Almost a third of UK jobs could move overseas permanently as more than 80% of UK multinationals consider moving operations abroad. This could permanently damage the UK job market and economy, according to research.
The UK is becoming less competitive in the labour market because of a shortage of skills as well as high taxes and wages, says Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.
The recession has forced large companies to re-examine the UK as a location to run their businesses.
The research, based on interviews with 200 UK multinationals. revealed the leaders of these firms think there is potential for about a third of their UK jobs to be transferred to lower-cost economies by 2015.
"The recession has prompted our largest companies to re-examine the UK as a business location in terms of skills, cost and infrastructure. Globalisation is enabling them to consider unprecedented levels of offshoring across all aspects of their business, which could result in permanent damage to the UK job market and economy," said David Stern, UK managing partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.
According to the research, it is not only non-core business functions that could be offshored. The survey found that 13% have already got their head offices outside the UK and another 38% are considering following suit.
More than half of firms said they have already moved, or are considering moving, key business functions such as customer service (64%), R&D (61%) and sales management (59%) abroad.