India is very likely to become an IT superpower by 2006, according Gartner who were recently quoted at a UK outsourcing conference. For many this may not seem a surprise, although the fact that Gartner believes this powershift in IT will occur so soon may raise a few eyebrows.
Whilst the UK has been slow to get onto the offshoring bandwagon the US has been slowly moving call-centres, back-office functions, and IT infrastructure to India over the past decade. Lured by the number of highly competent engineers that India produces every year, and coupled that with the fact that this english speaking workforce are cheap and have a hardworking and loyal work ethic second to none.
In the UK, there has definetely been a noticeable increase in high profiled announcements of companies striking deals to transfer callcentre and do BPO work in India. Driven by bottom line revenues, this shift, stategically makes sense since these sames companies also get the additional value of the talented IT market.
This of course, is all very depressing if you happen to be a skilled IT worker in the US or the UK, what and how should these workers should adapt is a tough question that i have been thinking about, and i simply don't really know where this is all going to take us. My feeling is that perhaps after 40-50 years of sustained growth in the western world we are seeing signs of a global balance. Try telling my younger cousins from India, who used to be in awe of the fact that i lived/worked in a foreign country, he doesn't feel like that anymore....
So, when the economy eventually picks up (assuming it doesn't suffer the fate of Japan's 10 year depression) things may be fine again, and we may forget about all those jobs that went abroad. Then again.
This time round we may need to bear in mind that the very countries that the UK and US are outsourcing to are expected to be creating much of the economic growth in the next 25 years. The question we must ask is with the loss of intellectual knowledge brought about through outsourcing these jobs may not come back. With the population in India (1.1Bn) and China (1.3Bn) accounting for one-third of the planet, both these countries have the fastest growing middle-class in south-east Asia that will need its time-free money-abundant lives filled.
And where will this leave us?
Will the U.K. become a nation of hedge fund managers and hairdressers? And will the U.S. simply continue in its preserve of Movies, Media, Military, and the high speed delivery of pizza. A laughing matter not.