In the past, developing countries that were looking to expand their economies through business process outsourcing would have to build large facilities and bring in workers from surrounding areas. However, the advent of online work has made this expensive model outdated.
Now, through internet technology, work can be brought to workers instead of vice versa. The ability of teams in different geographic locations to work online together certainly makes for a more scalable model because anyone with access to the internet would be able to benefit from job opportunities.
Of course, this approach is not universally applicable. In order for online work and job creation in the developing world to be properly aligned, several elements must be in place. Countries looking to take advantage of these types of opportunities should invest in the following factors.
First, there must be widespread broadband access. This means that both urban and rural areas need to have fast and reliable connections that can support video chat, a key requirement of working online.
It is also extremely important for a reliable financial system to be in place. Western standards of safety and trust must be in place in order to safeguard against financial crimes and facilitate the transfer of funds across national borders.
Workers must also be sufficiently skilled to handle the demands of the work they are given. This means that educational systems need to encourage computer literacy and ensure that graduates have relevant skills for the global market.
Finally, regulatory frameworks must catch up to technology to help facilitate online work. No country has implemented the relevant systems yet; governments that wish to benefit from online work opportunities should make this type of regulation a priority. For example, Bangladesh has made all income earned from online work tax-free.
Online work represents a tremendous opportunity for workers in developing countries. There is still much work to be done in terms of establishing the necessary groundwork and infrastructure, but it is very likely that this system will change approaches to business process outsourcing and economic development initiatives all over the world.
– Caroline Poterio Martinez
Photo: Neuro Capability