Is your job at risk? The roles most likely to be moved out of the UK due to remote working

Remote working could cost swathes of Britons their jobs as firms look to move roles outside the UK, recruiters have warned.

With companies “struggling to coax workers back into the office”, there is “much less downside to offshoring” than there was before the pandemic, according to Randstad, one of the world’s largest recruiting companies.

The firm told Sky News growing wage demands are “emboldening some global employers to move jobs to low-cost centres”.

Victoria Short, chief executive of Randstad UK, said salary increases that are well above inflation in business and finance are “making short-term offshoring attractive again” and “could signal the start of ‘Offshoring 2.0’.”

Remote working is something of a double-edged sword for employees, especially those in tech and finance,” she said.


“Almost everyone likes it. But it’s set to lead to more outsourcing overseas.”

Mexico is a potential destination for these jobs, which are less likely to move to India than they once were because the country has a staffing shortage, she said.

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IT roles ‘being moved to Eastern Europe’

LaFosse Associates, a recruitment firm with a focus on technology, said they are seeing some IT support roles being moved outside the UK.

“What you could find here in the UK, you can now find cheaper elsewhere,” said Lucas Howman, head of digital outcomes.

He told Sky News many of their large corporate clients are choosing to base these roles in Eastern European countries, where salaries are lower but time zones are similar.

He said there has also been a rise in “anywhere jobs” where candidates can choose whether they want to be based in the UK or elsewhere.

With applicants from around the world applying for these jobs, he acknowledged that “it does make it more competitive”.

“You have to weigh your own pros and cons,” he said.

Internal support roles ‘could be offshored’

Odgers Berndtson, another global recruiter, told Sky News the pandemic has shown employers that many roles they thought could only be done in a UK office can be done anywhere.

Mark Freebairn, partner and head of the board and CFO practices, said that before 2020, regulators would have “fainted” if they had been told private data was going to be handled from people’s homes – but this is now the norm.

He said the jobs being considered for offshoring tend to be ones delivering services to internal staff, such as IT, facility management, back office finance and back office HR – or ones where teams are already spread out across the world.

“Has the market reached a defined conclusion?” he said. “No. Are people starting to make moves to explore that? 100% Yes.”

How can people protect their jobs?

Asked what people can do to protect their jobs from offshoring, he said: “Instinctively, my answer is: be more present.

“Show the people that are going to be making those decisions the value in having you around.

“If you’re sat at home, saying to everyone ‘I can do my job from my home, don’t need to be in the office’, you are basically saying to everybody, ‘this job can be done from anywhere. As long as I’m prepared to be awake at the time when I need to be, I can do this from Australia, China, Latvia, Finland, Canada, Alaska – it doesn’t make any difference’.”

Read more: Jobs that offer hybrid working and flexible hours are on the rise

He said it is difficult to predict what is going to happen because it is still not known how much of work will keep being done remotely after the threat of the pandemic recedes.

The proof of this uncertainty is in the fact that many employers have not given up some of their office spaces yet – even as they sit empty and cost them significant amounts of money, he said.

If most people end up back in the office three or four days a week, he said “we’re pretty much back to where we were, in which case the gains that we make by doing offshoring – or whatever it might be – become much more marginal”.

Remote work ‘like chocolate’

When his company surveyed workers, he said they found that most people want to continue working from home as much as they want in the future – but most also said they really miss the collegiate nature of working with others in an office.

“My metaphor is: a five-year-old will simultaneously be sick for eating too much chocolate whilst asking for more chocolate,” he said.

“And at some point, someone’s got to step in and say ‘no, if you eat more chocolate you’ll carry on being sick and that’s not good for you’.

“We’re sort of at that point a bit.

“And at the moment, everyone’s worried that if they’re the one that says ‘no stop eating chocolate’, the child will resign.”