Industry and globalisation

Offshoring and Employment: Trends and Impacts


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Download an excerpt (including the table of contents, executive summary, introduction and Chapter 1, "Defining Offshoring")

Pages: 220

Published: July 2007
ISBN: 978-92-64-03092-3

The impact of offshoring on the labour market has become one of the major issues of concern to policy makers and public opinion. The phenomenon of offshoring is not really new, but it arouses just as much debate and concern because it is no longer confined to the manufacturing industry and low skills but now involves services themselves, particularly those to business. More recently the jobs affected by recent offshoring also involve more highly skilled jobs.

In addition, the emergence of the two great Asian economies, China and India, which have in part caught up technologically and have a large and increasingly skilled workforce, also causes concern in many countries.

  • In this context, what is the scale of the offshoring phenomenon and how many jobs are affected?
  • What are the chief reasons for offshoring? Which types of jobs are affected, which countries and which sectors are offshored more?
  • What are the benefits of offshoring and how can they be evaluated?
  • What are the policy responses on offshoring and which measures could be proposed in order to facilitate adjustments and restore confidence?

This report answers these questions. After dedicating the first chapter to definitions and to the terminology used, it deals with the main motivations for offshoring and presents the latest developments in the theoretical debate concerning trade, offshoring and employment. It emphasises the difficulties involved in the quantities evaluation of jobs affected by offshoring and presents results, first to identify cases of offshoring and then to measure the impact on employment. Several positive aspects of offshoring are also quantified. The last chapter sets out policies and regulatory measures to offshoring as well as measures which could contribute to reduce adjustment costs and restore confidence.

Table of contents

  • Download an excerpt (including the table of contents, executive summary, introduction and Chapter 1, "Defining Offshoring")

Executive Summary
Chapter 1. Defining Offshoring
1.1. Offshoring in the strict sense (offshore in-house sourcing)
1.2. Offshoring in the broad sense (offshore outsourcing or subcontracting abroad)
1.3. Particular forms of offshoring
1.4. Terminology issues

Chapter 2. How Offshoring Affects Employment
2.1. Short-term negative effects on employment
2.2. Prime motivation for offshoring
2.3. The theoretical debate
2.4. Macroeconomic impacts on employment
2.5. Principal factors unfavourable to offshoring

Chapter 3. Problems of Measurement
3.1. Types of firms affected by offshoring
3.2. Proposed indicators
3.3. Relevance and limitations of the suggested indicators
3.4. Indirect measures to assess the employment impact of offshoring
3.5. Other approaches adopted to measure the impact of offshoring on employment

Chapter 4. Preliminary Results
4.1. The outsourcing of manufacturing and service activities
4.2. Employment trends
4.3. Some explanatory factors
4.4. Results for each country
4.5. Main research estimating the number of jobs affected by offshoring
4.6. Measuring the impact on the demand for labour of outsourcing production abroad
4.7. Quantifying the positive effects of offshoring

Chapter 5. Policy Responses
5.1. Causes for concern 
5.2. The reaction of public authorities: what must be avoided
5.3. The cost of not moving offshore
5.4. Facilitate adjustments


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