The Guardian 2 February, 2005

50,000 finance sector jobs headed offshore

National Australia Bank and Westpac have recently engaged the Indian firm Tata Consultancy Services to perform IT project work on their behalf. ANZ has boosted the number of employees at its Bangalore-based ANZ IT by 32 per cent from 400 to 530 to develop and maintain its "Peoplesoft" human resources and enterprise resource planning projects.

ANZ maintains that the growth of its Bangalore operation will not affect its local workforce. A spokeswoman for the bank told The Australian last month, "ANZ continues to have about 2000 technology staff working in Australia and New Zealand and we have no plan to change that".

However, global business consultancy Deloitte Research expects the job exporting trend to grow rapidly and that by 2008, 15 per cent of the finance sector workforce will be relocated to cheaper labour markets. The company estimates that 50,000 of Australia's present 344,000 finance sector jobs will move offshore within three years.

Finance Sector Union national assistant secretary Cath Noye fears the changes could have devastating effects on the workforce similar to those caused by the massive wave of bank closures in the 1980s. "We want to see this discussed openly, because this is a very important issue, not just for the financial sector but for the country", she told the press recently.

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