Whitey >Equally I might decide that certain skill sets cannot be met in South Asia, so I would exclude them e.g top design skills ; highly engaged content ; low on initiative and creative innovation etc
You brought this up. So I will talk about it. In some other places when I have made similar comments about people from Asia being less creative, I have been attacked as a racist. Which is amusing to me. If I was a racist why would I move to be with these people. Why would I marry an Asian woman and have mixture of children if I was a racist? I have a hard time following that logic. So please understand, my comments here are about my observations, not whether one race is better than another. They are different.
But the schools in Asia are completely different than the older schools number. I say older because the Americans schools are changing to be more like the Asian. No child left behind and core curriculum are a copy of the Asian system.
These types of schools train the children to be conformists. To follow with the group. To not stick out. Not be a square peg in a round hole. Because the leaders of these Asian countries do not want people who will lead revolutions against them. Many of the businesses in Asia are owned by oligarchs. Family dynasties that control entire industries. They don't want the schools teaching individual achievement, creative thinking, analytical skills, abstract reasoning. Those are a threat the current power structure. It's amazing thing to see.
And after school is done, all this training is reinforced within the society.
So which you have is large sections of people, billions, who are trained to be employees, not freelance workers. Not intrapreneurs, not employers. Their followers and not leaders. If you have a chance to see a movie made in India, by the name of "three idiots", I highly recommend it. India produces some fantastic movies, and this one is extremely popular in Asia. It's a movie about the education system and the flaws that I just described. Education systems heavily influenced by memorization, written tests and conformity to the culture. There are many people who understand the errors in the education system, however there trapped in the culture and unable to change the system.
So this is why people have had trouble with some of the freelancers they've hired from Asia.
1) Expectations were too high. You're not going to get Western design skills, creative skills, from the majority of Asians. If they have those kind of outstanding skills, they're probably working for multinational corporations like Google or Microsoft. It's a tiny minority.
2) Discipline with Asian freelancers is difficult. Because your boss is on the other side of the ocean. As I say they're trained to be employees, where if you're late, you get reprimanded. If you don't show up to work, you get harassed by your fellow coworkers. If you get fired from a job, your family harasses you. But when you doing freelance work, the things that keep people in line, are not present.
3) There is a major communications gap between Asian people and Westerners. Westerners talk based upon their experience, and have expectations based upon their experience. These do not align with the Asian culture. There needs to be compromise, oversight, understanding, tight control, and regular feedback.
A typical example is if you hired a computer programer. If you do not know programming yourself, you also need to find someone who can review the work of this Asian programmer, to make sure it's what you want. In every type of work these people need closer supervision than Westerners. They're comfortable with close supervision.
4) You need to have a detailed plan and everything spelled out. If you working with people from India, and I do on a daily basis, you need to be extremely explicit. It's impossible to have too many details in the instructions. Because that's their culture. That's what they're comfortable with. That's what they need. If you don't provide them with a good plan, the results will be unpredictable.