The National Outsourcing Association (NOA) has called on the government to help make the UK a ‘global strategic hub for service delivery’ by 2020.
The NOA said that with the government’s backing, the UK could enjoy sizeable economic growth and a boost in national productivity by becoming an outsourcing heavyweight.
The not-for profit organisation, which represents outsourcing professionals and champions the global outsourcing industry, spelt out a five key areas that required immediate government action and urged David Cameron to take note.
“The UK government needs to drop its fixation with the manufacturing industry and recognise that we are living in the services economy,” said Kerry Hallard, CEO of the NOA. “We have a very real opportunity to become the global leader in this space and enjoy all the growth opportunities that come with it, but I fear we are losing ground to the very nations we outsource to: India, China and Poland being prime examples.”
The NOA said that the areas that required immediate focus included improved skills development at both national curriculum and higher education levels; less restrictive immigration policies; improved travel and telecommunications infrastructures; and vocal government support for the industry.
According to the Business Services Association, the UK possesses the second largest outsourcing market in the world, employing over three million individuals. The NOA also pointed that Her Majesty’s government just happens to outsource public services more than any other government on the planet – spending £120 billion per year. Despite this, the report says that government has neglected to give outsourcing the attention it deserves as a viable cash cow for the nation.
Hallard said that the pace of technological change was reshaping the industry.
“Robotic automation will replace the most basic transactional roles and the new battlegrounds will be digital excellence, process design, customer-centricity and strategic leadership - areas the UK already excels in,” she said.
“As a nation we are really good at delivering value-add services. The UK is now running a services trade surplus of 5%, with outsourcing making a significant contribution to UK GDP. But we need to keep improving - we need to let the world know we are committed to this industry and proud of our leadership role within it.”
The report comes at the same time as India’s largest IT services firm, Tata Consultancy Services, announced that it has partnered with the British Council to offer 1,000 UK graduate apprenticeships in its Innovation Labs and software development centres.
"As a technology partner to many large British businesses, we see their desire to exploit new and exciting opportunities presented by digital technologies,” said the CEO and MD of TCS, Natarajan Chandrasekaran. “However, all too often, our customers are unable to do this quickly as the UK talent pool needs knowledge and training in these new technologies"