The number of people in offshore locations delivering software and IT services (S/ITS) to the UK will double to over 130,000 in the coming three years, according to a new study by Ovum on global sourcing. Rather than fight this trend, Ovum advises UK firms to focus on business-centric IT skills, as these will be critical to the success of both the IT sector and the wider UK economy.

Based on research conducted with vendors accounting for more than half of the UK S/ITS market, the report highlights a 6% fall in the number of UK-based S/ITS staff by the end of 2008. This equates to the loss of 5,000 onshore positions each year. "We will see the UK-based S/ITS workforce shrink in size under the effect of offshoring," says Phil Codling, the Ovum Senior Analyst who led the project. "But the overall loss of jobs will be gradual and less dramatic than some commentators might have you believe."

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