Y2K bug could cost 300,000 jobs

Hefty job losses could be on the way if companies continue to ignore the impact of the millennium bug, warns a report from software testing company Prove It 2000.

The report, based on a two-month telephone-based research project covering 10,000 firms, argues that as many as 300,000 jobs are now seriously at risk as companies face going out of business as a result of their failure to tackle the century date change problem.

“Our findings indicate that at least 384,000 companies throughout the UK are relying on mission critical computer systems which are crucial to the future of their business,” said Richard Coppel, chief executive of Prove It 2000. “We predict that at least 10 per cent of these companies will go into liquidation as a result of system failure.” The report suggests this would lead to a potential job loss figure of 291,000.

According to the report, 80 per cent of companies have not yet begun to tackle the millennium bug, especially in the small-to-medium sized sector. Of companies that had begun to tackle the problem, nearly half – 45 per cent – of respondents had no idea at what stage the project was.

“The results show that, even at this late stage, the majority of small-to-medium businesses are still not taking the Year 2000 issue seriously,” Coppel said.

“Directors who takes such an attitude may be liable for any serious commercial damage when the millennium bug takes effect.”

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