More than 10% of British IT jobs could move offshore in the next five years, according to the British Computer Society, but this is likely to concentrate the number of specialised, highly skilled jobs in the UK.
A report published this week by the BCS said offshore outsourcing will provide opportunities to the UK IT work force as well as challenges. The level of offshoring will continue to grow at around 20% a year, with up to 12% of UK jobs moving offshore by 2010, said the BCS.
The UK industry must recognise where its strengths lie if it is to withstand competition from countries such as India where labour is cheaper, it concluded.
“There is still a perception among some IT professionals that offshoring can only do damage to the UK economy,” the BCS reported. “The continued growth of the offshore market and gradual growth of the UK economy overall paint a different picture.”
According to the BCS, unemployment among UK IT professionals is currently running at just 4%. And there remains a skills shortage in areas such as security, systems integration and project management. For those with the right skills, there will still be plenty of opportunities, the report concludes.
The BCS paper echoes the sentiments expressed by the president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Digby Jones, last month. Jones told the CBI’s annual conference that the IT industry must undergo a “huge culture change” in response to overseas competition, but said he was confident that the UK could create more work than is being sent offshore.