The Rise of Nearshoring: How the rise of home working and remote employee's is leading to the birth of 'Nearshoring'.

Home working/Remote working is a dream come true for many. However, in the UK and much of the rest of the Western world, there is an impending threat to workers' jobs outside of the economic effects of the pandemic – local and global outsourcing, what may come to be termed as nearshoring and offshoring.

The great remote/home working experiment that has taken place during the pandemic has shown many hesitant companies that home working and remote working can mean that work does not have to be done locally with people sitting in the office.

For many jobs focused on business processes over human interaction, this presents a range of opportunities to cut costs and either outsourcing in the near abroad or just flat-out hiring abroad seems to be a logical step in this process.

Now, this article is not attempting to become a “Doom-Merchant” gloomathon, however, any new trend that is big enough to have as big an effect as the remote/home working revolution that we have seen over the last year is, of course, going to change how businesses operate, economics and ultimately produce winners and losers.

There will be three main ways that may develop over the coming months and years: outsourcing, offshoring and near-shoring.

Before we dive in, we must clear up the terminology around these issues.


Home working means a person, who works from home, for some or a majority of their working week, but will visit the office at specific or on ad-hoc occasions for meetings and to work for a specific number of days. Generally, they will live near enough to commute to the office when needed at short notice.

A remote worker is a person, who works full-time away from their office at the location of their choosing, so long as it does not interfere with their work.

Offshoring is the moving of jobs within a company to a foreign international location that reduces costs, this could be for example moving back-office functions to Poland or India from London, or moving manufacturing and production lines to Mexico or China from America.

Outsourcing is the moving a business operational process outside of the business to another company, at the most simple, this can be the hiring of a bookkeeper to manage the books and at the most complex it can be like the government handling a multibillion-pound contact to a company like Serco or G4S for a service e.g. The Probation Service.

Outsourcing and Offshoring can and are regularly combined.

Nearshoring is the relocation of remote working jobs to location or locations that offer the same cost reduced benefits of offshoring whilst keeping in the same country or state.

The recent history of offshoring and outsourcing.

Terms like, outsourcing, and offshoring have been around for a long time, generally since the 1980’s they become household terms (well in the houses of business school lectures anyway) used generally (although) not always with the trend for companies to move production of goods from first world to developing nations.

Making goods cheaper to steal a march on competitors by reducing the labour costs required to make everyday goods like TVs to Toys, Textiles to Trumpets. This helped fuel the consumer boom of the 1990s but also resulted in mass job losses across entire industries.

Towards the late 1980s, another concept began to spread “outsourcing”, in which routine business processes were moved out of the organisation to another organisation that specialized in that one business process or a cluster of related business processes.

As the 1990s progressed these trends merged and many functions like telephone contact centres, data entry and IT began to move offshore to India.

Outsourcing and Offshoring are different, terms that are used interchangeably. However, both have ridden the waves of globalisation and the internet to become far easier to achieve and reduce costs by, essentially increasing the competitive pool of labour.

Since the later 1990’s outsourcing and offshoring have spread further and further down the business food chain so that now even one-person businesses can outsource and offshore key functions of their business. Indeed services like Fivrr, People Per Hour, Task Rabbit etc have pioneered the small application of offshoring and outsourcing.

So, what is nearshoring?

Nearshoring is something that is very akin to Offshoring and Outsourcing. Essentially, it is riding the technological developments to allow businesses and potentially the public sector to outsource, or “nearshore” workers in lower-cost regions of the country.

This will boil down to companies being able to recruit staff right across the country. For example, instead of a company choosing to hire a worker in London, they could hire a “nearshored” employee in a region of the country that has reduced living costs and thus wages e.g. rural Scotland, north-east England etc.

This will give many businesses access to a larger pool of talent for roles that do not require presence in the office, however, it could potentially lead to some workers having their bargaining power regarding wages curtailed or severely reduced.

Why will increased nearshoring and outsourcing, both locally and globally?

Economic pressure, managerial experience in dealing with and acceptance of remote workers as legitimate teams, the impact on the bottom line from the recession, and skill shortages will all be motivators for many businesses to adopt some form of the above.

In all fairness, this is not going to be a simple process every managing director is not going to

However, these changes and opportunities will lead to a steady increase in all three being applied.

So what does this mean for you?

Depending on your role, company culture, type of job you do the this could mean a number of things.

If you are a manager or executive, you may want to start considering how, offshoring, outsourcing or near-shoring may benefit your business.

If you are a worker in a role that feels vulnerable, the best thing you can do is help shape the company culture to focus on the benefits of “home-working” over 100% remote working.

Furthermore, looking at ways to move into roles that are less vulnerable to these threats is also important.

Essentially some trends are going to be impossible to stop, so focus on becoming a surfer of the wave. This of course is not the type of news that is going to help if you are having to take a pay cut or indeed lose your job.

However, it pays to start thinking about how, if work is changing what ways you can adjust to that change, or how you can take your next in your career. Indeed it may be worth considering whether you might be better off taking a pay cut and working remotely with someone hot and sunny like Swindon.

Is Nearshoring a bad or good economic development?

Depending on who you are and where you live the growth of nearshoring is either going to be positive or negative. Potentially, if we are going to be seeing an across-the-board growth in remote and home working, then this could be a boon for the regions of the UK and a bit of a bust for places like London.

However, my gut tells me that the picture will be highly mixed with wages in some sectors being driven down further with increased competition and others barely being affected, even enhanced by the new home/remote working lifestyle.

Home working and remote working is going to have many changes. Hopefully, one overall benefit is that it helps “level up” the country, even if it knocks some of the shine of London.


Thank you for reading this article.

Please note that I have written these books that you might find interesting:

Recruitment Hacks -

Political Careers -

My First eBay Sale -

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form