New Twist on Outsourcing in Japan: Sending Workers Offshore to Cheaper Locations

By Lester Rosen, ESR President

In a number of blogs, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) has discussed why employer should very carefully consider the dangers of utilizing an employment screening process that sends applicant data off-shore for processing.  Such a practice puts the employer at risk.  Making Personal and Identifiable Information (PII) available to off-shore operator beyond the reach of U.S. privacy laws is a completely unnecessary risk, not to mention the lack of quality control and standards.

In a new twist on off shoring, the global edition of the New York Times reported on July 22, 2010 that Japanese companies are trying to save money by off shoring Japanese workers to cheaper locations in Asia.  Some Japanese firms have found that they cannot use foreign Japanese speakers because the service quality does not match customer expectations, and even foreign workers with a good command of the Japanese language may not understand the nuisances of politeness and manners of Japanese customers.

Although the wages are lower for Japanese workers that allow themselves to be outsourced and off shored, the lower cost of living may allow worker to save money and provide an interesting experience.

It appears that U.S. firms that off shore to foreign countries have also found that even though foreign English speakers are cheaper, the customer experience may often be lacking.  Partly for that reason, many U.S. firms have brought call center work back to the U.S.

ESR does NOT send U. S. applicant information outside of the U.S. for processing.  Once data leaves the U.S., the data is beyond the reach of U.S. privacy laws and there is a lack of privacy protections.  Sending data outside the U.S. put applicants and employers at great risk with no meaningful upside for employers.  As a practical matter, someone in the U.S. has no ability to hire a lawyer in a foreign country to pursue legal action or contact a foreign police authority to get any action taken if their identity of PII is compromised.  The only exception is where ESR is asked to perform an international verification and the information resides outside of the U.S. Even in that situation, ESR goes to great length to protect applicant data by going directly to the school or employer.  If it is necessary to have a researcher do research in a foreign country, ESR only releases the minimum information absolutely necessary.

A large number of screening firms have also taken a position against off shoring data.  See:

For more information on background checks and outsourcing, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at