Friday, November 5, 2021

Whose Jobs are Safe from Foreign Digital Competition?

If we're all going to work from home, why should American companies prefer to work with people who live in the US? If the people who want to keep working from home are right, and physical location is irrelevant, then why not hire cheaper workers in India or Jamaica?

Tyler Cowen says the safest jobs will be the ones that require local cultural knowledge:

If you have had a relatively comfortable job during the pandemic, it might now be time to worry.

The more culturally specific your knowledge and skills, however, the more protected you will be. Doing math and writing code are universal skills. But if you are a wedding consultant, even an online wedding consultant, you’re probably not going to lose business to a competitor from Zimbabwe, no matter how sharp. On the whole, more people will end up in jobs that feel very “American,” for lack of a better word. Legally protected sectors — law, medicine and other professions requiring occupational licenses — will also get more crowded.

Since my job requires knowledge of North American archaeology and history, as well as the US regulations surrounding environmental review and historic preservation, as well as the way those regulations are implemented in several states, I feel like I am pretty safe here.

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