The Growing Trend of Offshore Virtual Assistants

by Luna Rutherford

Nov 25

De-urbanization and remote employment have increased in the past two years, but how this will affect hiring practices in the long term is unknown. Due to the necessity to reduce expenses during the recent economic uncertainty, the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) sector, in particular, has benefited, which has resulted in a rise in the hiring of offshore contract virtual assistants.

Key findings

– In 2020, the number of virtual assistants outsourced by offshore agencies rose by 41% as businesses let go of full-time US employees during the COVID-19 economic restraint periods.
– Low single digits to 14 percent were the range of US unemployment rates in Q2–Q4 2020.
– Inbound queries from US firms to overseas VAs surged in tandem with the COVID-19 lockout periods, with an initial spike in Q2 2020 and a second wave in Q4.
– A 16 percent increase in workload per hour was contributed by solo VAs working on freelancer platforms during Q2-Q4 of last year.
– Interviewed VAs stated that more than half of inbound leads came from businesses that outsourced tasks that were previously carried out by internal employees.
– It appears that demand for offshore VAs will remain strong as the practice of offshoring administrative tasks becomes more commonplace for US businesses that have not previously adapted to the global contractor market. Inbound inquiry volume to both
agencies and solo operators peaked in Q4 even as the US unemployment rate improved to under 7%.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of virtual assistants sourced by BPOs climbed by 41 percent year over year (YoY), with individual VAs reporting an average workload growth of 16 percent per hour. An average 52 percent year-on-year increase in incoming queries was seen at VA offices. At the beginning of the pandemic, the US unemployment rate increased by 10
percentage points, and as of November 2020, it is still over double the Q1 rate.

The recent lockdowns in the US caused an initial surge in work in Q2, moderate increases year-on-year in Q3, and a second surge in work in Q4 leading up to the holidays as US lockdowns resumed in significant US economies like California, according to virtual assistants working as solo contractors on sites like Upwork and

While VAs with BPOs increased their hourly workloads by 13% on average, those working alone on platforms increased their hourly workloads by 17% on average. Owners of VA agencies reported noticeably increased incoming inquiries and account growth, as well as new personnel to handle orders.

The Philippines, lower-tier US cities, and the UK were the most often mentioned areas by BPOs for acquiring fresh personnel.

Only 8.5% of the VAs surveyed reported drops in incoming inquiries, while 70% reported growth. During times of high demand, the majority of VAs increased their workload by 45 percent per hour.

The Outcome: Opportunities for offshore BPOs

Through the utilization of offsite or offshore outsourcing of administrative and assistant duties, US businesses stand to save substantially. Moving business divisions overseas allows the average business to save more than 50% on expenses, with administrative and non-technical job labor providing one of the biggest cost savings, as we’ve demonstrated in
previous reports.

For a variety of reasons, including tradition, unfavorable views of globalization, and a lack of technical competence to manage remote teams. US businesses still traditionally find full-time employees for basic administrative and assistant work despite the cost advantages.

Many of these businesses were compelled by the recent economic slump to begin outsourcing offshore VAs, and once a business begins using less expensive offshore resources, it is hard to stop. Due to the normalization of remote work and contract employment, experts are anticipating that the BPO sector will retain 10–30% of the increased volume following vaccination.

Based on the $221.5B market size of the business process outsourcing industry (just $26B in the US), this amounts to an estimated $22.2-66.45B in value taken from full-time employee pay and distributed to contract resources, primarily offshore, in just a one-year period. This is an unusual trend away from full-time employees (FTE) toward contract workers and
global HR structures, especially given the BPO industry’s 8 percent worldwide compound annual growth rate.

This study’s findings are based on a survey of 141 independent virtual assistants and 32 VA firms. Most businesses and people operating outside the US and serving US clientele were interviewed.

The majority of the individual VAs were approached through HARO, a journalistic platform where it is usual for VAs to respond to inquiries on behalf of corporate executives for PR objectives, and participants were anonymous.

Large, mid-sized, and independent contractor firms were chosen to represent a cross-section of the BPO sector.

Consider working with an offshore service provider now that these important findings are in your favor. At ADDMORE Outsourcing, we can help you benefit from having experienced and talented virtual assistants available to support you as you expand your company. For clients in the United States, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East, and other countries across the world, we provide a comprehensive selection of affordable offshore and outsourcing options.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our wide array of BPO services. Profit from the countless advantages of outsourcing to the Philippines. Call us right now to arrange a no-cost consultation.


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