Global sourcing -- short-circuit or shot in the arm for Aussie IT?

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Gartner India slammed claims by a local recruitment firm that outsourcing offshore would strip IT jobs from Australia.

Gartner India slammed claims by a local recruitment firm that outsourcing offshore would strip IT jobs from Australia.

Local IT jobs would steadily decrease if Australia continued its trend of overseas outsourcing, Melbourne-based IT recruiter VTR Consulting has warned.

VTR claimed that the Australian IT industry was seeing a large-scale migration of jobs to less developed countries, such as India.

In a press release issued this week, VTR stated: "Although economic indicators point to a slow but visible recovery of the Australian IT sector, moves by many companies to increase outsourcing... is seriously undermining the recovery of our sector."

However Gartner India's vice president and research director, Partha Iyengar, said "global sourcing" would have a positive impact.

Iyengar said that currently only 1.5 percent of the IT services market in Australia was outsourced offshore.

"It's a drop in the bucket," he said. "We believe there really has been no systemic impact in Australian IT jobs, or IT services jobs."

In fact, said Iyengar, the trend towards global sourcing could benefit the local IT job market. Gartner had identified Australia as the only place in the world that was both a supply and a demand country for global sourcing. "Australia has a big opportunity to be a player in the global sourcing market," he said.

Phillip Mikolajewski, VTR's marketing manager, told InformationWeek, "the most dramatic impact [of outsourcing] will definitely be felt by our IT graduates."

Mikolajewski said that many jobs in large companies had been outsourced overseas, although he was unwilling to disclose company names or numbers of employees.

"It's tough at the moment. There's been a lot of jobs lost recently... [and] there's no job security," Mikolajewski said.

"[VTR is] inundated with CVs from desperate graduates and post-graduates who are simply unable to get a break."

He called on the corporate world and government to work together to keep jobs in Australia.

"The government should have some kind of subsidy for employers. The government needs to get together with the corporate sector... there needs to be some sort of financial assistance or tax relief," Mikolajewski said when asked about a solution.

But Iyengar said this kind of scare-mongering would not help the situation. "If the hype [from negative publicity about global sourcing] is not managed then fear may come to pass."

"Students need to see that there's still a bright future, Gartner has delivered recommendations to Australian Government as to how it can promote global sourcing as a positive thing.

"Although Australia may see lower end jobs moving offshore, it could lead to more high end positions -- such as project managers, system designers, and software architects -- being created in Australia," Iyengar said.

And as Australia was used more as a destination for offshoring by countries such as the US, it would in turn give rise to more IT employment, he said.

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