Pakistan amongst top 20 outsourcing destinations

Pakistan has become the 20th most attractive outsourcing destination, according to consulting management firm A.T. Kearney. Even as concerns increase about Pakistan’s stability and the growing displaced population due to ongoing military operations with the Taliban, the country made a significant jump on A.T. Kearney’s 2009 Global Services Location Index released May 18. Pakistan went from #30 in 2007 to #20 in 2009.

In fact, the report says that as a region, the Middle East and North Africa are becoming more attractive in the ever-shifting geography of popular outsourcing places. Both enjoy large, well-educated populations and proximity to Europe. The index ranks the top 50 countries worldwide for locating outsourcing activities including IT services and support, contact centers and back-office support. Both Jordan and Egypt have entered the top 10 locales.

Countries are measured on 43 different attributes related to financial attractiveness, people and skills availability and business environment. Yet, cost is a huge motivator for many companies and is one reason that places like Pakistan score so highly. When the same index was released in 2007, about 40% of its weighting was given to the financial attractiveness of a country.

This is a global index, so it takes a look at where companies worldwide are outsourcing their work. There are plenty of companies in the Middle East, for instance, that outsource work to Pakistan. I would venture to guess the percentage of U.S. companies outsourcing work to Pakistan is much smaller. Yet, I find it intriguing that even as concern rises about the stability of Pakistan that it can become a more attractive destination to do outsourcing.

CBS News reported on May 19, the day after this index was released, that Pakistan faces a growing humanitarian crisis with up to 2 million people displaced. Similarly, Mexico has seen growing violence due to the drug wars since the last Global Services Location Index was released in 2007. Yet, it only dropped one slot in the index to #11 from #10 two years ago.