Offshoring behind UK tech-labour divide

Due to offshoring, the proportion of UK software-development jobs is falling while management roles are increasing, a study has claimed
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

Offshoring is creating a divide in the UK technology industry by reducing the proportion of mid-level software-development jobs available in favour of higher-level management roles, research has claimed.

A report by IT staffing company ReThink Recruitment has found that the proportion of jobs created in software development in the UK has fallen by six percent in the past year, from 34.3 percent of new IT jobs to 28.5 percent.

During the same period, the proportion of IT support jobs — which are often seen as at risk from offshoring — has fallen from 24 percent to 21.9 percent.

But the highest-paid IT work, such as consultancy and management, is taking up a larger proportion of IT jobs in the UK.

The research sampled around 30,000 new IT roles from ReThink's own job postings and a range of other online job boards and recruitment websites.

ReThink said this shows a global division in labour in IT, with the UK specialising in project management and consultancy, and developing countries involved in the more technical areas.

The demand for consultancy work is being fuelled by post-merger integration activity and a rise in public outsourcing, the research said.

ReThink Recruitment managing director Jon Butterfield said the fear that higher-value jobs could be offshored — rather than just help-desk roles — is having a major impact on the UK technology jobs market.

But Butterfield added that, when wages for software specialists in India hit 40 percent of those in the UK — potentially in five years — offshoring these jobs will stop making financial sense.

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