Remote work has become a huge topic of conversation in the business and political world since the pandemic shutdowns. The shift to remote that the pandemic response precipitated has upended many of the conventions of how business is done in the United States. In a remote work world, the geographic tie between one’s place of residence and place of work has been severed in many cases. This allowed many people to geographically relocate, has caused problems for America’s downtowns, etc.
> Anyone with a fully remote job is a prime candidate to have their position eliminated or relocated to a low cost location offshore.
There can be significant costs (both ongoing and up-front) and risks involved with offshoring work, especially skilled positions that require continuous close communication and collaboration (like software development), a high degree of trust (like management, security, or leadership), and/or certain US certifications (like accounting or engineering).
For large companies, those costs and risks can be partly mitigated. Microsoft and other old software companies have a very long history of offshoring software development positions since the early 1990s. It's instructive to take a look at their job board - note the positions that are remote and offshore. The two don't seem to necessarily correlate - https://careers.microsoft.com/us/en/search-results?keywords=software. I think there are good reasons they still post a lot of US-based, 100% remote positions -- and I don't think your job is at risk of being offshored if you have one of them at Microsoft.
I think any particular position's likelihood of being offshored can be evaluated using these criteria:
1. Whether the position or department is seen as a cost center or constitutes the company's primary business or an important investment. Cost-cutting is less likely if you or your department are seen as integral to the company's business, and especially if you or your department are seen as an investment.
2. The costs and risks involved with offshoring your position or department. These costs and risks will be higher for positions involving high trust, high collaboration, or US-based certifications.
3. Your company's ability to mitigate those costs and risks - large companies will be more capable here.
I work as a software engineer for a mid-size (~500 employee), fully-remote SaaS software company in LA that has offshore sales/marketing offices in places like London, but has not effectively offshored any of its core work. I have no fear of losing my job to someone outside the US, and no fear that it could happen to any of my co-workers. That's because all 3 criteria fall short: my department (and indeed, the company as a whole) is seen as a massive investment (we're VC-funded), my job requires close collaboration, and the company is small-ish enough that the organizational costs of offshoring engineering work wouldn't be seen as being worth the potential cost savings.
I think that many companies - such as the one I work for - are continuing with remote work because the senior managers or owners themselves don't want to come into work every day!
You make some very good points here about the value of going into the office. Particularly for young people entering an industry, the office will be the place to learn about the culture and the unspoken guidelines. Growth and advancement only come when supervisors know the employee at a personal level. There is still a desire and need to develop employees who can work with the team and share values. The new frontier of sending work offshore is a somewhat newer factor, but it makes perfect sense that a job which can be done remotely in country, can also be done overseas. Kudos to you for explaining the hazards of remote working.