Offshoring and the Global Marketplace
But as Shariff says, "Going offshore is not new in publishing. … And we're not going into companies and saying, 'Eliminate 30 jobs, and we'll take [them] offshore.' Many of these projects are already being outsourced." On the digital side, he adds, these are new projects that need to be created by new resources.
There is also significant concern over some countries' labor practices. "The average Chinese worker in a book-manufacturing facility is making 60 to 75 cents per hour. The work force is from 8 to 80 years old, and they work 12-16 hours per day," says Worzalla's Nason. "Tough to compete with those statistics here in America."
A Closer Look at Overseas Employment
But those who run overseas facilities say the picture is not black and white. "Yes, offshore companies pay low wages compared to U.S. wages. But if you take the wages in the context of the local market, these wages are market or above-market wages. So the employees of these companies are making a good living," says Shariff of his experiences in India.
As for the working conditions, he says, "In our sector (technology/
publishing), the working conditions are good, sometimes even at par with developed countries like the U.S. and Europe. … For printers, I am positive that it is not bad because the leading printing companies in India are reputed companies that publish major magazines and books." Especially with the attention being paid to the international labor market, partnering with a suspect company overseas can be a major risk.
In China, questionable labor practices has certainly been a topic of concern. Many of the deaths and accidents reportedly occur in coal mines and fireworks factories. However, China's overall workplace safety has been notoriously poor. For comparison sake, in the United States, the Department of Labor's Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported a fatality rate in 2002 of 4.0 fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers; in China, this figure was reported as 11.1 fatal work injuries per 100,000 Chinese workers (an International Labour Organization statistic, according to an article in Asian Labour News, Jan. 10, 2004).
- Carribean islands
- Eastern Europe
- Fairfax, Va.
- Far East
- Hagerstown, Md.
- Hong Kong
- New Delhi
- New York City
- North America
- Rockaway, N.J.
- South Korea
- Southeast Asia
- Southern China
- Sri Lanka
- Stevens Point
- United States