London: One in five jobs in the UK could be outsourced to other countries in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, threatening the loss of well-paid white-collar workers. This is according to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which has warned that 5.9 million “everywhere” workers – from graphic designers to software programmers – are at risk, many of them in London and south-east England. “If not addressed, the outsourcing and offshoring of these roles would have political, economic and social consequences similar to the loss of jobs in the 1970s, but on an accelerated time frame,” the research group said in a report that Was published on Wednesday.
The warning highlights the permanent changes to the labor market brought about by the pandemic. The “mass experiment” with remote work means that companies concerned about costs can retain only the core staff needed for personal collaboration and decision-making, the report said. The institute, founded by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, called on the government to address the threat by improving infrastructure – such as childcare and 5G broadband connectivity – and training, especially in soft skills.