NBN won't help Aussie IT offshoring woes

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NBN won't help Aussie IT offshoring woes

Over 20,000 services jobs a year sent overseas.

The National Broadband Network could exacerbate the offshoring of ICT and other services-oriented jobs, according to a revised National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) analysis.

The analysis (pdf), which revises a 2008 study commissioned by the services unions of Australia, found over 20,000 services jobs heading offshore every year.

Although the report did not specifically name the NBN, it fingered fast broadband as a factor that could speed up the trend to offshore Australian jobs.

"In the longer term, the potential for offshoring will increase because the speed, capability and coverage of broadband infrastructure will steadily improve and international service centres will continue to develop scale and skills that provide global competitive advantage," the NIEIR noted.

"...Post-1980s information and communications technology increasingly allowed more and more services to be provided remotely from the enterprise's place of location.

"As the ICT revolution has progressed, the potential for this has increased and over the next decade the potential for offshoring will again increase significantly once a national high speed broadband network is in place."

The original 2008 study (pdf) predicted that ICT workers would be worst hit by offshoring. That focus remained in the 2012 update.

Software and applications programmers remained under a cloud, with about 19,324 jobs "at risk" of being offshored in the next 20 to 30 years.

NIEIR singled out the finance and insurance sector as one area that was particularly risky for Australian coders.

About 7809 ICT support technicians, 5692 ICT managers, 4092 ICT business and systems analysts, 3469 database, sysadmins and security specialists, and 3440 network professionals were also deemed to be "at risk" by the NIEIR.

The unions that commissioned the analysis called for Federal Government intervention, branding the analysis a "wake-up call".

"Without government regulation, the professional office-based jobs relied upon by millions of Australians are at serious risk," ASU assistant national secretary Linda White said.

FSU national secretary Leon Carter said employers in the finance sector "are engaged in a race to the bottom in order to cut costs, at a time when they are more profitable than ever before".

"And it's a race that no one wins," he said.

The unions called for the development of a services sector industry plan, a review of tax incentives, and the introduction of 'Right to Know' legislation "to allow consumers to find out where services are provided from and where their personal data is stored".

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