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The British Computer Society says offshoring is now a fact of life but represents an opportunity for UK IT professionals as well as a threat.

A report from a BCS working party chaired by Elizabeth Sparrow found that at least 12 per cent of UK IT jobs will have gone offshore by 2010. The report predicts offshoring will continue to grow at 20 per cent year-on-year.

But there are still jobs in the UK for people with the right skills. There are still shortages in areas like security, systems integration and project management. The report says the good state of the UK IT market is shown by the low rate of unemployment for IT pros - only four per cent are not working. UK professionals can guard against being offshored by keeping by continuing to train and by having: "a more rounded skills profile".

BCS chief executive David Clarke said: "The challenge for British professionals now is to gear up for the rapid globalisation of the IT services industry that is well underway. Traditional IT skills such as software development have become globally ubiquitous and a narrow focus on technical skills and their application will not help tomorrow's professionals. But all too often, IT staff can underestimate their business knowledge and expertise too."

The BCS says IT professionals in the UK need to move beyond purely technical skills and not to underestimate the technical skills of overseas workers.

The report is available for download here.

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