global outsourcing firms interested in moving to the area, that outsourcing can also help turn around this ravaged economy for white collar workers and business owners alike,” states Wilson.

"Louisiana and Mississippi are entering the outsourcing marketplace at an interesting time in the evolution process of outsourcing. There's plenty of work which can be located in this region and for many US corporations, and the offshore honeymoon is over for many buyers," he said. "They're looking for a low-cost and high-quality onshore US (outsourcing) option."

Outsourcing jobs being attracted include data entry, call center, help desk and information technology work, accounting, human resources, finance, marketing, sales, development and other business support functions.

“Katrina-affected locals can be trained as a starting point to reclaiming their lives, rebuild small and large businesses, as well as boosting the entire US economy,” added Brown.

Brown and Wilson said they are trying to keep a spirit of altruistic support of the region building. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from “The Black Book of Outsourcing” purchased through Borders, Books-A-Million, and Barnes & Noble bookstores, as well as Amazon.com through December 2005 will be donated to the American Red Cross general relief fund for Hurricane Katrina victims.

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