Ask LH: Are There Any Jobs That Are Safe From Offshoring?

Hey Lifehacker, Given today's technological advances and the rise in jobs where you can work remotely, how does one secure a job that can't be "offshored"? What are the "non-offshoreable" jobs? Thanks, Career Crisis

Departures picture from Shutterstock

Dear CC,

The fast, crass and accurate answer? Prostitution. It's a hand-to-mouth existence, but it's not something you can completely handle offshore.

The more considered answer? Your question is built on two frankly shaky presumptions. The first is that jobs going offshore is inherently and always a bad thing, which is a political can of worms I'm not going to dive into here.

The second is that securing a job that is "onshore" guarantees some kind of career security. As anyone who works at a car manufacturer or in a call centre or as a coder or in a bank or in a retail store will tell you, that's not always the case. "Jobs for life" were a reality for our grandparents and perhaps for our parents, but not for us. You have to be able to change and adapt, and adopting a mindset that says "I need to find a job someone overseas can't do" is not the right way to approach it. "I need to find a job that I love and can do well" is a better way to think about it.

There are plenty of obvious careers that require physical presence in a given location -- chefs, builders, dentists. If one of those appeals, train, learn and embrace it. But don't assume the job won't change in unexpected ways. That's the world we live in.

Cheers Lifehacker

Got your own question you want to put to Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.


    Any job that needs face-to-face contact with a customer.

      Yeah this seems really obvious.. I doubt for example you're likely to get a bank teller who's in India... Cisco etc have been trying to push their teleprescence crap for like 20 years now.. And it's still terrible and something nobody wants.

      and related jobs where people do things to generate more customers, ie. nightfill or recovery

    You can always try taking jobs FROM offshore. I am a graphic designer and I have clients all over the world. I find India particularly good to work with.

    Truck drivers will always be needed, at least until they invent teleporters and everything can be sent straight to your home or business from overseas within seconds.

      Or at least until Google finishes this project:

    I can't see a building going up remotely, a farm being worked from China or a garden being cleaned up by some bloke in the Philippines or India, in fact I'd be willing to bet a large majority of jobs can't actually be sent offshore.

    >Prostitution. It’s a hand-to-mouth existence

    You're doing it wrong then.

    I've gone from IT (and in a bank at that!) to carpentry.

    New ways of outsourcing and offshoring IT roles will continue to drive those jobs elsewhere (or see them made redundant completely), but at the end of the day, everyone needs somewhere to live, and most people need a place to work. Places need building and maintenance.

    Bonus, once fully qualified I'll have the knowledge and ability to build and maintain my own house, putting me even further ahead.

    Bigger bonus, making real tangible stuff feels really good (building software can also be good, but more often than not, unless you are both the developer and the client, it can easily stop feeling good).

      I would second this, but going the plumbing route.

      I look back now as I was finishing high school, should have dropped out and did an apprenticeship instead of going to uni, tradies are killing it

    Policing/Ambulance/Fire fighting/Emergency services/Security. They all need real people physically present to work

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now