European firms adopt IT to outsource their workload

Half
of all European employers are using information and communication technologies
to perform work at a distance, acc- ording to research by the Institute for
Employment Studies.

This
means 27 million of the 55 million organisations in Europe are already practising
e-work.

The
research also shows that 43 per cent of employers use some form of
e-outsourcing –  importing business
services from subcontractors. One employer in 20 uses electronically linked
subcontractors in another country.

Of
the 7,000 organisations surveyed as part of the IES Emergence project, 15 per
cent have an outsourced call centre, and in two-thirds of these cases there is
a direct telecommunications link to the main office.

But
fully home-based teleworking is still comparatively rare – practised by only
1.4 per cent of employers. One in 10 uses new technology to allow staff to move
from one location to another, or alternate between home and office. A similar
proportion uses freelancers who send work electronically.

Across
Europe, more than 14 million businesses (26 per cent) are already involved in
supplying information-based services using new technologies.

Ursula
Huws, director of the IES Emergence Project, said, “The outlines of the
information economy in Europe are starting to appear. Information and
communication technologies open up new choices for employers: to import the
people or to export the work. It looks as though substantial numbers are
choosing to adopt e-work.

“We
are seeing the emergence of a knowledge sector – already comprising some 14
million businesses in Europe – which has arisen to supply the new information
services.”

The
EC-funded research covered more than 7,000 organisations in 15 EU countries,
plus Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

By
Mike Broad

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