back to article Jobless Brits face influx of foreign IT workers

Small business organisation the British Chamber of Commerce has increased its predicted unemployment figures - it expects 3.2m people in the UK to be looking for work in the second half of next year - or just over ten per cent of the workforce. The BCC said the situation for small business had grown significantly worse than …


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  1. Ray


    "Swain predicted more entry level jobs would be offshored in 2009"

    i wrote a big rant about government blah blah blah but frankly, whatever i could have written here would just sound tired. i'm grateful to still be employed and i feel for the would-be hard working kids trying to make a start of it.

  2. Daniel Garcia
    Thumb Down

    ALERT CITIZEN:any stat...

    refering how many foreing people are "stealing" Jobs in Uk should come with the comparative how many UK people are doing the same in foreing countries.

    "British job for british worker" is tabloid-populism for the mindless masses.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Richard
    Thumb Down

    Fuck this, I'm off to Poland

    I've been out of work for the last ten months and it just gets more and more gloomy. I'm worried about losing my home, I'm going round and round in circles trying to find work, chasing recruitment agencies who never return my calls, many of whom I suspect are advertising non-existent roles.

    Total waste of time, I feel like I'm fiddling while Rome burns. I suppose the safest job to have at the moment is with the DWP, must get my CV off....

  5. abigsmurf
    Paris Hilton

    Hard enough to get into the job market

    More entry level jobs going overseas? Super!

    It was already getting bad with £14K 'office junior' type web positions that required a years experience and a high level of knowledge in 10 different languages and an obscure custom built CMS.

    Going to be great 10 years down the line when the skilled people moving into better paying jobs and these companies find there is no one even approaching the level of skill they needed because graduates never got that first IT job and switched career into generic office work where their skills went to waste..

    Pic is the future generation of coders.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think this sums it up nicely

  7. BlueGreen

    @Daniel Garcia

    Damn right.

    I expect to earn my job. If someone can do it better then they should get it, regardless of race/skin/language/country of origin/etc.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @ Richard

    "I'm going round and round in circles trying to find work, chasing recruitment agencies who never return my calls, many of whom I suspect are advertising non-existent roles."

    Too true, recruitment agencies are a complete waste of time and mostly staffed by t0ssers to boot. I found that out whilst redundant for a couple of months in 2004. CV farming is all they seem to want to do - God forbid they have to do some REAL work & find someone a job from time to time.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    recruitment ?!

    whilst i dont like the idea of giving a middle man lots of money for not doing anything really.

    I do find them usefull for finding work !

    @ Richard

    Go do something else in the meantime contract delivery driver or something !!

    Its better than loosing your house

  10. Martyn


    refering how many foreign people are "stealing" Jobs in Uk should come with the comparative how many UK people are doing the same in foreing countries.

    its a damm site more than brits are able to get in other countries. most of the other places in europe actually look after their own people, offering them the work first.

    go. its what most people want these job stealing buggers to do

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @AC Monday 9th March 2009 12:51 GMT


    We'll all be working for the Elbonians soon.

  12. Mycho Silver badge

    This is what happens

    When the likes of the BCS keep insisting that you need to make more IT workers.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Careful Now.

    I agree with Daniel, you have to balance incoming workers, with our own people working abroad, protectionism breads protectionism. However it is also the case in many IT companies that commodity jobs, such as programming are tending to be off-shored, so much so that the only entry level jobs in some companies are on projects related to defence and security.

    I'm not worried about the short term, but in the long term who's going to be there to replace me when I retire, defence & government are cyclical, so who's going to go into a job that's likely to see them in work 50% of the time.

    The pressure is always to cut costs, and the IT companies are pressuring the government to allow more and more outsourcing of government work, not because it needs to be or should be, but because it is allegedly more profitable for them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Martyn

    Re: "refering how many foreign people are "stealing" Jobs in Uk should come with the comparative how many UK people are doing the same in foreing countries. its a damm site more than brits are able to get in other countries. most of the other places in europe actually look after their own people, offering them the work first."

    Quote your figures and source. Or did you just make that up in your head because it's what you want to believe?

  15. Vince Lewis

    because it works so well for the public sector

    "Swain called for a requirement for firms to advertise such internal jobs to UK candidates before offering them to foreign staff"

    This is a requirement for the public sector, all jobs must be advertised even if they've already got a candidate lined up.

    All what happens is the NHS/School/whatever has to waste money on advertising a job that a dozen people will apply for with no hope of getting.

  16. Richard


    I've just been doing some interesting research. A position in the wireless sector was advertised by one of the larger recruitment agencies and mentioned the village that the position was based in. I appled last week, followed up with a call which wasn't returned and saw today that the post was no longer being advertised. Not rocket science to work out who the company was, phoned them and was told that they haven't recruited in 12 months.

    I've been smelling rats for a while and will normally call an agent to check if a position is available before making the effort to tailor my CV (tailor, not lie!) and write a covering letter only to hear nothing back.

    I'm am working on plan B - my OH works and we have some slack at the moment. I've put a non-tech CV together and have an interview lined up later this week - not driving, but equally non-technical.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC - Re Martyn

    It doesn't deal specifically with IT but you wanted figures.

    "The number of UK nationals working in other EU countries is approximately 286,000 as against some 1,172,000 workers born in the EU currently working in the UK. The number of EU nationals working here is just over one million (a smaller number as some EU nationals have now acquired British nationality."

    from here:

  18. Arclight


    for the usual 'foriegn workers work harder' bull from some safe and secure in their job. What that actually means is "foriegn workers are willing to work for less". A labour minister even said on radio that foriegn workers are good for the economy because "they work for less, which keeps wages down, and is good for big busines". I might be wrong, but I thought Labour was supposed to be the party for the workers?

  19. James Draycott

    First Hand Experiance

    Like many others I expect I have experianced the recline in IT jobs, having spent 8 years at the same company, and three and a half of those in the IT sector when it came to outsourcing the IT Infrastructre I was one of the ones who was made redundant. Before this happened I have spent 6 months working for the outsourcer after a TUPE transfer. The firm a well known IT company, also known for their involvement with Jaguar and other car firms in the UK, had a good team offshore and some of the skills that they brought to the business were good, very good.

    While the information and resources that a "business" will gain from this is formidable these outsource companies have thousands of people working for them, whats wrong with not thinking about money in the here and now. These companies come in showing that they can save money here and there, and offer support 24/7 but businesses need to think of the greater impact. Eventually these business relationships will end, and IT will be brought back in house, and when that happens people will have to be recruited and trained. Only thing being that IT will have spent so long with the reputation of that of an outsourced industry that there will be no fresh new people entering the industry from a young age.

    This is going to lead to a lack of skills and businesses will struggle to recruit. Why cant businesses identify what the skills they need are and start training their current UK people, or even take on more UK IT Staff who are currently out of work, rather then just shipping it all out.

    In the long run you have better trained people and you have less people out of work, lower unemployment and an all round happier industry. The country might be in recession at the moment but its a temporary thing, we are using a prit stick to fix a problem in the here and now, when we should be using superglue for a fix for the next 10 plus years.

  20. Andy Bright


    I got my revenge by getting a low-paid, entry level IT job overseas. Okay it was in the US, but it sort of matches. They think of Europe as a 3rd World hole, which I've always found funny in a so-called western country that doesn't even offer it's citizens national healthcare.

    I remember pissing myself laughing when I found they still use copper to communicate. When you get to my age it's difficult to remember how to work technology that old.

    The really funny part is so many countries keep pouring investment money into the black hole they call the US economy, simply unaware how fucked up and archaic most of the country really is.

  21. paul

    gloabal economy

    Its all very confusing. If people are out of work , surely they would take a pay cut to get some money rather than nothing?

    So therefore - why is overseas labour cheaper? Its not like the UK has masses of labour protecting laws making them more expensive (look at germany holland france).

    @Arclight - you got it spot on.

    Overseas labour is less competitive due to the language barriers , social barriers , educational differences , etc etc. But the CEOs (in their infinite wisdom) just see the salary checks - not the 10 people looking after them explaning every little thing to them. Although this is only a temporary barrier and over time decreases.

    At our small business we have out sourced a little work to Ukraine, very cheap.Didn't save us much as we didn't trust the code and spent a long time looking over it finding the odd problem.

  22. Eduard Coli
    Gates Horns

    Same BS - Different BS

    Nice to see that the US is not the only country where corrupt politicians take "campaign contributions" from foreign agencies and multinationals to undercut their fellow countrymen.

    Oh and Evil Bill is here to make sure the US raises/eliminates it's visa cap.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame the US Again

    How did I know this would all turn out to be the fault of the US? ---- How boring and predicatable

  24. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    This isn't an issue of protectionism but IT survival...

    "She said 80 per cent of non-EU IT staff coming to the UK were doing so on intra-company transfers. Swain called for a requirement for firms to advertise such internal jobs to UK candidates before offering them to foreign staff."

    Essentially, what this is saying is that you have a multi-national company like IBM which will land a large contract and what they can't offshore, they'll onshore the workers. If you don't like IBM, you have Accenture and half a dozen other companies doing the same thing.

    I'm all for a globalized workforce, however that's not the case. You're not bringing over someone from Germany who's an SAP wiz. You're bringing over some chap from a third world country that has been through a 10 week wonder course on a specific topic.

    In short, the entire IT world on both sides of the pond are screwed up.

    And its only going to get worse until it can get better.

  25. Trevor

    @ Gumby

    "And its only going to get worse until it can get better."

    it will get to the point where the progression from junior roles to senior roles in IT will be broken because it's easy to pay someone peanuts who can do a very narrow role now rather than training someone up over years to grow with a business.

    personally I think the "... it can get better" bit might be a bit optimistic. It wont happen over night, it'll be a long drawn out death of IT being a meaningful career in UK

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Start a "Real BCS"

    Here's an idea for some of you out of work IT gurus: found an alternative professional body to the BCS which actually pressures the industry and our government to keep British IT jobs at all levels. Then we can vote with our memberships and join up. Quite why the BCS don't do this seems very odd, because the loss of British IT jobs will result in them losing members long term.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thin as...

    The most telling comment from my point of view is Trevor's 'pay someone peanuts who can do a very narrow role now'. N-a-r-r-o-w.... i.e. knows one thing only. I've got 27 years IT experience, from mainframes, to network/voice/mobile, to EX2003, blades, SAN, Citrix, etc ... the last 6 as infrastructure architect - who wants to know now? No-one. Been struggling to get back into a gig as perm/contract/2-week temp since last October, so have gone the other way - am now on my last two months re-training as an electrician, so will be looking to go back downunder ASAP as a sparky... the only lament* I have is, why the fuck is anyone wanting to get into IT now, since its going the way of golden arches (as ubiquitous as a Big Mac, and about as long-lasting)... do you want fries with your MOSS 2012 sir? ... oh yeah: how many recently-graduated bootcamp MSCE's can drill down into the register and locate a fault/fix it - answer: none - its easier to rebuild the OS.

    *not quite true: far more bitter about having to give up the intellectual/technical challenge of pulling an application/infrastructure around instead of watching is disappear up its own arse

    ... wish you all out the there the very best in your endeavours; to keep your IT job, or to get back into one...

  28. adifferentbob


    Trevor is right - IT as a career in the UK is screwed. All the vested interests are in shipping the work elsewhere. If you aren't already planning for a career in something else you need to be.It ain't going to get better.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my employer did it

    My employer did this: took on some IT staff from India last year, then at the start of this year, started laying off staff, but only the British people have been laid off.

    Nice, huh. Nothing we can do about it either. Employment legislation stinks.

    You'd have thought they'd send the Indians packing..nope..we Brits suffer.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't blame the BCS. I think even if they did try to lobby the government, it's quite clear from all the years experience we have with this f**ng labour government, they don't listen, they don't care, they really couldn't give a monkeys, and it's not just the IT profession, it's everything, other industry sectors. And not just jobs, everything from road pricing to databases, to airport expansion, they're not interested in listening.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "They think of Europe as a 3rd World hole, which I've always found funny in a so-called western country that doesn't even offer it's citizens national healthcare."

    Yeah, that's just American arrogance, and leads to most of the world hating them. Watch it kick off in Pakistan in the coming months when the Yanks display their arrogance towards the Taliban in the tribal areas of it kick off.

    Copper: damn sight easier to repair than fibre!

    There was a tv programme about the net infrastructure in New York, it's terrible, way behind. More so than the UK.

  32. Jean-Paul

    Got to get better

    As a foreign national myself it is really simple, if you want a job you need to be the best suited for the job. You need to have the right experience, skill set and attitude. And sometimes Nationality does come into it as I am not allowed to do certain job.

    Anyway be the best at what you can do for the right price in the market, then you won't have to fear the competition...If you are not good enough, maybe it is time for a career change...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Do you mean 'MCSE'? And what is the 'register'?

    MCP Graduate.

  34. Chris Reynolds


    @AC: retraining as an electrician and heading downunder may not provide a short-term fix. Living in Queensland, the headlines are full of stories of tradespeople being laid off as the boom times turn to recession. Before you go to the massive expense of moving to the other side of the world, make sure you have a job to come to. The boom times are over in Australia.

    In short, retraining might seem like a way out of the problem but make sure that you are going into an area that has real potential. At the time being, I'd say there's few professions that are secure.

    I've given up IT work and swapped places with my wife. She's a full-time, highly qualified nurse. Her career is more assured than mine. I now look after the kids full time. It's not that much different to working in IT some of the time :)

    Once the recession is over (and it will end) my kids should be in school and I'll take a fresh look at where people are hiring before retraining in whatever works.

  35. Paul Johnston

    Same old stuff

    Does anyone think that "scrap planned increases in National Insurance Contributions, freeze the national minimum wage and cut regulations for businesses." Will result in result in more 'local jobs for local people'?

    My guess is it would allow higher paid staff to be replaced by lower paid staff??

    This is a case of using jingoism to allow more profits. Do you seriously think employers will pay higher wages so they can employ locals?

    Must agree 100% with Jean-Paul however.

    I was made redundant from the Merchant Navy due to outsourcing in the early eighties.

    No point in whinging, just do something, retrain, move industries whatever, just do something .

  36. Alan Fisher


    The main reason foreign workers get jobs in the uk or those which were formally uk based, and people from the uk don't seem to be doing the same is simple;

    People in the UK tend to not speak a second language.

    It's simple, if more UK people who were technically minded bothered to learn foreign languages, companies would not need to go abroad/seek foreigners to do the work AND UK citizens could take advantage of the EU Right to Work thing and get jobs in other countries, non?

  37. Roger Heathcote


    "You'd have thought they'd send the Indians packing..nope..we Brits suffer."

    YEah we have to suffer jingoist idiots like you. They are clearly better value for money right now so if you're angry you should be angry about _that_ and then ask yourself why. Is it because the government won't step in and implement an employment policy based on racial profiling to protect you? Or is it because preventing people from moving around our planet freely while simultaneously allowing big capital unfettered instantaneous transit creates and sustains the enormous market distortions responsible for the stark differences in the cost of manpower across the globe?

    At the end of the day we are all people and I have no problem with anyone from Europe getting a job in Britain as long as I'm free to do the same in Europe. If your skills don't pay the bills these days it's not the state's responsibility to subsidize you with my tax money which is what almost all protectionism boils down to in the end.

  38. Danny Silver badge

    Cheaper by the half dozen

    I was replaced in my last contract by six degree educated Indian MCSEs. Their combined wage was less than mine, meaning their individual wage was less than the national minimum wage. So how to compete against someone better qualified who earns less than the minimum I can work for?

    I think we should outsource parliament. Indian MPs earn £1300 pa, we should get 600 odd of them across here and see how the local politicos like competing for their jobs.

  39. Anonymous Coward


    IT insourced - service to the best level resources allow (if properly managed)

    IT outsourced - minimum service for maximum recompense for the benefit of the shareholders.

    Overseas employees - Has anyone met one who can speak intelligible English?

  40. TimNevins



    Great isn't it?

    Free markets and competition and all that.

    Everyone bangs on about how wonderful it is.

    However as soon as a company exercises that 'right' by outsourcing everything(steel,textiles,service economy,IT and now even journalism!) then all of a sudden everyone wants to go all commie and protectionist, begging the State to intervene to prevent the outflow of jobs.

    What's up with that?

    I'll get my 'Made in Malaysia' coat...

  41. Robin

    @ @Jim (AC):

    "Overseas employees - Has anyone met one who can speak intelligible English?"

    UK based employees - Has anyone noticed how poor their German, French, Spanish or Italian is??

    Fact is most foreigners speak good enough English to get a job in England. Most Englanders speak no foreign language whatsoever. Hence: 1m foreigners working here. 200k Englanders working abroad (stats from a post above).

    But TimNevins got it right: The real problem is Capitalism and shareholders. Bank A makes 10bn profit by investing in dodgy US properties. Thus Bank B must invest in dodgy US properties in order to appease its shareholders. Bank A goes bust because said dodgy properties are worthless. Bank B goes bust for same reason.

    Likewise IT Co. A makes extra 100m profit by offfshoring junior roles. IT Co. B must follow suit or be destroyed by shareholders selling out.

  42. Gerardo Korndorffer
    Paris Hilton

    crisis? what does that actually mean? :P

    tsk tsk, some are too "bit minded"'s not just 0 or 1...

    moving some business abroad may or may be not a good idea depending on what you are moving overseas and your requirements

    Based on my experience I'd say that working with people abroad who are not on your same time region is going to be costly and will be a time consuming experience. Expect a much slower pace for development...if it doesn't matter then it's alright to outsource overseas, it may be worth it.

    Otherwise it's just following a trend because they (senior directors) want to follow the trend to appease stake holders and the company is bound to lose money...only there are no metrics to calculate the amount of money lost as it just seems that it is the locals who are losing time and risking the outcome of the project.

    Remember that by default executives only look after their own interests, expect them thus not to care about the company. Unfortunately a caring executive is usually something from the past and will not heed your warnings about outsourcing core applications if it apparently saves some money (it may actuallly be far more costly as the process transfer is going to be costly and the return value may be reduced, i.e. how about checking what they are doing 3000Kms away? lol)

    Paris because she knows how to make money

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err, could this be why Indians are so popular

    If you can't beat em, join em. Last year, I worked for an Indian outsourcing company that manages a number of databases for a well known provider of telephony services that shall remain nameless.

    The telephone company is laying off British staff and replacing them with Indian contractors as fast as it can print the P45s. The main reason for this is that the outsourcing company is granted a blanket tax dispensation by HMRC. The Indian contractors pay no tax or national insurance in the UK, although they are resident here for years. So much for IR35! So much for the 90 day rule.

    The outsourcing company is based in India so it pays no UK corporation tax or employers national insurance. Better still, it's based in an Indian Special Economic Zone so it pays no Indian tax either. Of course, they can also forget about maternity pay, paid leave, minimum wage, working time directive etc etc.

    For a given level of take home pay, it's about 40% cheaper to employ an Indian than to employ a Brit.

    Forget advertising jobs in the UK before hiring foreign workers. UK staff in post are being made redundant purely so 'tax free' foreigners can be brought in to replace them. I expect it gives Gordon a warm feeling about 'lifting people out of poverty'.

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