The international trend towards outsourcing IT-enabled services is benefiting the UK as foreign firms are increasingly offshoring in the UK.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics in its latest Labour Market Trends survey show that in spring 2005 UK employment in IT and call centre occupations stood at 1.05 million people – up 8.8% on the previous four years.
The increase in jobs in the sector compares with employment growth of 3.2% across the economy as a whole.
The survey found that 271,000 people were employed as ICT managers, 124,000 as software professionals and 276,000 as IT operations technicians.
The figures show no change in the level of “imports” of computer and other business services – through outsourcing away from the UK – as a percentage of output. Although outsourcing has increased, it has not increased more rapidly than output.
But export levels of computer services – where UK IT staff provide services to overseas firms that have outsourced to the UK – are higher than import levels, making the UK a net producer and exporter of services.
The survey also shows that the outsourcing trade in both directions is overwhelmingly with English-speaking countries, particularly Ireland.
Services outsourced from the UK to India are worth less than 40% of those outsourced to Ireland. A greater value of services is outsourced to both Australia and Canada than to India.