Public opposition to offshoring grows

Public opposition to offshoring grows

Public antipathy to offshore outsourcing continues to grow in Britain with one in three adults (32%) believing that UK companies should be forced to bring offshored jobs back home, according to a survey released by Deloitte.

Just four per cent of the 2044 UK adults surveyed by YouGov support the continuation of offshoring, while a massive 82% say that enough jobs have moved offshore already.

Deloitte says public attitudes towards offshoring have become more negative since an earlier survey conducted in January that showed that 22% of respondents thought UK companies should be forced to bring jobs back. In January 29% of respondents said they could see the advantages of offshoring, or even thought it was a good thing, compared with just 13% now.

David Owen, consulting partner at Deloitte, says: "There are clearly personal concerns over job security behind the negative attitudes to offshoring and our own insights suggests we can expect massive increase in the financial services sector alone."

Owen says growing awareness of the increased mobility of both resource and labour is causing anxiety, with 17% of respondents seeing offshoring as a threat to their own jobs. A further 25% feel the increasing number of workers migrating to the UK is their biggest threat.

"The UK needs to be in a position to benefit from operations moving offshore, rather than be threatened," says Owen. "In the financial services sector, for example, there is a huge amount of reinvestment of the cost saving made through offshoring to develop the high value end of the business and this should encourage the UK public to feel more optimistic."

Despite a public backlash against offshoring many European banks - such as Abbey and Lloyds TSB in the UK - have extensive offshore facilities in India and other European financial firms are also establishing or extending offshore centres.

However earlier this year energy supplier Powergen said it was closing down its call centre operations in India and bringing the jobs back to the UK following complaints from customers.

Banks in Australia have also faced criticism over offshoring initiatives. Earlier this month Westpac shelved plans to shift hundreds of back office jobs from Sydney to an offshore centre in India following a sustained public backlash against the plans and pressure from the New South Wales government to keep the job in Australia.

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