As many as one-in-four traditional IT jobs will have shifted from developed countries to low-cost offshore centres by 2010, according to forecasts from consultancy Gartner.
The prediction comes as the growth of offshoring sparks a political backlash against job losses in developed economies. While Gartner expects a near-term slowdown due to negative publicity and the first spate of failures among trend-setting companies, the firm nonetheless forecasts that by 2005, 30% of European businesses will include offshoring as a key element in their strategic planning.
Ian Marriott of Gartner, says: "The potential cost advantages are so persuasive that companies that don't consider it seriously risk doing their shareholders a disservice. Businesses will also be put at risk due to loss of competitive advantage and inability to focus on growth through innovation."
In Western Europe, British firms are most likely to outsource work, followed by Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and then France and Italy.
India stands to be the prime beneficary of the trend, with Russia and China also in line to reap the rewards. Other contenders include Malaysia, Poland, the Baltic States and the Czech Republic.