The pay and prospects of junior IT support staff in the UK have stagnated as services have been relocated to India, research has suggested.
Annual salaries at the lowest end of the industry have not risen in five years, according to the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCO).
The “offshoring” of low-skilled jobs to cheaper locations in Asia has deterred people from entering the industry.
This risked leaving a shortage of candidates for UK managerial positions.
According to ATSCO’s annual skills survey, which compares salaries across more than 75% of the industry, average pay for low-skilled front-line staff has stalled at £18,000 for five years.
By contrast, pay for managers has risen by more than 20% over the period.
The offshoring trend is threatening to deprive the UK IT industry of entry-level staff with the potential, one day, to become managers, the report said.
This is a particular worry, ATSCO said, because senior project management and advisory positions have remained in the UK even when operational roles have been transferred.
Despite concerns about poor customer service and data security lapses in offshore operations, few UK firms have repatriated their technical support teams, it added.
The report predicted that the teams would only be brought back to the UK when the salaries of Indian workers start to match those of their UK counterparts.
Despite growing wage inflation in India for skilled workers, this is unlikely to happen for some time.
“It is like removing the bottom rung of the ladder,” said Ann Swain, ATSCO’s chief executive, of the drift of jobs out of the UK.
“The shortage now is of candidates with a few years experience looking for second and third jobs. But how do you get that experience if entry-level jobs are being sent offshore?”
India is expected to have earned up to $40bn (£19.9bn) from IT outsourcing in the past year, the National Association of Software and Service Companies has said.