Will Back Office IT Jobs Disappear?

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.

Tech SupportIT 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.

17 Responses to “Will Back Office IT Jobs Disappear?”

  1. jelabarre

    But yet we see other pundits telling us that offshoring has been a failed experiment, and that jobs are moving *back* to the USA. I guess it all depends on what today’s Blog Roulette wheel spin says the article should be proving.

  2. We all know how much customers look forward to calling tech support and listening to people who speak with a thick Indian accent that cane mostly not be understood and equally being unable to make the support _specialist_ understand just what the problem is.

    As for offshore workers writing program code, I just can’t imagine that being nearly as successful as tech support. Writing software can be very erm, cultural. By cultural, I mean that if you are not deeply ingrained in the target culture aka the United States, you many not have enough of an inkling on how the software is going to get used and write the code appropriately.

    Also, name that really big, popular, successful software product line that has been produced by a 3rd world country. You can’t! I am surprised!

      • There are a great many shops that don’t have Indians on-staff in any way whatsoever. For one thing not every company will spend the money to sponsor an H1B, or utilize an Indian company onshore or offshore for any part of the project. I’m reasonable certain that the Apple II was a successful product that was developed without the aid of an India. Also the pre-1980 Microsoft compilers, which were written by Bill Gates and an associate together in an Albuquerque motel room were not considered unsuccessful. Expensive, perhaps. But successful.

        • A good idea would be to let some “US citizen” IT workers, work from home, even if it meant lowering salaries. I know a lot of IT workers including myself, that would rather work from home than being laid off.

          • I’d be willing to work from home and/or work at a reduced salary. Sure would beat begging for handouts from family members, and eating the near-spoiled fresh produce from the local food bank.

        • Actually, back in the 1980’s and 1990’s in the USA there were few if any Indians in IT period. Although the Indians were building their IT power house in their homeland. IT was doing fine without them ?

  3. Paul Mifsud

    Network Network Network! I need a job at home in the Industrial Technology infrastructure.
    CADAM, CAD, JAVA, Microsoft, Finance, Debits and Credits. Need some help, I am a Veteran and a handicapped individual. Thank you Paul L. Mifsud

  4. Programming as “The lower type of commodity skills”??? I’d hate to see what kind of terrible lower type of commodity software comes from his company. What are they called again–the Hack-it Group?

  5. Outsourced Sam

    The good news is your (D) Senate is pushing for another 100,000 H1B ‘super skilled workers’ to be ‘on-shored’ and ‘in-sourced’ so they can have both cheap labor and overcome the time zone issues.

  6. Outsourced Sam

    “code can easily be transmitted from one country to another”

    All things can be ‘transmitted from one country to another’ such as management, especially at the executive level and government.

    We should go after REAL cost savings and outsource our government and management.

  7. The only IT jobs that will be safe in the next 10 years will probably be the IT government jobs. There is not al lot of sympathy for IT workers, never has been. Most people think they make way too much money and/or are too smart for themselves. That is why the only people complaining about the IT outsourcing trend, are IT workers themselves.