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The Widening Impact of Automation- 2017 Global Services Location Index

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The 2016 Global Services Location Index (GSLI) report, On the Eve of Disruption, introduced no-shoring as the fastest-growing means of conducting business services in which anonymous data centers hosting cloud-based automation replace human labor. We observed that we were seeing the beginning of the end for the traditional offshoring industry in information technology outsourcing (ITO) and business process outsourcing (BPO)—but that, at the same time, the global labor market for services had just begun. Indeed, as automation destroys many low-skilled jobs, the focus will shift to higher-skilled jobs. And just as these services can be delivered across a physical corporate campus, they can be delivered—and increasingly are delivered—across distributed environments globally. Efforts to match the right talent at the right cost—anytime, anywhere—will continue and grow.

Automation now threatens hundreds of thousands of low-skilled and repetitive jobs in both developed and developing economies. As technology becomes increasingly mature and ubiquitous, jobs in the BPO arena will be particularly at risk. Today, automation, still in its infancy, complements and augments existing human skills in these industries, allowing workers to become more productive and efficient and fewer in number while accomplishing the same amount of work. As technology continues to improve and its implementation expands, our research finds that more than 1 million jobs are at risk in the next five years in four countries alone: the United States, Poland, India, and the Philippines.