Brain Food: Words-worth - Offshoring

Offshoring sounds like an attractive leisure pursuit, like rafting or surf-canoeing. Well, leisure comes into it: enforced leisure, if your job is offshored to India, Slovakia or Vietnam. As an MT reader, of course, you're more likely to be doing the offshoring: moving an entire business process to a country where western-style education happily co-exists with modest wage levels. No-one noticed when vacuum-cleaner manufacture was shipped abroad, but when white-collar services went too, a new word was needed. 'Offshoring' arrived in 2003, just as the practice changed from curiosity ('I got cold-called from Mumbai yesterday') to business orthodoxy.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The word appeared first in the US - it was a big issue in the recent elections - then Australia, giant countries for which almost everywhere is 'offshore'.

We soon picked it up, though rationally we are the offshore ones - more jobs are offshored to Britain than away from it. For the moment.

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