Offshoring fears recede as tide turns on outsourcing

The attitude towards offshoring has changed dramatically in the past two years, according to the chief executive of Norwich Union’s offshore operations.

Sean Egan, who was responsible for offshoring the UK’s largest insurer’s operations to India in 2003, told Personnel Today that offshoring had become increasingly accepted by employers and employees alike.

Egan admitted that there were initial concerns the employer brand would be compromised, but he said the boost to recruitment and improved risk mitigation made the move worthwhile.

“There’s very little disparity between the UK and India now,” he said.

“We knew we could not recruit quickly enough in the UK to meet our ambitious growth strategy. India has a very stable economy and, from a disaster recovery point of view, it’s quite safe because of its sheer size.”

Egan also pointed out that there was a largely untapped workforce in India, with around two million English-speaking, educated graduates looking for work.

“People make the assumption that there are lots of jobs out there, but that’s not really the case,” he said. “There are jobs for engineers and doctors, but there’s no milk round for the service industry. Many Indian graduates have quite limited options.”

Professional services firm Deloitte has predicted the offshoring trend will surge over the next few years. A new survey estimates up to 180,000 UK financial services jobs will be outsourced by 2010. India is the most popular destination, followed closely by South Africa, China and Singapore.

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