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Ultimate outsourcing statistics and reports in 2021

Outsourcing statistics

Owners turn to business process outsourcing as a viable option instead of hiring in-house employees. The transition to the new normal even triggered the rapid change into remote work, which won’t always be viable with in-house workers alone.

With this, different institutions rank and name the top and emerging countries for outsourcing as a guide for businesses.

Despite the projection on the rise of disruptive outsourcing, companies are still more optimistic about the power of delegating tasks to the human workforce than their AI counterparts. Even BPOs leverage automation in making their workload more efficient.

Nevertheless, the next few years will be a more interesting time for a globalized economy. Check out some of the useful outsourcing statistics and reports that project the future of the industry in this comprehensive guide.

Global outsourcing statistics 

On the verge of disruptive outsourcing and robotic process automation (RPA), companies still turn to the outsourcing and shared services (OSS) industry, with another emerging country to consider.

As reported by Deloitte and a news article in the Arabian Gazette, it gained popularity in the Middle East, particularly Dubai, and is projected to increase to $6.8 billion by 2023.

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The 2019 Kearney report highlighted the importance of automation and cybersecurity as some of the factors the countries consider in choosing a BPO company, aside from its location. 

This shift affected more repetitive jobs in low-cost countries, replacing these with highly-skilled ones to attend to the increasing demand for automation.

Outsourcing report

As per Gartner, more than 80% of logistics leaders planned to increase their outsourcing budget by more than 5% by 2020. One of the reasons for this is that outsourcing their logistics helped them a lot by meeting or exceeding the end-to-end (E2E) supply chain and overall business objectives.

The Everest Group, meanwhile, saw a 9-11% growth in the life and pension insurance BPO industry since end-to-end third-party administration grows. The industry has already seen a consistent yearly growth of 9-10% since 2014.

Outsourcing statistics in the past 18 months

The new normal made companies understand the need to outsource services more. Below are some of the updated offshore outsourcing statistics and reports to date.

As the pandemic accelerated global businesses, companies have increased their competition into transferring to digitalized operations. 

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The US has the most percentage of outsourced services in the world, with almost 68% of companies delegating their services. The UK, meanwhile, has around 48% of companies outsourcing offshore with talent shortage as the main factor.

The Healthcare industry is one of the most outsourced industries to date, with the increased need for remote and telehealth services. 

Deloitte projects that the worldwide market will reach $10 trillion by 2022. With this, offshore and remote services are projected to reach $19.5 billion by 2025.

In terms of IT services, companies will continue to utilize cloud computing which is expected to reach “a monumental $760 billion” by 2027. 

Meanwhile, cybersecurity remains to be one of the leading concerns of companies, especially when remote working. A reported rise in cybersecurity threats and data breaches has been reported in 2020 alone, making companies more worried about their data privacy and security.

With this, BPOs continue to work on strengthening their data security as BPOs and their clients alike make their long-term remote work strategy.

 

Top countries for outsourcing services

Top countries for outsourcingMost outsourced services
IndiaIT and software development
PhilippinesCustomer service, back office
United StatesTech support, IT-related services
UkraineIT outsourcing
PolandIT and software development
BrazilIT outsourcing
South AfricaContact center, IT outsourcing
MalaysiaIT and software development

Yearly, different research institutions list the top countries for outsourcing services. They usually base this on aspects such as workforce population, literacy rate, and access to the latest technology.

The following is an in-depth view of the top countries for outsourcing, the reason companies choose to outsource to them, and their specializations.

Indian offshore outsourcing statistics

India remains the leading country for offshoring services. 

Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, the country still managed to place second in the Tholons Top 50 Digital Nations and 17th in the Kearney Global Services Location Index this year. The country also has 14 super cities listed in the Tholons report. 

Aside from the 24/7 service and the latest technology, it prides its top talents mostly specialized in IT and software development.

Highlights 

Fast facts

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “India is the 3rd largest economy in the world after the US and China in terms of purchasing power party (PPP) and 10th in terms of nominal GDP.” – Deloitte India
  • Doing Business. India has moved 14 places to 63rd among 190 nations in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking on the back of multiple economic reforms by the Narendra Modi government.” – India Times
  • Indian Railways. “Indian Railways is one of the largest employers in the world with over 1.4 million employees.” – MSN Money
  • Labour force. “Slightly less than half of the workforce is in agriculture, but services are the major source of economic growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of India’s output but employing less than one-third of its labor force.” – Forbes
  • Action to climate change. “The country is paying its states about $125 per hectare of forest per year as a way to give afforestation a boost, one of their ways to tackle climate change.” – World Economic Forum

The Philippines offshore outsourcing statistics

Next to India, the Philippines is one of the most popular outsourcing destinations. The country, though considered a late bloomer, holds the title ‘The BPO Capital of the World’ since 2010. 

Being a former colony of Spain and the US gained them the advantage of cultural compatibility with more developed countries. 

The country specializes in outsourcing customer service roles (voice and non-voice-related) and back-office services.

Highlights 

Fast facts

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Philippine Gross Domestic Product recorded a growth of 11.8% on the second quarter of 2021, the highest since its 12% recorded growth in 1988.” – Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
  • “In 2015, the BPO sector generated over $22 billion in revenue, accounting for 7.3% of the Philippine economy.” – World Trade Organization 
  • “The income in the BPO industry was seen to ‘fill up remittance dip’ amid the onset of the pandemic in 2020.” – BusinessMirror
  • Contribution of BPO to employment. “In the same year, the industry generated 1.2 million full-time employees.” – World Trade Organization
  • Government support. As an encouragement to develop the IT industry in the Philippines, PEZA supports foreign investors to set up BPO companies in the country by giving them incentives such as tax holidays, tax-free importation of equipment, and visa assistance.

The United States  outsourcing statistics

It is almost just recently when the outsourcing industry in the US started to get popular. Since 2017, domestic or onshore outsourcing has become popular due to the massive pullout of companies. 

This year, the USA managed to rank first out of 50 countries in Tholons Digital Nations, followed by India. The country is popular in tech support and IT-related services.

Highlights 

  • 2021 population: 333.4 million
  • Literacy rate: 99
  • Employment rate (2021): 58.5
  • Real GDP (in USD): 20.94 trillion
  • Government support in outsourcing: slowly taking back jobs to the US to increase employment

Fast facts

  • Online work. “The US is the 3rd largest supplier of freelancers and online workers, next to India and Bangladesh.” – iLabour, Oxford Internet Institute
  • Doing business. “In 2017, President Donald J. Trump Executive Order 13771, also known as the “one-in two-out” policy. It aims to make it less costly to do business in the United States.” – US Environmental Protection Agency 
  • Fortune 500. “In total, Fortune 500 companies represent two-thirds of the U.S. GDP with $13.7 trillion in revenues, $1.1 trillion in profits, $22.6 trillion in market value, and employ 28.7 million people worldwide.” – Fortune.com
  • Paris Agreement. Months after being officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, the US rejoined the agreement on February 19, 2021, under the Biden administration.”  – BBC

Ukraine offshore outsourcing statistics

One of the countries gaining outsourcing popularity in Eastern Europe is Ukraine. The country continuously receives recognition from different institutions such as the Global Sourcing Association (GSA) in the UK, IAOP, and A. T. Kearney.

IT outsourcing in the country is expected to increase in the following years along with the increase in labor.

Highlights 

Fast facts

  • Agriculture. “Dubbed as the ‘breadbasket of Europe,’ Ukraine is first known for agricultural products such as sunflower and wheat.” – Ukraine Canadian Research and Documentation Centre
  • European Union. In 2017, Ukraine signed an agreement with the EU, Euratom, and the union’s 28 member states. This recognizes the country as a priority partner of the union. So far, Ukraine is not yet a part of the EU. – European Union External Action
  • IT outsourcing. “Developers in Ukraine are currently around 165,000 and are expected to increase up to 125% by 2025.” – Entrepreneur.com

Poland offshore outsourcing statistics

Another Eastern European country that gains popularity in outsourcing is Poland. It is one of the biggest players in IT in Eastern Europe, though it also specializes in finance and accounting

Aside from its multilingualism and affordable costs, BPO companies in the country have secured regulatory compliances from different institutions to ensure providing top data security for their clients.

Highlights 

Fast facts

  • Economy. “Poland is now among the fastest-growing economies in the European Union (EU), recording a GDP growth of 5.1% in 2018.” – World Bank
  • Demographic outlook. “…The 15-to-59 age segment is expected to decline by 2.7 million by 2025. This trend can, however, be stopped or even reversed, with targeted policy measures.” – McKinsey 
  • Ease of doing business. “Poland ranks 40th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking and has the lowest corruption score in Eastern Europe.” – Statista
  • Cybersecurity. “The Polish National Cyber Security Strategy aims to enhance capacity to counteract cybercrime, including cyber espionage and incidents of a terrorist nature, occurring in cyberspace.” – EU

Brazilian offshore outsourcing statistics

Outsourcing in Brazil has been made unrestricted thanks to the Outsourcing law which was signed last 2017 and the Supreme Court decision the following year. 

This has allowed companies to outsource core duties in the country aside from secondary services such as janitorial roles. 

Ranked 4th by Tholons, the country is emerging in IT outsourcing and is dubbed an alternative to India since 2010.

Highlights 

Fast facts

  • Overview. Brazil is South America’s most influential country, a rising economic power and one of the world’s biggest democracies.” – BBC
  • GDP savings action plan. A comprehensive social security reform was sent to the Congress in February and has been approved by the lower house in August. The reform is expected to generate accumulated savings of 9 percent of GDP until 2030 and, combined with the spending rule, it would stabilize the general government gross debt at around 81.7 percent of GDP by 2023.” – World Bank
  • Economic reform policies. Some progress has been made in reducing trade barriers, by limiting local content requirements in the oil and gas sector…” – OECD

 

South African offshore outsourcing statistics

Ranked 12th in Tholons Digital Nations, South Africa is now the third-largest emerging BPO geography, competing with India and the Philippines. The BPO industry in the country is also credited for its contribution to economic and social growth, with the help of impact sourcing. 

South Africa specializes in contact center and IT outsourcing, with most of its clients in banking and finance, telecommunications, and the healthcare industry.

Highlights 

Fast facts

  • Economy. “South Africa has one of the continent’s biggest and most developed economies.” – BBC
  • The country ranks second-largest economy, next to Nigeria. – IMF
  • Production. South Africa is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of gold, platinum, and other natural resources.” – Economic Freedom Index
  • Innovation. “South Africa leads the regional ranking of 2019 Global Innovation Index, making it the most innovative country in Africa.” – WIPO

 

Malaysian offshore outsourcing statistics

Last but not least, Malaysia is a rising country for outsourcing. It placed third in the A. T. Kearney rankings this year. The country has been gaining popularity in IT and IT-related services. 

However, it needs to keep up with its neighboring countries when it comes to infrastructure and English proficiency.

Highlights 

Fast facts

  • Economy. Malaysia is one of the most open economies in the world, with a trade to GDP ratio averaging over 130 percent since 2010.” – World Bank
  • Monarchical ruling. Since Malaysia’s independence in 1957, the sultans who are the hereditary monarchs in nine of the country’s 13 states have selected one of themselves to serve a five-year term as king.” – CNN
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). 98.5% of business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs. In 2017, they contributed to 37.1% of the country’s GDP. – Department of Statistics Malaysia
  • Censorship. Malaysia has some of the toughest censorship laws in the world. The authorities exert substantial media controls and can impose restrictions in the name of national security.” – BBC

Outsourcing statistics FAQ

What percentage of US companies outsource?

68% of companies in the US outsource their services to low-cost countries including small businesses. They see the industry as a way to cut costs, improve their services, and flexibly expand their business. Large companies, especially in the telecom industry, started this trend through delegating their customer service to call centers in the Philippines and India.

Contrary to the belief, outsourcing is still here to stay. According to Clutch, more than one-third (37%) of SMEs outsource and more than half (52%) plan to outsource in 2019. With this, outsourcing sees a new wave coming with the emergence of SMEs and startups who are gaining interest in the industry.

How big is the outsourcing industry?

The outsourcing industry is one of the largest contributors to the global economy, aside from oil and gas. In 2019, the global outsourcing industry amounted to US$92.5 billion, according to Statista. In recent studies, experts see the industry grow by up to US$114 billion by 2025, with Human Resources being one of the lead contributors to this growth. 

In the Philippines, outsourcing contributes to the growth and development of the economy. In a latest report, the World Trade Organization states that the BPO industry accounts for 7.3% of the country’s GDP growth, giving millions of jobs to Filipinos. In 2015, the industry employed 1.2 million workers in its wing.

Which countries outsource the most?

The United States remains as the leading outsourcing market. In a 2017 report by KPMG, 84.2% of outsourcing deals originated from the country. This is followed by the United Kingdom and Europe. Currently, the US, UK, and Australia are some of the leading outsourcing markets contracting to companies in the Philippines and India.

Some developed countries in Asia have also started outsourcing their services, such as Singapore and Japan.

Why is outsourcing popular now?

Outsourcing has since been popular as a way of having a distributed workforce and undergoing market expansion. For instance, a growing number of small companies hire virtual assistants to manage bookings and schedules in sites such as Airbnb. 

Due to the disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses outsource their services as a way to continue their operations. A report by technology firm NTT stated that out of 1,250 executives worldwide they surveyed, 45% would choose outsourcing in the next 18 months. Businesses in logistics and e-commerce, meanwhile, have their outsourcing companies’ demand balanced out due to the increasing need for e-commerce services due to quarantines.

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.