80,000 jobs gone offshore, 1 million may follow: report

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80,000 jobs gone offshore, 1 million may follow: report

A new study has shown 80,000 administrative services jobs have been lost offshore since 2008, with another 6000 financial services jobs also gone — and possibly 1 million more to follow.

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A new study has shown 80,000 administrative services jobs have been lost offshore since 2008, with another 6000 financial services jobs also gone — and possibly 1 million more to follow.

The report has confirmed business off-shoring practices are costing Australia betwen 20,000 and 25,000 administrative and financial services jobs every year.
 
The report, Off-shore and Off Work prepared for the Finance Sector Union (FSU) and the Australian Services Union (ASU) by the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR), confirms that 2008 estimates of the cost of job off-shoring are well on track to being realised.

Since 2008, 80,000 private sector professional and administrative services jobs, plus over 6000 jobs in the financial  services sector, have been lost off-shore.

The unions say that despite this massive outflow, the potential for job-offshoring is actually increasing.

1 million jobs may go
 
The report said the trend could send between 700,000 and 1 million jobs overseas in the next three decades, not just to lower cost countries like India and the Philippines but to advanced economies such as the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, which are investing in specialised skills.

‘The window to build a place in the global industry is closing as other players occupy strategic positions,’ it said.
 
‘There is a danger facing Australia now that not only will we fail to take a role in the global market but that we will de-skill our workforce by moving key parts of the service sector off-shore.’

After the finance sector, with 24% of jobs ‘at risk’ of being offshored, 20% of professional, scientific and technical services were similarly at risk. The same proportion of information, media and telecommunications jobs are also at risk.

‘The potential for a range of functions to be undertaken remotely with existing or emerging technology is evident in all occupations listed,’ the report said.

Key points
 
Key points from the report include:
  • Forecasts from the 2008 study are on track to be realised in the absence of policy intervention.
  • More than 80,000 service sector jobs have moved offshore since previous report.
  • With more than 20,000 jobs moving offshore each year, the expectation is for between 700,000 and 1 million jobs to move off-shore in the next three decades.
  • Action is needed to address service sector off-shoring crisis and boost competitive position of Australian service industries.
In presenting the report, the FSU and ASU have called on government to defend Australia’s professional services jobs through:
  • developing a services sector industry plan
  • reviewing the use of tax incentives and disincentives to retain Australian jobs and competencies
  • introducing ‘Right to Know’ legislation to allow consumers to find out where services are provided from and where their personal data is stored
  • developing a government procurement policy to only contract services to business with transparent supply chains and ethical employment practices.
Wake-up call
 
The unions say the refreshed report is a wake-up call to government.

‘This is what happens without intervention in this sector: 80,000 skilled Australian service jobs lost offshore in four Years,’ said ASU assistant national secretary Linda White.

‘We’re losing jobs, losing skills, losing our capacity to participate in the services economy.’

‘Without government regulation, the professional office-based jobs relied upon by millions of Australians are at serious risk.’

FSU national secretary Leon Carter said employers in the finance sector are ‘engaged in a race to the bottom in order to cut costs, at a time when they are more profitable than ever before’.

‘And it’s a race that no one wins,’ he said.
 
‘Finance workers, their customers and the communities they serve would prefer that these companies invest in the communities they derive their profits from, and keep jobs, skills and data here in Australia.’
 
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