The Global Opportunity in Online Outsourcing

  • Toks Fayomi
  • Siou Chew Kuek
  • Saori Imaizumi
  • Panagiotis Ipeirotis
  • Cecilia Paradi-Guilford
  • Patricia Pina
  • Manpreet Singh

Online outsourcing (OO) has become a promising alternative to traditional employment in today’s digital era.  It has transformed where, when, and how work is performed.  For workers, this form of outsourcing has created new opportunities to access and compete in global job markets, from anywhere at any time, as long as they have computer and Internet access.  This study focuses on OO’s potential as a new and innovative channel for socioeconomic development for developing country governments and development practitioners, particularly in terms of youth employment, services exports, and participation in the digital economy. OO firms report that the private sector is currently driving most of the demand, but public sector demand for OO is a potential source of future growth.  In order to understand the opportunity for developing countries, this study estimated the current size of the market and projected its growth, and profiled OO work through a combination of desk research and structure interviews with academics, online workers, firms, and industry analysts to better understand OO’s potential impact on human capital and employment.  The study also conducted focus group interviews with online workers in Kenya to gather additional insight into the socioeconomic impacts of OO, and carried out case studies in Kenya and Nigeria.