Weekly Wrap: Jobs That Won’t Get Outsourced, and Rock Hard Abs or Work-Life Balance?

You don’t hear as much about outsourcing these days – and that’s a relief for anyone like me who has had the unmitigated joy of getting routed to a United Airlines call center in India – but yes, it still goes on.

And according to a story in the Arizona Republic, it’s no longer just assembly line or call center workers who are seeing jobs moved overseas. “Now,” the newspaper reports, “highly skilled workers, such as engineers and medical workers, also are losing sleep.”

“In the last two years, 80 percent of the research-and-development jobs were created in Asia,” says Mary Teagarden, a professor of global strategy at Arizona’s Thunderbird School of Global Management.

But, not all jobs are made for outsourcing, she said, and the jobs that are the least vulnerable to getting shipped overseas are jobs that require face-to-face interaction or that rely on “craft” – the special talent, expertise or creativity of a particular person.

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The newspaper listed the Top 10 jobs that are less likely to be outsourced, according Raoul Encinas, a board member for Southwest Job Network, a Phoenix-area non-profit that helps job seekers. Do you see any pattern here?

  • Law-enforcement officer. Pay: Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had median annual wages of $51,410 in May 2008
  • Retail-sales representative. Pay: Including commissions, $9.86 per hour in May 2008.
  • Physical therapy. You need to graduate from a physical-therapist educational program with a master’s or doctoral degree, and then pass a licensing exam. Pay: Median annual wages of physical therapists were $72,790 in May 2008.
  • Primary-care physician. Lots of education before you can get hired, including four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school and three to eight years of internship and residency. Pay: Varies depending on specialty. In 2008, physicians practicing primary care had total median annual compensation of $186,044.
  • Nurse. In most cases, you need a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN) or an associate degree in nursing. (ADN), and you must pass a licensing exam. Pay: Median annual wages of registered nurses were $62,450 in May 2008.
  • Attorney. Lots of education required here, too — four years of undergraduate study, followed by three years of law school, plus licensing exams. Pay: Salaries of experienced attorneys vary widely. The median annual wages of all wage-and-salaried lawyers were $110,590 in May 2008.
  • Mining. Pay ranged from $14.72 per hour for low-level oilfield workers to $42.02 per hour for mining-operations managers in May 2008.
  • Interior decorator. Median annual wages for interior designers were $44,950 in May 2008.
  • Heating/air-conditioning technician. Median hourly wages of heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers were $19.08 per hour in May 2008.
  • Firefighter. Median annual wages of firefighters were $44,260 in May 2008.

There’s more than jobs that are hard to outsource in the news this week, and here are some other workplace and HR-related items you may have missed while getting back to work in the New Year. Yes, this is a weekly round up of news, trends, and all sorts of information from the world of HR and talent management. I do it so you don’t have to.

  • Trading rock-hard abs for work-like balance. Cindy Krischer Goodman of The Miami Herald is one of the best reporters on workplace issues in the country. That’s why I perked up when I saw her blog post this week, “Maybe this is the year all of us make realistic resolutions…This is the year we succeed at our goals and move toward the mental and physical balance we crave. Are you with me on this?” She has great insight about the ongoing struggles of balancing work, family, and life, including why long work hours are NOT a status symbol.
  • Tales of companies hiring again. There has been lots written about how companies aren’t really hiring and are sitting on all their cash, so that’s why it is refreshing to read this NPR story about a small family-run manufacturing business north of Boston that IS adding people to its payroll. As one of the owners says, “As soon as we get a little more of a comfort zone with our customers on their commitment — on what they will be projecting and what they will be needing from us — it will allow us to hire a bunch more people,” he says. “We are waiting to be able to hire more people. We just can’t have it that we have excess capacity.”
  • Britain abolishes forced retirement. Lots of people are having to work past age 65 these days, and now in Great Britain they can do that as well, if they so choose. “British employers will no longer be allowed to force people to retire at 65 years old,” according to an Associated Press story in the Chicago Tribune, “unless they can justify the dismissal, the government said Thursday in a bid to lessen pension payouts as Britons live for longer. The move was welcomed by nonprofit organizations campaigning against age discrimination. Others, however, complained that the move will make it expensive for employers to continue to provide benefits such as health or life insurance to employees older than 65.”
  • The joy of product placement. This is off topic, I know, but don’t you get tired sometimes of so much product placement in movies and television? If so, you’ll enjoy this brief history of product placement. It’s a brief, but insightful, history of how we got to where we are today. One tip for those who hate the practice – stay away from movies, like “Transformers,” made by Michael Bay.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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