The impact of offshore outsourcing on UK jobs has been overstated, according to industry analysts.
A report released today by independent market analyst Datamonitor predicts that only five per cent of an estimated 4.78 million agent positions worldwide will be located offshore by 2007.
The study, Global Offshore Call Centre Outsourcing: Who will be the next India, examined the number of offshore agent positions in 22 countries through to 2007 and predicts that 241,100 agent positions will be located offshore in 2007.
That number represents five per cent of the total global call centre market, which will have grown to 4.78 million agent positions by 2007.
"The focus has shifted towards selling outsourcing rather than selling 'offshore'," said Ryan Powell, analyst at Datamonitor and author of the report.
"Once firms have outsourced to a third party, it becomes much more acceptable to move that work offshore.
"The numbers and analysis help to demystify the threat that offshore poses to domestic jobs."
The analyst found that Mexico, South Africa and Malaysia are now among the leading offshore locations.
These countries are growing in stature at the expense of India and the Philippines, whose share of the offshore market will drop to 64 per cent in 2007 compared to 70 per cent in 2002.
Datamonitor has dismissed claims that companies are rebelling against outsourcing to foreign shores because of agents' accents, but conceded that the ability to relate to consumers on a cultural level is important.
"As more countries offer offshore outsourcing, anecdotal evidence of bad call centre experiences will continue to appear in the media," said Powell.
"But the real issue concerns the agents' ability to relate to the consumer on a cultural level."
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