John McCarthy The Courier-Mail February 10, 2012 8:16AM
SPECULATION that Suncorp is poised to send 2000 jobs overseas has prompted a call from the Queensland Government to support local workers.
- Suncorp investigates more overseas partnerships
- Offshoring a policy with many risks, says Shorten
- Higher dollar partly to blame for jobs move
The banking and insurance company has already offloaded about 150 jobs and is investigating further "partnering" with overseas companies. It claims to be still investigating the impact on jobs.
Treasurer Andrew Fraser has personally raised his concerns about job losses in a letter to Suncorp chief executive Patrick Snowball late last year but would not say whether he found the response satisfactory.
"Suncorp is a great Queensland company with a well-regarded local reputation for supporting Queensland jobs," Mr Fraser said.
"I've made the Government's view clear in writing and in person. We believe Suncorp should support Queensland jobs given the support Queensland has given them as a company."
But Suncorp's response to Mr Fraser's letter does not even address the issue of the 2000 jobs.
The company said it anticipated jobs would be lost "over the medium term as a result of our plan to simplify the business".
The Finance Sector Union claims about 6000 industry jobs have gone overseas in the past five years, of which an estimated 200 came from Suncorp.
Three of the major banks have also signalled thousands more jobs will go.
Finance Minister Bill Shorten said the companies were playing with risk. He said Australia had one of the best banking systems and had been served by a smart and well-trained workforce.
"Offshoring is a policy with many risks," he said.
"For an industry that needs to remain customer-focused in an ever more competitive environment, the banking sector needs to achieve more than just cost cutting.
"Banks will need to enhance the customer experience to survive. This will require highly trained staff."
Professor Greg Bamber from Monash University's department of management said the rise of the Australian dollar was partly to blame for the increase in offshoring of jobs.
"It's certainly not just in banking," he said. "Qantas is another example, as is Telstra.
"The higher the Australian dollar goes the more advantageous it appears for Australian companies to offshore.
"But some companies say they can find the IT skills in Bangalore easier than in Australia."