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A possible consequence of the pandemic? Offshoring white-collar jobs

April 28, 2021, 8:58 PM UTC
Empty Office Space-White Collar Jobs
Alex Kraus—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Chief information officers helped guide corporations through both the pandemic’s forced WFH experiment and accelerated digital transformation. Those same CIOs will also play a big part as employees come back to the office.

To see what the future of work will look like, Fortune and Adobe teamed up for the second year in a row to survey CIOs. We got 500 responses from around the globe. 

The Fortune-Adobe CIO survey finds the office is coming back—but not for everyone. Among U.S. CIOs, nearly 1 in 2 said their post-pandemic workplace would be either a hybrid or fully remote office. Why? On a net basis, 47% of U.S. CIOs say working from home has improved productivity. Meanwhile, 30% say on a net basis it worsened productivity. Companies are clearly warming to the idea of remote or hybrid work for employees who are thriving in the setting.

Widespread acceptance of WFH will give employees more flexibility, but it could also result in more competition. According to Fortune-Adobe survey, 64% of U.S. CIOs told say that, in the future, their organization is likely to consider opening applicants to candidates from anywhere in the country or the world.

That could have unintended consequences: Just as trade deals lead to offshoring of blue-collar jobs, a widespread WFH effect could see U.S. companies become more comfortable with sending office jobs overseas. The jury is still out, but offshoring of white-collar jobs could become an consequence of the pandemic.

*Methodology: The Fortune-Adobe CIO Survey was fielded between Feb. 18 and March 4, 2021. In total we received 500 CIO responses. That includes 200 responses from U.S. based CIOs. Participants had to work for companies with at least 100 employees. Participants were verified using publicly available information (e.g., LinkedIn profiles). Fortune sought Adobe as a partner for this project given its regular interactions with CIOs through its Adobe Experience Platform, a portal which provides IT and tech leaders real-time customer data. Data collection was done by Advanis, a research firm and member of the Canadian Research Insights Council. 

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