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Offshore Outsourcing Is Less Of A Threat To Jobs

Offshore outsourcing is less of a threat to call center jobs than what many people believe, a research firm said Friday.

Only 5 percent of an estimated 4.78 million call center agent positions worldwide will be located overseas, market analyst firm Datamonitor said. The percentage represents a total of 241,000 positions.

"The focus has shifted towards selling outsourcing rather than selling 'offshore'," Datamonitor analyst Ryan Powell said. "Once firms have outsourced to a third party, it becomes much more acceptable to move that work offshore. (But) the numbers and analysis provided help to demystify the threat that offshore poses to domestic jobs."

Mexico, South Africa and Malaysia are growing in popularity as offshore locations at the expense of leaders India and the Philippines. The combined share of the offshore market held by the two latter countries is expected to drop to 64 percent in 2007, compared to 70 percent in 2002.

The demand for non-English-language services is expected to increase. In the United States, for example, the demand for Mexican call center agents will grow to serve the country's increasing number of Spanish speakers.