June 27, 2023 • Articles • Finding Your Path • Working in the Trades
What Jobs Can’t Be Outsourced? The Trades, Of Course!
In today’s globalized world, the question “What types of jobs can’t be outsourced?” has taken on a heightened level of significance. Rapid advancements in technology and economic volatility have added weight to the issue, making it a key subject in conversations around career choices and economic stability.
While we often associate outsourcing with white-collar jobs being shifted overseas, there’s an entire sector of the job market that remains resilient to this trend: trade jobs. Unlike their white-collar counterparts, trade jobs carry intrinsic attributes that make them distinctly resistant to outsourcing.
Trade jobs are typically defined by their focus on skilled, hands-on labor. These roles require workers to master specific skills, usually learned through vocational training or apprenticeships, contrasting with the college or university education traditionally linked to white-collar occupations.
What does that mean for you? It means when you’re attempting to plan your path in life… do you want to choose a career where you’re always valued for what you provide directly, or one where your value is compared to workers across the world regardless of economic disparity such as cost of living.
Why Trade Jobs Can’t Be Outsourced
Trade jobs, by their very nature, are centered on skilled, physical work. These jobs often involve the creation, maintenance, or repair of products or structures. This includes a vast array of professions, from electricians who ensure our homes are safely wired, to plumbers who maintain our water systems, and HVAC technicians who make our living spaces comfortable.
What makes these jobs impervious to outsourcing is their location-dependency. Since trade jobs require hands-on work at a specific site, they necessitate the physical presence of the worker. An electrician from another country obviously can’t address your electrical issues remotely. These jobs are firmly anchored in the locality where the service is required, fostering a resilient local job market largely unaffected by outsourcing.
That single fact eliminates one of the biggest threats to the average worker today. The ease of being replaced dramatically affects your job prospects, so a pool of candidates the whole world wide can be a nightmare when it comes to finding a place to work and earn a living.
Combine this with the fact that trade jobs are already in desperate need essentially everywhere, it creates a high demand for you that will benefit you for your entire career!
A Comparative Look at White-Collar Jobs
In stark contrast, many white-collar jobs are vulnerable to the dynamics of outsourcing. The advent of digital technology has facilitated the remote execution of various tasks. For example, customer service can be effectively managed from any location with a reliable internet connection. When’s the last time you had to call a major business, like Amazon, for customer support? Chances are, for most major businesses, you spoke to a representative from outside the country where you’re using the service!
Similarly, the realm of software development frequently sees projects being outsourced to countries where labor costs are significantly lower.
Outsourcing does come with its share of advantages, such as cost reduction and access to a wider talent pool. Nonetheless, it also has its downsides, including potential job losses in the home country, which can have a destabilizing effect on local economies and create unemployment.
Not to mention that many jobs which are outsourced are ones which require going to college in the first place. Imagine working through a 4-year degree and losing out on entry level positions because they’re being offered to candidates who you can’t compete with economically. This is especially challenging for those who look towards careers in IT or other computer-focused jobs!
Unpacking the Benefits of Trade Jobs That Can’t Be Outsourced
The fact that trade jobs are immune to outsourcing yields several benefits for workers in these professions. One of the most significant is job security. Given that these roles can’t be outsourced, they offer a buffer against economic instability and fluctuations in the global job market. Anyone who has paid attention over the last few decades knows that the economy can be a rollercoaster. At its peak, it can be great for everyone – but when it quickly comes rolling downhill, it’s important to know your job is as safe as it can be.
Speaking of security, many trade roles also offer substantial benefits and pension plans, making them a viable and attractive option for a secure and stable livelihood.
The things you’ll do as a tradesperson are almost always in demand. Regardless of the specific vocation you choose the sheer volume of repair, maintenance, new construction, and other jobs available in any location mean a consistent local demand for skilled labor. That benefits your security but also often results in higher wages when you’re good at what you do!
The Challenges and Opportunities in Trade Jobs
Like any profession, trade jobs come with their unique set of challenges. The physical demands associated with them can be substantial, and depending on the role, there may be inherent safety risks. However, with adequate training and adherence to safety regulations, these challenges can be effectively mitigated.
Despite these challenges, trade jobs offer vast opportunities for personal growth and professional advancement. There’s plenty of room for progression within these careers, and for those with an entrepreneurial inclination, starting a business within the trades can be incredibly rewarding.
The consistent demand for skilled labor in local markets also provides a fertile ground for entrepreneurship. As your experience grows, whether you’re in blue-collar or white-collar work, your ability to direct yourself also grows. Ultimately, this leads to a strong desire to be your own boss. In the blue-collar world, this is a common path towards independence, whereas it’s simply not as common in the white-collar world.
Finding the Best Options to Avoid Being Outsourced
In the modern job market, being outsourced isn’t something that can be ignored. It happens, and with the advent of AI technology, the opportunity for being replaced has grown even more for several major industries.
When you ask “What types of jobs can’t be outsourced?” it becomes clear that trade jobs stand out as a solid answer. Being location-dependent shields these jobs from the uncertainties of outsourcing, providing a degree of security that is increasingly hard to come by. While they may have unique challenges, the opportunities they present are noteworthy and worth considering.
As you consider your career trajectory, don’t overlook the resilience of trade jobs. Offering a sense of stability and job security, these roles remain a rewarding and viable career path in a world increasingly shaped by the forces of globalization and technological advancement.
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Ken Rusk is a blue-collar entrepreneur who has started several successful endeavors and mentored hundreds of young people in their pursuit of a satisfying career and fulfilling life. Discover how Ken’s approach to life and work can help you set and achieve your goals – all while avoiding the nearly inescapable trap of college debt. Get a copy the Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Blue Collar Cash today!