Back office IT jobs in North America and Europe may be in danger of disappearing over the next four years, according to a report by the Hackett Group. The research firm forecasts that nearly half of the 3.1 million such tech jobs in place in 2002 will be gone by 2017 due to cheaper labor costs offshore and a slowing domestic market. Specifically, only 1.6 million will be left.
IT work that can be done remotely is at the greatest risk of moving offshore, says Erik Dorr, the Hackett Group’s Senior Enterprise Research Director. He pointed to positions like tech support, which can be done via telephone, or computer programming, where code can easily be transmitted from one country to another. “The lower type of commodity skills are suitable for global distribution,” he says.
This matches up with Princeton University Professor Alan Blinder’s 2007 examination of IT jobs most at risk of offshoring. Among the top five were Programmers, Data Entry Keyers and Computer/Information Scientists.