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HR Magazine - July 2002: Cover Story - Facing the Future: The Outsourcing Dilemma

By Steve Bates  7/1/2002

With outsourcing becoming such a huge business, should early-career HR professionals consider going to work for an HR outsourcing firm?

“It’s an attractive career proposition for many people,” says David Rhodes of consulting firm Towers Perrin. It allows a worker to become familiar with several businesses that the outsourcing firm services, not just one.

Ed Jensen of consulting firm Accenture agrees. At an outsourcing organization, “you’re providing services to real paying customers. A lot of people have seen tremendous boosts in their careers.”

But Carl Van Horn, a professor at Rutgers University, dissents. “You’re better off going to the company than the consulting firm. There’s no substitute for being in a business” if your ultimate goal is to demonstrate the ability to analyze internal HR and financial issues, he says.

Some people won’t have much choice in the matter: HR professionals whose organizations outsource their jobs to a vendor.

Rohail Khan, North American COO for HR outsourcer e-peopleserve, says that outsourcing firms hire many of their clients’ HR people during the outsourcer’s start-up years but progressively fewer of them thereafter. After the vendor is established and well staffed, he says, it tends to retain only “the best and the brightest” of clients’ former HR workers.

—Steve Bates

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