QBE moves 100 IT jobs to India

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QBE moves 100 IT jobs to India

Local team shrinks by a third.

Insurer QBE will move almost a third of its Australian IT workforce offshore after a disappointing 2012 financial year result.

The company told staff last week that it planned to move 100 IT jobs to India, including systems analysts, systems administrators, support staff and about 36 developers.

A further 35 IT workers face a change to their reporting lines or roles.

QBE employed a total of 338 IT workers in NSW, QLD, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia before the current round of job cuts.

As of February, the company employed about 700 staff in Manila and Bangalore.

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) described the IT job cuts as the latest in “QBE’s war on Australian workers”, highlighting an earlier announcement that QBE would move 700 non-IT roles to the Philippines.

QBE in February posted a $741 million 2012 profit, falling short of its earlier estimates. Chief executive officer John Neal said at the time the company would move about 700 jobs from Australia, the US and Europe to cheaper countries such as the Philippines and India.

The insurer told iTnews that the two job cut announcements were part of a broader, global operational transformation program, expected to cut $250 million in costs by 2015.

"There are a range of initiatives connected with the transformation program and we are working aith a number of external parties on these," a QBE Australia spokeswoman said.

"We are doing this to improve our service offerings and reduce operating costs to sustainable levels.

"Simplification, standardisation and ongoing operational excellence are essential if we are to remain competitive and if insurance is to be affordable for the community."

FSU spokeswoman Leanne Shingles told iTnews the union was working with QBE to secure redeployment or retraining for affected workers.

“The ultimate goal for us is to keep these people in work in the finance sector, preferably in QBE,” she said.

“But our concern is … what happens to the next generation of IT workers in Australia [if jobs are permanently offshored]?”

Australian firms have relied increasingly on captive or outsourced offshore teams for IT development and support in recent years.

ANZ Group employs some 4000 IT workers in Australia and 800 in New Zealand, and has grown its Bangalore IT team from 1500 to 2000 in the past three years.

Zurich Australia has also moved to establish an offshore IT capability, recruiting 40 technologists in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia late last year.

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