Offshoring doesn't lead to job loss: StatsCan

Employment growth 1.8 per cent for occupations subject to offshoring and those not

Fears that offshoring jobs to other countries like India and China would result in job loss in Canada appear to be unfounded, according to a new Statistics Canada report.

The study looked at industries with a large share of occupations subject to foreign outsourcing (offshoring) and compared employment trends to other industries from 1987 to 1996 and 1996 to 2006.

About one-half of jobs likely to be offshored are clerical in nature, such as telephone operators, payroll clerks and data entry clerks. The other half are professional in nature, such as architects, engineers and computer programmers.

Compared to other industries, those with offshored occupations had not suffered from slower employment growth.

Employment in occupations that are likely to be offshored grew by an average of 1.8 per cent per year between 2000 and 2006, as did employment in other occupations.

However, employment growth in professional occupations subject to offshoring was at 2.8 percent, compared to a stagnate employment growth among clerical occupations likely to be offshored.

But the study found evidence this lack of growth was not due to offshoring because employment growth in these same positions fell between 1987 and 2000 when offshoring was negligible.

The report concluded the poor employment situation probably resulted from other factors, such as technological advances that led to automation of clerical tasks.

The report concedes the impact of offshoring might be felt at the individual firm level, but that the impact has been so modest that it can't be detected with either industry-level data or occupation-level data.

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