As COVID Reshapes Economy, Businesses Look Abroad for Workers

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, the US is experiencing a boom in company startups and a shortage of new workers. Wishup Founder Neelesh Rangwani explains how Indian companies are helping American entrepreneurs find the desperately and crucial help that is needed.

The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed an unexpected burst of entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. According to the Census Bureau, Americans filed paperwork to start 4.3 million businesses last year—a 24% increase from the year before—and appears to be on track to continue this pattern in 2021.(1) “To flourish,” says Neelesh Rangwani, founder of Delhi-based virtual assistant provider Wishup, “these startup companies must be able to staff up quickly enough to keep up with growth while also controlling cost. India’s cadre of highly trained and qualified English-speaking remote workers can help U.S. entrepreneurs meet these needs.”

Outsourcing top-ranked Indian workers is extremely important right now, Rangwani explains. He adds that the United States is going through a shortage of workers, which is affecting the current startup boom. There are more than 10 million jobs open in the U.S.—more than a million more jobs than there are unemployed Americans, Rangwani notes. Partly as a result, nearly one-third of small business owners say they have had open positions they have been unable to fill for at least three months.

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In addition to potentially crippling shortages of workers, notes Rangwani, small business owners face increases in both recruiting cost and ongoing labor expenses. Over 40% of small businesses are experiencing a demand for higher wages;(2) the total cost of acquiring a new worker, from solicitation of applications through employment and training, is estimated to be $4,000 per employee.(3) To those costs must be added the ongoing cost of office space, security, and ancillary expenses, even items as apparently minor as coffee; the cost of providing coffee alone will run between $50 and $125 per employee per year.(4)

An attractive alternative is to find and maintain a team of virtual employees, particularly, says Rangwani, from a country like India. There are, he notes, still obstacles for Indian virtual employee providers making the case for their services to American employers, among them a legacy of ineffective and suboptimal call-center employees. However, he says, the care taken in training and vetting employees today is rapidly putting an end to this problem. In the case of his own company, the key is very high selectivity; only about two percent of applicants survive the selection process and become virtual staff members for U.S. companies.

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In any case, says Rangwani, outsourcing key business functions is an established fact of life in American business. According to a recent study, 74% of U.S. companies outsource IT, 52% outsource HR, 43% outsource procurement, and 39% outsource finance.(5). Given these realities, he notes that more and more employers, especially among rapid-growth, one- to three-year-old companies, seek out the best and most effective outsource solution.

Above all, says Rangwani, outsourcing exponentially expands the talent pool. “We live in a global economy,” he says, “for talent as well as for merchandise, and India is increasingly a top-level provider of business services. Moreover, Indians applaud the current American entrepreneurial boom and stand ready to help it meet all of its plans and goals.”

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