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How To Fix 'The North'?

An excellent synopsis Toastie, of the current situation.

The current situation.

A year or two down the road however there is this scenario. Fred gets urgent email sent to him and his team at 5pm, calling them all for a Zoom meet the next morning with HR at 9am. At the meeting the HR director reads out a statement, Fred hears words like "efficiencies", restructuring", "current economic climate", "redundancy packages".

Next morning at 8am, Dinesh rolls out of his bed in his apartment in Bangalore, charges up his laptop and starts his new job.

It won't happen to every job, but as I have said many times before, if you can do your job from home, there's a good likelihood someone in India can do your job just as well from his home for a tenth of the cost.

We are in a transition phase at the moment, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't realise that as well as those expensive offices our employers are currently offloading, there are a lot of other costs they are figuring out that they don't need to pay.

Been there where a whole department were being outsourced to India, I was just a contractor who had been doing IT for them for a number of years

They wanted a handover, and manuals written to guide the Indian chaps

I did everything asked of me and happily walked away, I had a long commute from North Wales down to Kent and was glad to be able to end the contract without any bad feeling

Unfortunately a couple of years later I was being pestered to come back, of course I was working somewhere else by then thankfully

I can only imagine things haven't gone well to try and drag me back, although really I just feel sorry for the permies who lost their jobs there
 
As far as I'm concerned, the north begins at the South Downs and the lot of you can die in poverty.

Poverty? Bit of a disconnect there Mr Skinters?

As for south of the South Downs, you either live in Brighton and are fond of pastel shade soft furnishings or fond of the heady aroma of piss, Sanatogen and cod liver oil and live in one of God’s Waiting Rooms like Hastings?

What little we have in the way of rail services up here also isn’t Southern Trains.

Life begins north of Wolverhampton.
 
And pretty much how it has been for me this year, saved £3000 in fuel costs and £1000 in lunches. doesn't include wear on the car. Photography has been boosted and earnt a bit from that this year, am defintley less stressed and if we were allowed to go places would probably be enjoying things a bit more.
Normally by this time of the month I'd be watching the bank balance closely and looking forward to pay day. Now, I spend 4 days out of 5 at home - putting in long days - but spending almost nothing. I do miss chatting to people in the work environment and people are a lot more chatty now on zoom calls. I don't miss the awkward farewell drinks or Office levy for a card 'cos Tracy has whelped again.

Downside. Waistline. Who would have thought FWH would be a competitive eating challenge?
 
An excellent synopsis Toastie, of the current situation.

The current situation.

A year or two down the road however there is this scenario. Fred gets urgent email sent to him and his team at 5pm, calling them all for a Zoom meet the next morning with HR at 9am. At the meeting the HR director reads out a statement, Fred hears words like "efficiencies", restructuring", "current economic climate", "redundancy packages".

Next morning at 8am, Dinesh rolls out of his bed in his apartment in Bangalore, charges up his laptop and starts his new job.

It won't happen to every job, but as I have said many times before, if you can do your job from home, there's a good likelihood someone in India can do your job just as well from his home for a tenth of the cost.

We are in a transition phase at the moment, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't realise that as well as those expensive offices our employers are currently offloading, there are a lot of other costs they are figuring out that they don't need to pay.
Entirely possible but in reality, at least some of that has already happened which is proof of the concept. It hasn’t been a great success always and increasingly firms are making a virtue of “U.K. call centres” in their advertising.

There’s also the hybrid model which my employer uses whereby the entire IT department is managed by Brits but all the contacts you talk to are Indian and have been shipped in largely, rather than recruited from the “local” Indian population. They are very capable and you get the feeling you have made their day by calling up with a problem.

As an interesting aside, I occasionally have to go to HQ and because I don’t really know anyone there I’m Billy No Mates in the canteen. These guys all sit in a bunch and the locals largely ignore them so I make a point of sitting with them. They are a great bunch and enjoy being in the U.K. on very good money (for them) but very, very few harbour any desire to stay here or view it as a stepping stone in the immigration process.
 
Downside. Waistline. Who would have thought FWH would be a competitive eating challenge?

That’s interesting. I’ve just had my annual medical and I’ve lost weight. I was surprised as I’m eating three meals a day rather than snacking on the hoof and getting loads of sleep and not rushing around trying to keep all the balls in the air. Talking to the quack he said all bar one of the crew he’s done medicals on in the past few months are the same. He puts it down to sensible food rather than packaged shit, eaten at the times your body needs food rather than the time the roster dictates you’ve got time to eat. Basically people shouldn’t be awake at 0300, never mind forcing themselves to eat crap because there’s a gap in the work.

Makes sense.
 
Entirely possible but in reality, at least some of that has already happened which is proof of the concept. It hasn’t been a great success always and increasingly firms are making a virtue of “U.K. call centres” in their advertising.

There’s also the hybrid model which my employer uses whereby the entire IT department is managed by Brits but all the contacts you talk to are Indian and have been shipped in largely, rather than recruited from the “local” Indian population. They are very capable and you get the feeling you have made their day by calling up with a problem.

As an interesting aside, I occasionally have to go to HQ and because I don’t really know anyone there I’m Billy No Mates in the canteen. These guys all sit in a bunch and the locals largely ignore them so I make a point of sitting with them. They are a great bunch and enjoy being in the U.K. on very good money (for them) but very, very few harbour any desire to stay here or view it as a stepping stone in the immigration process.
When I have made this comment before I always receive replies to the effect that it's already happened and now the jobs are being brought back, or as in the replies above, that the poster (and given what I can read between the lines about him, the poster is usually well into middle age, either self-employed or in a senior role and well qualified) has to "babysit" the current outsourced operation in India.

The first part I am usually sceptical about, there may be one or two outsourced operations that have returned but far and away the traffic is in the other direction.

The second part is a little bit like "I'm alright Jack, they aren't getting my job", but they are getting the jobs that would once have been filled by the poster's younger counterpart.

I have seen some of our work go to the Philippines of all places, and jobs that were once filled by people in their forties called Geoff or Sandra are now being done by people called Ilario or Assumpta who are recent graduates. Are they doing a good job? Not at the moment, no, but a condition of Geoff and Sandra's generous severance package is that they get these young Filipinos up to speed, and in two or five years time they will be good enough and Geoff and Sandra will be enjoying retirement and there will be no new Geoffs and Sandras coming along to replace them.

Some 80% of UK blue collar jobs simply melted away to Asia 30 or 40 years ago, the same is about to happen to UK white collar jobs, with only a few highly specialised or security-sensitive jobs being left in the UK.
 
Poverty? Bit of a disconnect there Mr Skinters?

As for south of the South Downs, you either live in Brighton and are fond of pastel shade soft furnishings or fond of the heady aroma of piss, Sanatogen and cod liver oil and live in one of God’s Waiting Rooms like Hastings?

What little we have in the way of rail services up here also isn’t Southern Trains.

Life begins north of Wolverhampton.
The South Downs runs from Eastbourne to Winchester.
I live in Hampshire
Thanks for the info ref trains, the Nottingham to Lincoln was possibly the last one I took roughly 5 years ago.
Misery begins above the M4.
 
The South Downs runs from Eastbourne to Winchester.
I live in Hampshire
Thanks for the info ref trains, the Nottingham to Lincoln was possibly the last one I took roughly 5 years ago.
Misery begins above the M4.
You’ve just got off the train in Lincoln then?
 
That’s interesting. I’ve just had my annual medical and I’ve lost weight. I was surprised as I’m eating three meals a day rather than snacking on the hoof and getting loads of sleep and not rushing around trying to keep all the balls in the air. Talking to the quack he said all bar one of the crew he’s done medicals on in the past few months are the same. He puts it down to sensible food rather than packaged shit, eaten at the times your body needs food rather than the time the roster dictates you’ve got time to eat. Basically people shouldn’t be awake at 0300, never mind forcing themselves to eat crap because there’s a gap in the work.

Makes sense.
It seems every time I go and put the kettle on I have this inexorable draw to make some toast!
 
Downside. Waistline. Who would have thought FWH would be a competitive eating challenge?

I put a bit more weight on than I'd like during the first lockdown, got into a bad habit of buying packs of pork pies to have with lunch and being a bit fast and loose with Deliveroo and Just Eat instead of cooking, and this was despite going out cycling several times a week and weight training at home, soon creeps up on you! Kicked it back into touch in September and back to my usual chiselled self now, looking forward to the gym reopening next week as well.
 
An excellent synopsis Toastie, of the current situation.

The current situation.

A year or two down the road however there is this scenario. Fred gets urgent email sent to him and his team at 5pm, calling them all for a Zoom meet the next morning with HR at 9am. At the meeting the HR director reads out a statement, Fred hears words like "efficiencies", restructuring", "current economic climate", "redundancy packages".

Next morning at 8am, Dinesh rolls out of his bed in his apartment in Bangalore, charges up his laptop and starts his new job.

It won't happen to every job, but as I have said many times before, if you can do your job from home, there's a good likelihood someone in India can do your job just as well from his home for a tenth of the cost.

We are in a transition phase at the moment, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't realise that as well as those expensive offices our employers are currently offloading, there are a lot of other costs they are figuring out that they don't need to pay.
Except more than a few firms have been caught out off-shoring jobs, finding that whilst Gupta might be much cheaper, he's also significantly incompetent, doing a cracking job of ruining the firm's reputation and thus long term prospects.

A couple of firms I've worked for off-shored some of the CAD design function. Johnny Foreigner took ages to produce the drawings, then when they sent them to the UK they were so wrong it was quicker for the "expensive" UK staff to fix them, (sometimes from scratch!), rather than have a long to-and-fro session between the UK and overseas offices to get them into a usable condition.

"I can either spend a day red-lining these drawings to then send them back to Gupta, for him to then spend a week trying (and failing?) to get them right. Oh and by the way we must have them for the end of the week to hit the project deadline. Or I can spend a day fixing them myself. You choose boss."

It might be cheap but is it cost-efficient and timely? You pays your money and you takes your choice.
 
Except more than a few firms have been caught out off-shoring jobs, finding that whilst Gupta might be much cheaper, he's also significantly incompetent, doing a cracking job of ruining the firm's reputation and thus long term prospects.

A couple of firms I've worked for off-shored some of the CAD design function. Johnny Foreigner took ages to produce the drawings, then when they sent them to the UK they were so wrong it was quicker for the "expensive" UK staff to fix them, (sometimes from scratch!), rather than have a long to-and-fro session between the UK and overseas offices to get them into a usable condition.

"I can either spend a day red-lining these drawings to then send them back to Gupta, for him to then spend a week trying (and failing?) to get them right. Oh and by the way we must have them for the end of the week to hit the project deadline. Or I can spend a day fixing them myself. You choose boss."

It might be cheap but is it cost-efficient and timely? You pays your money and you takes your choice.
I addressed that point above.

The same could be said of Wedgwood when it moved its factories to Indonesia, or when BMW opened in Thailand, or any other of half a hundred examples when Asian workers started producing stuff that were traditionally produced by workers in the West, how could those odd little people with their vile dietary habits and funny accents possibly compete with us? And for a while they didn't.

But then they did.

Gupta and his mates are the future, the millions of junior and middle ranking office workers who shuffle papers or tap keyboards from home in the UK today can be replaced with equally junior and middle ranking workers in their homes in India, it is already happening now. Sure for the next few years a few specialist managers will be retained in the UK to monitor them, but after a few years they will be retired.

If you think Indians are too incompetent to handle basic computer work, you have clearly never visited Silicon Valley.

This blind complacency that thinks British workers will always be better than Asian workers went out the window with all those steel, car-making and shipbuilding jobs decades ago, the idea that middle ranking clerical jobs won't follow them is simply sticking your head in the sand.
 
If you think Indians are too incompetent to handle basic computer work, you have clearly never visited Silicon Valley.

That completely misses the point, those that are competent go to America because they can get paid a lot of money over there, true talent will shine through no matter where someone comes from

We just get the dregs, even standard UK salaries are rather behind the norm for the IT industry in America

If you're going to move abroad you follow the money
 
That completely misses the point, those that are competent go to America because they can get paid a lot of money over there, true talent will shine through no matter where someone comes from

We just get the dregs, even standard UK salaries are rather behind the norm for the IT industry in America

If you're going to move abroad you follow the money
With respect I think you might be missing my point. I am not talking about Indian immigrants coming to the UK looking for work.

I am talking about entire sectors of the UK economy relocating to Asia, and particularly India. It's not Indians coming over here and taking our jobs, it's our jobs going over to India.

When I make this point, other posters tell me how their outsourcing has not gone entirely to plan (see above), although I suspect this relates to teething problems in transition, which would arise with any major business upheaval. But often the posters are talking about very advanced technologies, whilst I think Indians can handle those jobs and will eventually, what I am talking about is the 80% of white collar jobs that could be done by anyone with reasonable English skills and an internet connection.

Does anyone think that Sharon of Didsbury, whose job entails telling people "Yeah, sorry, compu-ah sez no" will remain a valued partner in a restructured firm that has just sold off its Central London headquarters at a loss, while Syarminah of Delhi, who is an English Literature graduate, can say "Oh I am very sorry, but the computer is saying no" for a tenth of Sharon's salary, while enjoying a comfortable middle class life?

Ask the shipbuilders of Clydeside or the steelworkers of Sheffield about job security and the ability of Asian workers to do their jobs.

If you can find any.
 

endure

GCM
I addressed that point above.

The same could be said of Wedgwood when it moved its factories to Indonesia, or when BMW opened in Thailand, or any other of half a hundred examples when Asian workers started producing stuff that were traditionally produced by workers in the West, how could those odd little people with their vile dietary habits and funny accents possibly compete with us? And for a while they didn't.

But then they did.
It was the same with Filipino merchant seaman. Ok as crew but no good as officers.
Brits are an island race therefore natural seamen. The Philippines is a nation of 6000+ islands ;-)

The only difference between us and them is that they weren't being trained as officers. Now they are and they're just as good as us.
 
I addressed that point above.

The same could be said of Wedgwood when it moved its factories to Indonesia, or when BMW opened in Thailand, or any other of half a hundred examples when Asian workers started producing stuff that were traditionally produced by workers in the West, how could those odd little people with their vile dietary habits and funny accents possibly compete with us? And for a while they didn't.

But then they did.

Gupta and his mates are the future, the millions of junior and middle ranking office workers who shuffle papers or tap keyboards from home in the UK today can be replaced with equally junior and middle ranking workers in their homes in India, it is already happening now. Sure for the next few years a few specialist managers will be retained in the UK to monitor them, but after a few years they will be retired.

If you think Indians are too incompetent to handle basic computer work, you have clearly never visited Silicon Valley.

This blind complacency that thinks British workers will always be better than Asian workers went out the window with all those steel, car-making and shipbuilding jobs decades ago, the idea that middle ranking clerical jobs won't follow them is simply sticking your head in the sand.
Basic computer work - yes, perhaps.

Stuff that requires intimate knowledge of British standards and how things are done in the UK, (I'm thinking about civil engineering) including practical problem solving when things crop up unexpectedly, including but not limited to dealing with outside bodies at a non-managerial level - no.

In my particular niche Gupta might be able to produce something that is 90% correct. But my niche is safety related and it isn't even remotely possible to write a spec that covers every eventuality. Hands up the managers who are willing to face corporate manslaughter charges because Gupta missed something that a local would spot or know about? I wouldn't dream of trying to do my niche overseas because whilst I might be able to understand their specs, there are other things that aren't written down or are on the fringe of my subject that you can only pick up with local knowledge.

In my experience, this is the basic problem with firm's Quality Assurance manuals. "Follow the written procedure", one is told. Only to then read the procedure to find it doesn't tell someone who is clueless how to complete the task without naffing it up. Entirely because the manual is written by managers who don't know how to do the job in the first place all too often. And if the firm has laid off all those who know how to do the job, what then?
 
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Basic computer work - yes, perhaps.

Stuff that requires intimate knowledge of British standards and how things are done in the UK, (I'm thinking about civil engineering) including practical problem solving when things crop up unexpectedly, including but not limited to dealing with outside bodies at a non-managerial level - no.

In my particular niche Gupta might be able to produce something that is 90% correct. But my niche is safety related and it isn't even remotely possible to write a spec that covers every eventuality. Hands up the managers who are willing to face corporate manslaughter charges because Gupta missed something that a local would spot or know about? I wouldn't dream of trying to do my niche overseas because whilst I might be able to understand their specs, there are other things that aren't written down or are on the fringe of my subject that you can only pick up with local knowledge.

In my experience, this is the basic problem with firm's Quality Assurance manuals. "Follow the written procedure", one is told. Only to then read the procedure to find it doesn't tell someone who is clueless how to complete the task without naffing it up. Entirely because the manual is written by managers who don't know how to do the job in the first place all too often. And if the firm has laid off all those who know how to do the job, what then?
Frankly you’re talking bollocks. Bollocks with a distinct degree of racist ignorance.

I’ve worked in safety critical roles on some of Australia’s biggest construction projects with big engineering companies. They all carry much of their core engineering work in India and, increasingly, Pakistan. I can name at least three who have opened up significant in-house engineering offices in India to take advantage of the wealth of highly educated, quality engineering talent available, a resource that just doesn’t exist in Australia or the UK.

Same with IT. I know three highly successful IT entrepreneurs who have built globally recognised software platforms. Two built their software development centres in India and one in Pakistan. None of them would have got off the starting blocks without Indian sub-continent talent.

Your casual racism in referring to Indians as Guptas simply served to magnify your ignorance of the capabilities of Asian businesses and people.
 
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