Offshoring benefits UK job market

The Advanced Institute of Management speaks

The UK has benefitted from the offshoring trend, a new report claims. It found that despite the regular reports of jobs going overseas, even more jobs have been created in the country as other nations offshore work here.

The report, published by the Advance Institute of Management, reveals that Britain has been more successful at exporting services than many other developed nations, and that computer services, along with recruitment, architecture and advertising, is a particularly strong sector. This, it claims, means that the idea that jobs are disappearing to India is misleading, explaining the UK has a trade surplus in business services of £17bn, while India has no surplus at all. The figures also show that the UK's surplus is larger than that of the US, while Germany and Japan show deficits in the services market.

Rachel Griffith, one of the authors told The Financial Times that although some UK jobs are going overseas, this is only half the picture: "Foreign firms also purchase business services from the UK and the net effect has been positive", she said.

Others in industry warn that while things are going well now, this is no time to rest on our laurels. BT's CEO, Ben VerWaayen, writing in today's FT, says that focusing on call centres trivialises the debate about outsourcing. He argues that in a global economy, Britain will need to be more competitive if it is to maintain its current position: "When I was last in India, a very senior Indian politician made a sobering comment. 'In your country,' he said, 'if someone is lazy, he is still rich. In India, if someone is lazy he is dead'."

He has called on the higher education sector, which he describes as "depressingly introverted and nationalistic" to make its institutions more international and more flexible so that graduates can follow the work. He also called on the government to pay attention to the kind of graduates the system produces, rather than the bare quantity. ®

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