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The Cost of Outsourcing Brain Power

The Bureau of Labor statistics expects wage and salary employment in management, scientific and technical consulting to increase by...

outsourcing brain power

If you're a consultant, even a talented, successful one, you can't help but be concerned that your job will end up overseas. The reason is simple: You make too much money.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wages and salaries of employees working in management, scientific and technical consulting services are expected to increase by an incredible 78 percent from 2006 through 2016. Because of this, these jobs have become prime targets for companies looking to save money by outsourcing their most expensive positions.

Companies can hire consultants for far less in many foreign countries than they can in the United States. And, unfortunately for local workers, these overseas consultants often work just as hard and efficiently as their U.S. counterparts.

Just look at the money that U.S. companies can save through outsourcing their brain power: The average I.T. consultant who has worked for one to four years makes a yearly salary in the $50,000 to $70,000 range. That figure rises to $65,000 to $90,000 for I.T. consultants who have worked for five to nine years, and to $72,000 to $105,000 for those who have logged 10 to 19 years on the job.

I.T. consultants in many overseas locations, who have worked just as many years, will gladly accept salaries that are far lower. The cost of living simply isn't as high in many other countries as it is in the United States. Employers, then, can pay overseas workers smaller yearly salaries, and these workers will still feel as if they are being treated fairly.

Consider the management at the top consulting firms in the United States. Their companies have suffered mightily during the worst recession the country has seen in decades. If they're looking to shed high salaries, they might consider starting with their consulting staff members.

At the country's top consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, the average consultant makes more than $100,000 a year. At second-ranked The Boston Consulting Group, the typical consultant earns just under $125,000 annually.

The consulting firms following closely on McKinsey and Boston's heels pay their consultants well, too. Third-ranked Bain & Company pays its consultants an average of $125,000 a year, while consultants at fourth-ranked Booz & Company make an average of $74,000 annually. At fifth-ranked Deloitte Consulting Group, consultants earn about $76,000 each year on average.

Again, these firms can save a significant amount of money by outsourcing their top brain talent to overseas locations. Will these overseas consultants turn in the same high-quality work that these firms are used to from their consultants? That's hard to say, but today's companies are increasingly looking at the bottom line. And this bottom line might mean trouble for today's high-salaried consultants.