Virtual Assistant Shortage

After listening to Scott Hanselman's interview with Timothy Ferriss, I was intrigued by the Virtual Assistant concept. This is, basically, hiring a personal assistant, but one who works where labour is less expensive.

There are companies that have sprung up to act as intermediaries between you and your virtual assistant, providing things like a pool of resources with a single point of contact (who is fluent in English), so that the set of skills available is diverse and there's coverage for spikes in workload. Check out GetFriday's model, it's pretty fascinating.

Interestingly, GetFriday is experiencing a bit of a labour shortage. The sudden popularity of the Timothy's book and the concept of virtual assistants is letting people around the world make use of the pool of available resources wherever they may be. Because of the additional demand, GetFriday's rates have gone up from what the book quoted.

It's been long said that there's a huge untapped pool of talent in India and in other places around the world; so much outsourcing is based on this idea. But now that outsourcing is being made available to everyone and so many people are taking advantage of it, the pool is starting to shrink.

What I'd like to think will happen is that so many people will be using one or more VA's that supply and demand will kick in, rates will go up, and instead of fighting a "who can work cheapest" battle, rates will start to equalize worldwide and maybe some of these jobs can come back home.

GetFriday's starting hourly rate is greater than minimum wage in the US, so I can see this aready starting.