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News - 7 March 2005

Lloyds TSB continues offshoring trend

The Lloyds TSB Group Union (LTU) said yesterday the company was expected to save millions of pounds by increasing to 2,500 the number of jobs transferred to India.

Although this represents only about 3% of their total workforce, employees are worried 1,800 jobs at the credit unit at Sussex House in Gloucester Place, Brighton and 200 jobs at the registrars operation in The Causeway, Worthing, are at risk. City analysts are predicting that Lloyds TSB will announce pre-tax profits of about £3.33 billion but other leading banks e.g. RBS have made even higher profits whilst remaining committed to operating only from the UK. Call Centre workers in India are paid the equivalent of about £1,200 a year but problems with staff attrition are even worse than in the UK side of the industry with workers often leaving with little notice for a few rupees more.

The Nisai Group – an interactive games manufacturer - has just closed its call centre in Hyderabad at the end of February and returned the work to Middlesbrough in the north-east on England. With a staff turnover of 200% p.a. in Hyderabad owner Dhruv Patel realised that loyalty was more important than cheap wages and a research and development arrangement with the University of Teesside clinched the deal. This perhaps demonstrates that eventually companies may reassess the cost savings that offshoring brings in the light of quality of service and ease of operation.

If this is the case, research from Deloitte suggests that, in the south east region as few as 20,000 jobs could be lost over the next 20 years but if the pace accelerates significantly as companies move towards global centres of excellence the figure could rise to 220,000 over the same period.

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