In June The Sun newspaper shocked the advocates of offshoring by announcing that it had bought the bank account details of 1000 people from a Delhi call centre operative. This fuelled the continuing debate over the offshoring problem but it doesn’t shed much light on the scale of the industry.
The truth is that no one knows the size of the job losses due to offshoring – the transfer of basic functions to cheaper nations – and much of the information that is bandied about is nothing more than anecdote and hearsay.
In a report published in June the McInsey Global Institute (MGI) calculated that 1.5m service jobs had been lost from developed countries and by 2008 it forecasts that the number will have risen to 4.1m.
The raw figures seem like a lot but they need to be considered in the context of the nearly 5 million jobs per month that are generated in America which suddenly puts the ‘lost jobs’ into perspective.
There is also a misconception that jobs are going to India and the Far East. In fact Estonia, Ireland and Sweden are recipients of offshoring jobs and all of them are now members of the EU. The McInsey report concludes that European firms tend to ‘offshore’ within Europe with the notable exception of UK firms.
It would appear that there is a price to pay for the evolution of English into the lingua franca and the language of business. Quite simply those countries that can speak English and offer cheap labour are always going to be appealing to companies looking to save a penny here of there.
Read related items on:
Communications, IT and new media