Australian businesses are increasingly looking to offshore outsourcing to achieve cost savings, improve efficiency and gain back time to focus on growing their revenue. Many countries around the world can offer quality outsourced services at a fraction of the local cost. When choosing an offshoring location for your business, consider things like time zone, labour and operational costs, depth of available talent, language and cultural fit.
Let’s take a look at what makes these five countries popular destinations for outsourcing.
Favourable government policies, affordable labour and a solid business infrastructure have made India one of the world’s top outsourcing hubs. With its large population, India has access to one of the biggest talent pools on Earth, meaning a constant supply of well-educated, English speaking staff is available to be recruited quickly.
Indian outsourcing providers have been in the game for decades. Their years of experience providing Australian businesses with outsourced services – including telemarketing, IT services, lead generation and customer support – have resulted in the implementation of excellent systems and processes and allowed them to gain a unique insight into the Australian market. Measurement and monitoring of all activities ensure that rigorous standards are always met.
Having long been exposed to western culture through TV, movies, books and music, Indian teams can comfortably interact with customers and understand their issues and concerns. They are also familiar with cultural references and slang terminology commonly used by Australians. However, their sometimes strong accent can be a challenge for contact centre customers.
The 4.5-hour time difference between Australia and India is convenient for doing business, and the country has generally reliable power and Internet bandwidth. The difference in labour costs, the cost of living and the currency exchange rate makes outsourcing in India very economical for companies.
Labour and occupancy expenses are significantly lower in the Philippines than in Australia, allowing for a drastic reduction in operational costs. There is a rich pool of talent, with more than 41 million highly trained people in the workforce. Filipinos have a culture of customer service excellence and place great importance on understanding and accommodating their customers. The very hierarchical business structure prevalent in Philippines businesses can however mean that staff are reluctant to report issues to management for fear that it will reflect poorly on themselves.
The Philippines has a very ‘westernised’ culture and similar technology to Australia, with its major cities featuring large corporate facilities, modern office spaces, reliable utilities providers and solid telecommunications infrastructure. However, outside of the main centres, the infrastructure is less reliable, and roads and drainage can be impacted by weather events, making travel to work difficult or impossible. With many staff living up to three hours away from their offices, this can have a significant impact on worker availability. The lack of internet stability away from the cities was particularly problematic during COVID-19 when staff were forced to work from home.
Filipinos are proficient in the English language, speaking with a neutral accent that is easy to understand. The time difference is only around two hours, though it takes roughly eight hours to fly to the Philippines from Australia.
Colombia is becoming a popular outsourcing destination for services such as call centres, human resources, finance, accounting and software development. The country has a positive economic outlook, solid infrastructure comprising five submarine cables and a 550GB connection, competitive prices, and is ideally positioned in the middle of five time zones. The city of Medellin has been dubbed the “Silicon Valley of Latin America” and boasts state-of-the-art public transportation systems, modern, inventive buildings, and a thriving tech culture.
While not as fluent in English as some of their international counterparts, Colombians are becoming more proficient in the language as more Americans and Europeans travel to Colombia for leisure and retirement. With a similar time zone, comparable legal structure and business culture, and a significant Spanish-speaking population, the US is one of Colombia’s key markets for offshoring. Countries such as Australia and New Zealand find the time zone better suited for after-hours servicing of customers rather than anything that needs to be completed during local business hours.
Cost efficiencies are luring many Australian small businesses to outsource in South Africa. The Australian dollar is still relatively strong against the ZAR, and labour costs are lower, so offshore operations employing highly skilled workers can be set up for around 45% of what it would cost in Australia. A high level of unemployment means there is a large pool of available talent to choose from. Education standards are high, with more than 2 million South Africans holding a university degree or diploma.
English is a first language for many South Africans, with the accent well understood by Australians. The two countries share a similar working culture, as well as lifestyle and sporting interests. Similar legal and financial frameworks and a range of favourable trade agreements also make it easy to do business in South Africa. Although there is a significant time difference of around nine hours, it is not unfeasible; a business owner in Australia could brief their South African workers in the afternoon and have responses waiting in their inbox first thing in the morning.
Along with contact centre staff, South Africa offers a highly skilled workforce in areas such as health care, legal and financial services.
At around four hours’ flying time from Australia and just two hours ahead of Sydney’s time zone, Fiji is an ideal outsourcing location. English is the official language in Fiji and is used widely in business, government and education. Costs are at least 70% less compared to delivering a contact centre or back office operation in Australia.
As Fiji is a popular holiday destination, there are not only plenty of direct flight options, but the country has a strong familiarity to most Australians, making it a good cultural fit. Australians and Fijians tend to work with a flatter management structure which means that issues can be comfortably raised with management and dealt with quickly and easily. Most Fijians live in close proximity to work, so they are not as vulnerable to infrastructure damage or outages.
Fijians are renowned for their friendliness and excellent customer service skills, thanks to their thriving tourism industry, and are fluent in English with a neutral accent. As Fiji has a state-funded education system, many Fijians have tertiary qualifications, and graduates comprise the majority of workers in the contact centre industry. Fijian workers are loyal, with outsourcing companies reporting low annual attrition rates of 12%, resulting in lower recruitment and training costs compared to other destinations.
Fiji is also one of the few countries in the world that has been able to successfully contain COVID-19.
Are you interested in learning more about offshore outsourcing in Fiji? See how Fiji stacks up against the industry-leading Philippines as an outsourcing destination in our eBook: why Fiji is a better outsourcing destination than the Philippines.